Mountain West foes Colorado State and Nevada will meet in this year's Arizona Bowl, marking the first time since Nebraska and Oklahoma met in the 1979 Orange Bowl that two teams from the same conference will play in a bowl game.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson called the all-Mountain West game a "travesty" and said it shows the bowl system is "broken." He dropped even more fire in a statement.
For the first time in NCAA history, an insufficient number of deserving bowl-eligible teams (i.e., 6-6 record or better) are available to fill all the bowl games, which make-up the current landscape (40 bowls plus the National Championship Game). As a result, a specific group of 5-7 teams ranked, according to Academic Progress Rate, was granted waivers to expand the bowl-eligibility pool and ensure no bowl game would go dark. Today, we have come to the unfortunate realization another dubious milestone has been reached -- two teams from the same conference will face each other in a bowl game later this month. Neither of these developments is good for college football.
The Mountain West explored every possibility for placing the teams in question. We suggested swaps, alternative financial arrangements and creative options. Unfortunately, no one was willing to adjust and those efforts were to no avail. Following the outcome of last night's games, it became clear there were 80 teams for 80 bowl slots and the only two openings still available for a pair of MW teams would match them in the same game.
It is a travesty the Mountain West has been forced into this situation. Clearly, the system is broken. There is an excess of bowl games due in part to a disparate allocation of openings vs. conference bowl histories. The result is teams with sub-.500 records participating in bowl games. There is consensus change is needed and this year's outcome must not be repeated.
Things are even worse for the Mountain West. The Arizona Bowl will be the first bowl game since 1994 to not be televised on national TV, and many people in Arizona won't even get the game.
@bubbaprog From what I can tell, the Arizona Bowl is not available on TV in Arizona.— Darren Ward (@MrWard26) December 6, 2015
If it's any consolation, Colorado State and Nevada didn't play each other this year, despite being in the same conference.