Brett McMurphy — The Las Vegas Bowl will move from UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium to Vegas’ new NFL stadium in 2020 and in the process end a 19-year relationship with the Mountain West Conference, sources said.
Starting in 2020, which coincides with the beginning of the next NCAA bowl cycle, the Las Vegas Bowl will feature a Pac-12 team against another Power 5 conference team, sources said.
“Every Power 5 conference wants in this game because of the new stadium and location,” a source said.
A Pac-12 vs. SEC matchup would be the most intriguing and some sources consider the SEC the favorite to ultimately face the Pac-12 in the Vegas Bowl starting in 2020.
The Pac-12 currently plays bowl games against each of the Power 5 conferences, except for the SEC. The two conferences have played in only nine non-College Football Playoff/New Year’s 6 bowls. The last Pac-12 vs. SEC matchup in a non-CFB Playoff/New Year’s 6 bowl was 29 years ago in the 1989 Freedom Bowl.
Meanwhile with the Las Vegas Bowl out of the mix for the Mountain West champion starting in 2020, the league is looking at other options where to send its champ. One possibility is the Arizona Bowl in Tucson, sources said. The Mountain West also is expected to add another bowl tie-in 2020, possibly a newly created bowl in Tempe at Arizona State, sources said.
From 2001-05, the Mountain West sent its second place team to Las Vegas. Beginning in 2006, the Mountain West champion – if it didn’t qualify for a BCS, College Football Playoff or New Year’s 6 bowl – would play a Pac-12 opponent in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Bowl began in 1992 and has been always affiliated with UNLV’s conference – either the Big West, WAC or Mountain West.