With the news that the Las Vegas Bowl will be settling into new digs once the Raiders’ stadium is finished next year, it seems it’ll be too nice a setting for a mid-major.
According to Stadium’s Brett McMurphy, the bowl will move from UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium to the Raiders’ new palace upon its opening in 2020, and with an upgrade in venue will come in an upgrade in matchup. Out goes the Mountain West, in comes the SEC or the Big Ten.
College football’s two richest conferences have teamed up in recent years to pool their tie-ins, and now this will get them to one of the premier non-New Year’s Six destinations, at the expense of a premier Group of 5 destination. (For the record, the WAC/MW is a combined 10-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl against the Pac-10/12 since the tie-in began in 2001, including a 31-20 Fresno State win over Arizona State in 2018.)
And, sure, it’ll be a win-win for the Las Vegas Bowl itself. Over the course of the 6-year contract, the Big Ten and the SEC will each come to Vegas three times. Television and fans will love it. The first SEC vs. Pac-12 game will be the first non-playoff bowl game between the two leagues since the 1989 Freedom Bowl.
Thanks for keeping the seat warm, fellas.