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The Mountain West's top bowl destination, one in which Boise State has been unbeatable, will not be an option for the Broncos in the near future, according to a report.
Ex-ESPN insider Brett McMurphy reported Thursday the Las Vegas Bowl will end its tie-in with the Mountain West in 2020 when the new home of the NFL's Raiders is set to be completed.
Currently, the bowl has a tie-in with the Pac-12, and with the shiny new stadium being put in a place like Las Vegas, Power Five conferences want in. McMurphy reported the SEC is the front-runner to replace the Mountain West.
In a statement, the Mountain West said the report was "premature and speculative." It also noted that no decision has been made regarding the upcoming bowl cycle that starts in 2020, adding "... any number of scenarios are possible."
A Mountain West team has played in the Las Vegas Bowl every year since the conference was created in 1999, except for 2015. Boise State is 4-0 in the game, beating Utah (2010), Arizona State (2011), Washington (2012) and Oregon (2017). The Broncos' 2010 win was as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
The Las Vegas Bowl is the only Mountain West-affiliated bowl that allows its teams to face a Power Five school, so unless the conference champion is in a New Year's Six Bowl, it is in all likelihood Vegas bound. Only four other non-NY6 bowl games — Armed Forces, Birmingham, Heart of Dallas and Military — have a tie-in pitting a Power Five and a Group of Five against one another.
So, where does this leave the Mountain West two years from now? McMurphy wrote the conference champion could play in Tucson's Arizona Bowl, which currently has a Sun Belt tie-in and was televised on CBS Sports Network last year. He also reported, citing unnamed sources, the Mountain West is seeking a newly created bowl that would begin play in 2020 at Arizona State's stadium in Tempe.
The 2018 Las Vegas Bowl will be played Dec. 15 at UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium.