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2019 Arizona Bowl - Wyoming Cowboys vs Georgia State Panthers
The four year affiliation the Sun Belt Conference has with the Arizona Bowl comes to an end after this season and the Georgia State Panthers hope to send the league off with a victory when they face Mountain West Conference counterpart Wyoming Cowboys in the fifth edition of this young bowl game. The teams are facing each other for the very first time and both enter their first appearance in the Arizona Bowl with identical 7-5 records. The game hasn’t lacked for excitement with the last two editions going to overtime. Wyoming is a 7-point favorite to give the MWC its fourth victory in five Arizona Bowls.
2019 Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl at a Glance
Date: Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona
Matchup: Wyoming Cowboys vs. Georgia State Panthers
Odds: Wyoming -7, total 48.5
Arizona Bowl Preview
Wyoming is making its third bowl appearance in four seasons and looks to even its all-time bowl record at 8-8 with a victory. After a blistering start to the campaign that saw the Cowboys win six of their first eight games and become bowl eligible in Week 9 with a 31-3 win and cover against Nevada, it was tough going over the final month of the regular season. The Cowboys dropped three of their final four games, including a heartbreaking overtime loss to Mountain West champion Boise State. The losses were by a combined 22 points and the team scored just 40 points in those games. Still, the Cowboys are enjoying a run of success not seen in these parts in decades. They are guaranteed a winning season and their fourth consecutive non-losing campaign. An eighth win matches the program’s highest total since winning 10 games in 1996.
Part of the offensive struggles can be attributed to the loss of quarterback Sean Chambers in the Nevada game. The dual threat option passed for 915 yards and seven scores with an additional 567 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. The offense wasn’t the same with Tyler Vander Waal behind center. He’s not a threat in the run game and he completed only 51.6 percent of his passes for 512 yards with four interceptions. The offense will lean on Xazavian Valladay, who ran for 1,061 yards and five touchdowns, because the passing game ranks 125th in the FBS.
After winning just two games in 2018, the Panthers enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds in college football with a five-game improvement to match the program record for victories at the FBS level. The Panthers joined the FBS ranks in 2013 and they are making their third bowl appearance in five years and will be playing a game other than the AutoNation Cure Bowl for the first time. They split those two games with a loss to San Jose State in 2015 and the program’s first bowl win two years ago over Western Kentucky.
Much like Wyoming, Georgia State won six of its first eight games, including a takedown at Tennessee as a 24.5-point underdog in the season opener. And they also dropped three of their final four regular season games allowing a total of 139 points in the defeats. The Panthers like to run the football and they’ve enjoyed success boasting the 14th ranked ground game in the FBS with over 245 yards per contest. Tra Barnett set a team record with 1,389 yards and 12 touchdowns, and three other players have amassed more than 400 yards. Though not overpowering the passing attack is efficient with Dan Ellington completing 65 percent of his throws with 21 touchdowns.
Arizona Bowl Format
The original arrangement was for the Arizona Bowl to match teams from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA with the Sun Belt Conference having a secondary tie-in. However, for the inaugural game, C-USA and the Sun Belt failed to qualify enough bowl-eligible teams, leaving the bowl to match a pair of MWC teams against each other.
On December 29, 2015, the Nevada Wolf Pack and Colorado State Rams squared off with Nevada pulling out a 28-23 victory. It was the first time since 1979 that teams from the same conference played in a non-championship bowl game. The teams are in different divisions and did not play during the 2015 regular season.
The Sun Belt’s four-year agreement, which was struck in 2016, ends after the 2019 game with the Mid-American Conference taking over starting with the 2020 season game. The MAC and MWC will have an affiliation through the 2025 season game.
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl Game Results
||New Mexico State
The Arizona Bowl marked a return of postseason college football to Tucson, which previously hosted the Copper Bowl, now known as the Cactus Bowl, from the 1989 through 1999 seasons. The first game in 2015 drew a crowd of 20,425 to Arizona Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.
There were some odd circumstances surrounding the initial game. Not only did it feature teams from the same conference, but it was also the only bowl game that season without national television coverage. Campus Insiders held online streaming rights while American Sports Network owned the TV rights and syndicated its coverage for the first two years.
CBS Sports Network reached a multi-year television rights deal to cover the game starting in 2017, giving the game a broader range nationally. The Arizona Bowl has seen a jump in attendance in each year of its existence with last year’s matchup attracting over 39,000 fans, nearly doubling the number from the maiden game.
Teams from the MWC figure to be a nice draw in Tucson and the bowl has locked in an agreement with the league. The game offers teams from two of the stronger Group of Five conferences, which should make the contests close. Nevada and Arkansas State certainly played a good one last year, as the Wolfpack pulled out a 16-13 win in overtime. The Wolfpack became the first team in the history of the Arizona Bowl with two victories by claiming the contest.
Most All-Time Wins at Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
||New Mexico State
Though the Arizona Bowl was one of three games certified by the NCAA to start in 2015, only two did. The Austin Bowl delayed its start for a year and the NCAA recommended a three-year moratorium on new bowl games the following year. We may never see the Austin Bowl take place on the field.
Progress is measured over time and the Arizona Bowl is moving in the right direction. Attendance has increased dramatically since the inaugural contest and the game now has a national television partner. There are also agreements with the Sun Belt and Mountain West Conferences to supply teams, based on bowl-eligibility. While they aren’t Power 5 conference teams, the Sun Belt and MWC are widely considered among the best of the Group of 5.
The game also has a committed sponsorship deal with NOVA Home Loans, which has branches throughout the western United States just like the Mountain West Conference.
2019-20 College Bowl Games Betting Schedule
||LOCATION / TIME
|College Football Playoff
||Atlanta, GA / 4 PM
||No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
||Glendale, AZ / 8 PM
||No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson
||CFP National Championship
||New Orleans, LA / 8 PM
|Selection Committee Bowl Games
||Arlington, TX / Noon
||No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 17 Memphis
||Miami Gardens, FL / 8 PM
||No. 9 Florida vs. No. 24 Virginia
||Pasadena, CA / 5 PM
||No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
||New Orleans, LA / 8:45 PM
||No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 7 Baylor
|Other Bowl Games
||Nassau, Bahamas / 2 PM
||Buffalo vs. Charlotte
||Frisco, TX / 7:30 PM
||Kent State vs. Utah State
||Atlanta, GA / 12:00 PM
||Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T
||New Mexico Bowl
||Albuquerque, NM / 2 PM
||Central Michigan vs. San Diego State
||Orlando, FL / 2:30 PM
||Liberty vs. Georgia Southern
||Boca Raton Bowl
||Boca Raton, FL / 3:30 PM
||FAU vs. SMU
||Montgomery, AL / 5:30 PM
||Arkansas State vs. Florida International
||Las Vegas Bowl
||Las Vegas, NV / 7:30 PM
||No. 19 Boise State vs. Washington
||New Orleans Bowl
||New Orleans, LA / 9 PM
||No. 20 Appalachian State vs. UAB
||Tampa, FL / 2:30 PM
||Marshall vs. UCF
||Honolulu, HI / 8 PM
||BYU vs. Hawai'i
||Shreveport, LA / 4 PM
||Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Fla.)
||Quick Lane Bowl
||Detroit, MI / 8 PM
||Eastern Michigan vs. Pittsburgh
||Annapolis, MD / Noon
||North Carolina vs. Temple
||The Bronx, NY / 3:20 PM
||Michigan State vs. Wake Forest
||Houston, TX / 6:45 PM
||No. 25 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
||San Diego, CA / TBA
||No. 16 Iowa vs. No. 22 Southern California
||Phoenix, AZ / 10:15 PM
||Air Force vs. Washington State
||Camping World Bowl
||Orlando, FL / Noon
||No. 15 Notre Dame vs. Iowa State
||First Responder Bowl
||University Park, TX / 12:30 PM
||Western Kentucky vs. Western Michigan
||Music City Bowl
||Nashville, TN / 4 PM
||Louisville vs. Mississippi State
||Santa Clara, CA / TBA
||California vs. Illinois
||Charlotte, NC / Noon
||Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech
||El Paso, TX / 2 PM
||Arizona State vs. Florida State
||Tucson, AZ / 4:30 PM
||Georgia State vs. Wyoming
||San Antonio, TX / 7:30 PM
||No. 11 Utah vs. Texas
||Mephis, TN / 3:45 PM
||Kansas State vs. Navy
||Tampa, FL / 1 PM
||No. 12 Auburn vs. No. 18 Minnesota
||Orlando, FL / 1 PM
||No. 13 Alabama vs. No. 14 Michigan
||Birmingham, AL / 3 PM
||No. 21 Cincinnati vs. Boston College
||Jacksonville, FL / 7 PM
||Indiana vs. Tennessee
||Idaho Potato Bowl
||Boise, ID / 3:30 PM
||Nevada vs. Ohio
||Armed Forces Bowl
||Fort Worth, TX / 11:30 AM
||Southern Miss vs. Tulane
||Mobile, AL / 7:30 PM
||Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Miami (Ohio)
2019 NCAA Football Schedule
NCAA Football Teams
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