2015 GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL: The 10th-annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl will kick off on the FBS Bowl season opening day, Saturday, Dec. 19 at Noon MT/2 p.m. ET, announced the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. The game will be played at University Stadium in Albuquerque, and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and ESPN Radio. The Gildan New Mexico Bowl has ignited the collegiate bowl postseason before, playing on opening day since 2008.
The Gildan New Mexico Bowl is partnered with the Mountain West and Conference USA, provided the league produces enough bowl-eligible teams. The Mountain West representative is scheduled to be the home team this year. The league has won two straight bowl games in Albuquerque.
NEW MEXICO’S TRUE HEROES: After a highly successful inaugural program in 2014, the State of New Mexico, along with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, is searching for the next round of New Mexico True Heroes - New Mexicans who make their communities a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
The New Mexico True Heroes Program is online now at NewMexico.org/TrueHeroes. The nomination form asks two key questions: “What makes this person a New Mexico True Hero?” and “How have the nominee’s efforts made a difference in his or her community?”
The 2014 New Mexico True Heroes included: John Masterson (Roswell) for his bravery in ceasing a school shooting at Berrendo Middle School, Jan DeMaggio (Albuquerque) for her creation of dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses, Chuck Howe (Angel Fire) for his work in aiding veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Jim Stogsdill (Albuquerque) for the advocacy and protection he and his group provide for children in abusive or intimidating situations.
Nominations remain open through Friday, October 9. A panel of judges from around the state will determine the top ten finalists, and four New Mexico True Heroes will be named this fall. The honorees will take part in a series of community events in their hometowns and get special recognition during the festivities surrounding the 2015 Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, December 19.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: The season gets underway for Conference USA and the Mountain West on Thursday night. UTSA looks for its first win in the series with Arizona but it will be a challenge on the 22nd-ranked Wildcats home field. Hawai`i begins its schedule with an autonomous five conference member for the sixth straight year, hosting Colorado in a match up airing on CBS Sports Network. The Buffaloes won 21-12 last year to tie the series at 2 but the Warriors last season-opening win came against Colorado in 2011.
Friday afternoon, FBS and C-USA newcomer Charlotte takes on the Sun Belt’s Georgia State at 3:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU. Friday night, No. 23/24 Boise State is the lone MW team on the field, taking on Washington and former head coach Chris Petersen. The Broncos look to even the series at 2 on ESPN at 8:15 p.m. MT.
Saturday afternoon sees UTEP invade No. 18/20 Arkansas for a 2:30 p.m. CT/1:30 p.m. MT game airing on ESPNU. Southern Miss also faces an SEC member as the Golden Eagles host Mississippi State. Six new series begin as Rice hosts Wagner, Air Force entertains Morgan State, Colorado State welcomes Savannah State, Wyoming receives North Dakota, New Mexico takes on Mississippi Valley State, and Louisiana Tech faces off against Southern. For a complete schedule with series notes, see page 1.
A PREVIEW OF THINGS TO COME: The Mountain West and Conference USA face each other just once this season in preparation of the tenth annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl as UTSA hosts Colorado State in the Alamodome on Saturday, September 26 at 6 p.m. CT/5 p.m. MT. It is the fewest meetings of conferences pitted to play in the Albuquerque-based bowl game in it’s 10-year history. The MW has won two straight Gildan New Mexico Bowls and both contests (2010 and 2014) against Conference USA.
NEW MEXICO BOWL CONNECTIONS: There are currently 48 former collegiate athletes who played in at least one of the previous New Mexico Bowls and is listed as active, practice squad or injured reserve among 25 of the 32 NFL teams. The Denver Broncos boast the most reps (6), followed closely by the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns, which have five alumni. From the universities standpoint, Nevada has produced the most active alum with nine (9). Fresno State and Colorado State are second with seven (7), apiece. Three, B.J. Larsen and Zach Vigil from Utah State and UTEP’s Eric Tomlinson, participated in last year’s game. All-time, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl has had 126 alumni listed on an NFL roster. A complete list of the active athletes is available in the attached PDF.
NEW FACES IN 2015: There is a new addition to the Conference USA East Division. The Charlotte 49s have made the jump from the Football Championship Series to the Football Bowl Series in the program’s third year of existence. The newcomers are led by Brad Lambert, who’s been with the program since its inception.
The Mountain West has two new faces as UNLV and Colorado State hit the field with new leaders. Mike Bobo takes the reigns for the Rams and Tony Sanchez will lead the Rebels. It is the first head coaching position for both men.
GILDAN’S COMMITMENT TO NEW MEXICO: ESPN and Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL: TSX, NYSE) announced an extension to the multi-year title sponsorship that began with the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl prior to the 2014 season. The entitlement of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl remains part of a collegiate agreement reached by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, and Gildan, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of T-shirts, fleece, sport shirts, underwear and socks. In addition to the bowl game, over the years, Gildan has been active in the Albuquerque community, participating in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, launching a Green Chile Stew Cook-off, with cash prizes going to local schools, hosting bowl-week parties and other activities.