2016 GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL: The 11th-annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl will kick off on the FBS Bowl season opening day, Saturday, Dec. 17 at Noon MT/2 p.m. ET. 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 Conference USA representative is scheduled to be the home team this year.
NEW MEXICO’S TRUE HEROES: After two highly successful campaigns in 2014 and 2015, 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?”
Nominations remain open through Friday, September 30. 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 2016 Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, December 17.
BOWL PREDICTIONS: Several experts have made their preseason predictions for the 2016 Bowl Season. For the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Colorado State received the most votes to represent the Mountain West while UTEP garnered the most for the Conference USA spot. A complete breakdown of the predictions is available in the PDF.
A PREVIEW OF THINGS TO COME: The Mountain West and Conference USA face each other just once this season in preparation of the eleventh annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl as UTSA visits Colorado State on Saturday, September 10 at 2 p.m. MT. It matches the fewest meetings of conferences pitted to play in the Albuquerque-based bowl game, set last year. The MW has won both Gildan New Mexico Bowls (2010 and 2014) against Conference USA.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: The season gets underway for Conference USA and the Mountain West on Thursday night. The MW will have the first-ever live college football game broadcast on Twitter when Utah State hosts Weber State at 6 p.m. C-USA begins with the first league game of the season as Rice visits defending conference champion WKU. The Hilltoppers look to tie the C-USA record for league wins (14), set by Southern Miss from 1998-2000.
Friday night, the MW’s Colorado State and Nevada take the field. The Rams and Colorado meet for the 22nd consecutive season, battling for the Centennial Cup at Mile High Stadium and airing on ESPN at 6 p.m. The Wolf Pack host Cal Poly.
Saturday afternoon sees Hawai`i return to action after suffering a 51-31 loss against California last weekend in Sydney, Australia. The Rainbow Warriors face No. 7/8 Michigan in The Big House, seeking their first win over a Power 5 team away from Aloha Stadium since 2009 (Washington State). Another MW match against a Power 5 team is Fresno State at Nebraska. This is the final game of a three-game contract with the Cornhuskers. Conference USA has two road games against SEC programs as well. Louisiana Tech, coming off back-to-back nine-win seasons, starts at Arkansas while Southern Miss invades Kentucky for the first time in 30 years. For a complete schedule with series notes, see page 1 of the PDF.
NEW MEXICO BOWL CONNECTIONS: As of August 30, there are currently 79 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 30 of the 32 NFL teams. The San Diego Chargers boast the most reps (6), followed closely by the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns, which have five alumni. From the universities standpoint, Colorado State has produced the most active alum with 11, followed closely by Nevada’s 9, and Fresno State and Wyoming’s eight (8), each. Five, Jhurell Pressley from New Mexico and Arizona’s Reggie Gilbert, Cayleb Jones, Ryan Langford and Scooby Wright, participated in last year’s game. All-time, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl has had 159 alumni listed on an NFL roster. A complete list of the active athletes is available in the PDF.