With the regular season finished, the entire college football-watching world turns their eyes to bowl season, which will feature 41 games in 24 days. The action gets started in the southwest with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, featuring the New Mexico Lobos and the Arizona Wildcats.
New Mexico seems certain to have the majority of the crowd on their side in what is essentially a home game on their campus at University Stadium in Albuquerque. Yet Arizona enters as the heavy favorites and should also have their share of supporters making the 450-mile trip from Tucson.
The game is a step down from last year for the Wildcats, who appeared in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl and lost to Boise State, 38-30. The last bowl game the Lobos took part in was the 2007 New Mexico Bowl, which resulted in a 23-0 win over Nevada. New Mexico was 5-2 on their home field this season.
New Mexico (7-5, 5-3 Mountain West) had an up-and-down season but managed to win three out of their last four games, with their biggest victory coming over 30-point favorite Boise State on the blue turf in order to become bowl-eligible. A win the following week over Air Force ensured an over .500 conference record for the first time since 2007.
Arizona (6-6, 3-6 Pac 12) began the season hot, winning their first three games but then faced two Top 20 teams in UCLA and Stanford and lost to both. The Wildcats also lost four out of their last five games and had their bowl hopes in doubt heading down the stretch. They managed to become bowl-eligible with their most impressive win of the season, a 37-30 upset in double-overtime over then-No. 10 Utah. Arizona was 2-4 away from Tucson this season.
Ticks on StubHub currently start at $55 for general admission seats behind the north end zone. The most expensive ticket currently is $185, located on the lower sideline next to the student section behind the visitor’s bench area. With the Lobos playing at home and the Wildcats just a few hours away, there’s reason to think the attendance could surpass that of last year’s New Mexico Bowl featuring Utah State and UTEP, which garnered 28,725.
Betting Line: Arizona -10.5
Over/Under: 63 points
*Odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com