Houston won’t even have to leave the state to play in its 2020 bowl game.
The Cougars have drawn a bowl bid to play Hawaii in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 24. However, due to COVID-19 state health guidelines, the 2020 New Mexico Bowl will be held at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX — the same location as the Frisco Bowl between SMU and UTSA on Dec. 19.
Houston (3-4, 3-3 AAC) enters the New Mexico Bowl with a losing record after dropping its final regular season game in Memphis on Saturday. However, bowl eligibility requirements have been waived for all FBS teams in 2020, allowing Houston’s record to suffice. This will be the Cougars’ first bowl appearance of the Dana Holgorsen era, which began in 2019. Houston aims to snap its 3-game bowl losing streak and win its first postseason contest since defeating Florida State in the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
The Cougars will face Hawaii (4-4, 4-4 MWC), one of two Mountain West teams to play out its entire schedule without a COVID-19 cancelation. The Rainbow Warriors have not participated in a bowl game in the contiguous United States since facing Georgia in the 2007 Sugar Bowl. Similar to Houston, this will be the first bowl game for Hawaii in the Todd Graham era. However, the roster is no stranger to bowl season. Hawaii won its Hawaii Bowl matchup on Christmas Eve last year, upending BYU 38-34 in the game’s final minutes.
This New Mexico Bowl will be the first matchup between the American Conference and Mountain West this season. The 2020 edition of the bowl will mark the first time ever an AAC team has played in the New Mexico Bowl. The game will be televised on ESPN with a kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 24.