Arkansas State University is headed to the Arizona Bowl.
The school announced Tuesday it will be the Sun Belt Conference's representative in the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29 at 12:15 p.m. Central at the University of Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.
"We're excited, man," ASU Coach Blake Anderson said. "It's a new opportunity. Anytime you go to a place for the first time, it is going to be exciting."
The Red Wolves (8-4, 5-3 Sun Belt) will face a representative from the Mountain West Conference in ASU's first appearance in the Arizona Bowl.
"It's going to be a good opponent, regardless of who they send us," said Anderson, who expects the Mountain West to select ASU's opponent from a pool of 3-5 teams. "All the available teams are really quality teams."
The Arizona Bowl will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Arkansas State's opponent is expected to be announced Sunday.
Boise State (10-2), Utah State (10-2), Fresno State (10-2), Hawaii (8-5), Nevada (7-5), San Diego State (7-5) and Wyoming (6-6) are all bowl eligible from the Mountain West.
Boise State, San Diego State and Arkansas State each extended the three longest bowl streaks among all Group of Five programs in 2018. Boise State has qualified for 17 consecutive bowls. San Diego State has appeared in nine in a row. ASU's eighth will be in Arizona.
"We're looking forward to the challenge, because it will definitely be that," Anderson said.
ASU's invitation to the Arizona Bowl was not a surprise to the school. In fact, Anderson said he told the Red Wolves weeks ago that the Arizona Bowl was a "realistic possibility" if ASU did not qualify for the Sun Belt Championship Game.
"Just in terms of where everybody else was located and wins and losses and all that, it doesn't surprise me very much," he said.
The Red Wolves, who lost three conference games to Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Louisiana-Lafayette, finished with an identical 5-3 league record to the Ragin' Cajuns. ASU's head-to-head loss in October sent Louisiana-Lafayette to Saturday's title game.
In the previous four years, the Red Wolves have bounced to all four of the Sun Belt's guaranteed bowl games.
In 2017, ASU lost 35-30 in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. ASU ended the 2016 season with a 31-13 victory against the University of Central Florida in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
The Red Wolves appeared in the New Orleans Bowl in 2015 and were defeated 47-28 by Louisiana Tech. From 2012-2015, ASU went to the GoDaddy Bowl, which is now known as the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
"Being able to give our students and our guys the opportunity to experience five different bowls in five different years is a really special way to remember your college experience," ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir said.
Sports on 11/28/2018
Print Headline: Red Wolves going to Arizona for bowl