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There is a pool of three to five potential Mountain West Conference opponents likely to meet Arkansas State University in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29 in Tucson, Ariz.

However, it's too early for the Red Wolves to begin preparing for one specific opponent for their fifth Sun Belt Conference-affiliated bowl game in five seasons.

ASU's opponent is expected to be announced Sunday, once all conference championship games are completed Saturday and bowl invitations are accepted.

"We've got an idea of 3, 4 or 5 teams that it could be," said ASU Coach Blake Anderson. "In terms of actually watching people other than what we've watched over the course of the year, we're not there yet."

The Mountain West has seven bowl-eligible teams and, most likely, at least six are all but assured of a bowl bid. Wyoming (6-6) was the last to become bowl eligible in the conference and is looking from the outside-in at a bowl invitation.

In fact, on Wednesday, Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson told KTIK, a Boise, Idaho-area radio station, that the Cowboys are likely out of bowl contention. Similar to the Sun Belt, the Mountain West has seven bowl-eligible teams for five guaranteed bowl games.

To which bowls Mountain West teams will be invited is partially contingent on two of Saturday's conference championship games: No. 22 Boise State versus No. 25 Fresno State in the Mountain West title game and No. 8 Central Florida against Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game.

Central Florida (11-0) could fall out of a big-money New Year's Six bowl as the selection committee's Group of Five choice if they lose to Memphis on Saturday.

A dramatic loss could bump the Mountain West Conference champion -- Boise State or Fresno State -- as the Group of Five's selection to a New Year's Six bowl.

Given the Arizona Bowl is a lower-tier bowl in the Mountain West, Arkansas State's next opponent is expected to come from the middle to lower half of the Mountain West standings: Utah State (10-2), Nevada (7-5), San Diego State (7-5) or Wyoming (6-6).

Hawaii (8-5) has accepted the Mountain West's bid to the Hawaii Bowl, filling one of conference's five guaranteed bowl slots.

The Las Vegas Bowl, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl and the Arizona Bowl have yet to fill their Mountain West slots.

Arkansas State will have four weeks from Sunday's announcements to prepare for the Arizona Bowl, which will be held on the final Saturday in December.

Sports on 11/30/2018

Print Headline: ASU has an idea of bowl opponent


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