The 2022 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl to feature Ohio vs. Wyoming

The Old Pueblo hosted the Wyoming football team plenty of times during the old Western Athletic Conference (WAC) days. In fact, the Cowboys were part of the inaugural crew of universities making up the original conference in 1962, joining Arizona, ASU, BYU, New Mexico and Utah that year. The Cowboys made two appearances in the “Copper Bowl” in 1990 and 1993 and the team beat Georgia State 38-17 in the 2019 edition of the Arizona Bowl.

Arizona moved over to the Pac-10 in 1978 and Wyoming joined the Mountain West Conference (MWC) in 1999. Tucson has been very good to the Cowboys, who have won here 12 times, including bowl games, while losing only five. At, 7-5 this year, the Cowboys will be the MWC representative to the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl slated for Friday, Dec. 30 at 2:30 p.m. It will be the 18th bowl appearance for the Cowboys.

“The Arizona Bowl enjoys a great national reputation of community involvement, offering outstanding activities for the participating teams and putting on one of the best bowl games in the nation,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl in a release.  “We had a great experience in 2019 being part of the Arizona Bowl. I know our fans are excited about the opportunity to go back to Tucson again, and our players are extremely excited about the chance to play another game together and represent the University of Wyoming and the state of Wyoming.”

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) representative will be Ohio (9-4). The Bobcats lost to Toledo in the MAC championship game 17-7 on Saturday. This will be the 14th bowl appearance for the Bobcats and the first contest ever held in Tucson.

“We’re excited to accept an invitation to compete in the Barstool Sports Bowl. This team has brought me, our staff and the Bobcats fans so much fun and joy this season,” said head coach Tim Albin in a release. “We can’t wait to take this show on the road to take the next step on our journey together.”

Wyoming played Ohio twice with the Cowboys winning both meetings in 2007 and 2008 by one-point in each game (34-33 in Athens in 2007 and 21-20 in Laramie in 2008).

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl Vice-President of Communication Eric J. Rhodes welcomed members and guests to the bowl selection celebration held Sunday afternoon at Whiskey Roads on West Ina and he introduced Vice-Chairman, Retired Major General Ted Maxwell. Maxwell talked about the importance of the bowl and he welcomed Executive Director Kym Adair to the stage to make the official announcement.

“They’re really excited. We are one of the premier bowls and we are one of the only warm weather bowls too and so those teams are really buying to come here and they want to come here,” Adair said when asked how officials from Ohio and Wyoming responded to the bowl offer. “The conferences know how important that is to each team and it’s like a you know it’s like a cherry on top of their seasons.”

Nevada beat Colorado State 28-23 in the inaugural Arizona Bowl in 2015 with the game decided in the last 1:06 seconds. Air Force beat South Alabama 45-21 in 2016 after trailing 21-3. New Mexico State beat Utah State 26-20 in 2017 in overtime. Nevada beat Arkansas State 16-13 in 2018 in another overtime thriller. As mentioned before, Wyoming beat Georgia State 38-17 in 2019 in front of over 37,000 fans. Ball State beat San Jose State 34-13 in 2020 with very few fans in the stadium due to COVID restrictions. The game between Boise State and Central Michigan was canceled four days before kickoff last year after Boise State suffered a COVID outbreak.

There are no worries this year.

“I don’t even need to cross my fingers,” Adair added when asked about getting past the hurdles of the last two years. “We’re having a game on the 30th period. I mean both teams are committed we don’t have the same issues that we started to have last year around this time when COVID rates started to increase that’s just not happening. There’s not the type of exposure and testing that were happening last year. I have no qualms that we’re gonna have a game on December 30.”

Staff from the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, along with the NFF Southern Arizona Chapter, have been present every week during the youth and high school sports season this year in what appears to be a very successful effort at community outreach. In addition to selecting a “Player of the Week,” staff has been on hand to answer questions and to educate the community on the investments the bowl is making in the community.

Kym Adair (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

Local high schools have been called upon to serve as practice facilities for the bowl in the past and the presence of five synthetic field surfaces in the immediate Tucson area (Salpointe, Sunnyside, Desert View, Mountain View and Tucson), along with several more in the greater community (Cienega, Marana, Mica Mountain, Sahuarita and Rio Rico) also makes the Old Pueblo that much more valuable as a bowl destination.

The thousands of fans coming from Ohio and Wyoming will obviously have an impact on the local community.

“A lot of our planning has to do with exactly that,” Adair said on the local community to preparing for the influx of visitors. “We want to make sure that when we announced these teams that not only the teams are ready to come and make their way and make travel arrangements to Tucson, but the fans are ready and so we’ve already made that outreach to both of these schools, we’ve been talking to their alumni associations, and we expect a really great turnout from both of these schools to come to Tucson, which is an incredible win for our community.”

Having a day game in the Old Pueblo, with all the great weather expected to go with it, should bring even more fans to Tucson while bringing in local fans.

“I don’t want to say that some of the other bowls that they could be selected to aren’t rewards but they’re coming to Tucson,” Adair added. “We get to experience this landscape every day and we know how incredible it is.”

The trophy. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)


Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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