Mountain West Conference representative Wyoming (8-4, 5-3) will face Toledo (11-2, 8-1) of the Mid-American Conference in The 2023 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, the bowl’s staff announced on Sunday.
The CW network is the official broadcast partner of the bowl scheduled for Dec. 30 at 2:30 p.m. Tucson time at Arizona Stadium.
Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl Executive Director Kym Adair and Founder and Chairman of the Executive Board Ali Farhang and staff welcomed guests to the bowl selection celebration held Sunday afternoon at The Playground in downtown Tucson.
This will be the second year in a row that Wyoming will play in the Arizona Bowl. Ohio defeated the Cowboys 30-27, winning on a game-winning touchdown reception in front of 27,691 fans at Arizona Stadium in 2022.
Wyoming finished fifth in the Mountain West this season, while Toledo finished second in the MAC after losing to Miami (OH), 23-14, in the conference championship game on Saturday. Toledo won the MAC in 2022.
“We’re really excited,” Farhang said. “Wyoming brings a lot of fans. They love being here, and with the matchup with Toledo — it’s cold in Ohio, so we think we’re going to have really a lot of people coming into our community and enjoying our community, and our fans are going to do a great job like they always do embracing them and telling them what it is all about.”
Toledo is making its first appearance in the bowl game.
“Toledo’s got one of the best fan bases in all of college football,” Farhang said. “They are rabid; they are a good program. They’ve won 10 games. They lost in their conference championship game. I’m really excited to have Toledo.”
2023 marks the ninth year of the bowl’s existence.
Nevada beat Colorado State 28-23 in the inaugural Arizona Bowl in 2015 with the game decided in the final minutes. 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. 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 in 2021 between Boise State and Central Michigan was canceled four days before kickoff after Boise State suffered a COVID outbreak.
Having the game nationally televised on the CW Network as well as streaming online is a change from last year when the game was only available to watch online.
“I think it’s great,” Farhang said of the game being televised on the CW network. “I think what a lot of people don’t understand is our game was seen by more people streaming on the different platforms last year than ever before,” he said. “…Adding the CW to that as well, I think just adds another element to that.
The Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl is the only bowl game in the country that donates all of its net proceeds to local charities, and Farhang is hoping for a big turnout.
“This is a community event. So you know what, tape it on your TV if you’re in Tucson or Southern Arizona, but buy some tickets and show up to the game. We want to fill that stadium because every seat that we fill is another dollar and we can give to another local nonprofit.”
The week of festivities leading up to and following the Arizona Bowl— known as Pachanga Week —includes the Rio Nuevo Downtown Pep Rally and the Arizona Bowl Barrio Pub Crawl on Dec.29, the Barstool Sports Tailgate Festival and the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl Game on Dec. 30 and the Taco Bell New Year’s Eve Downtown Bowl Bash on Dec. 31.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.