With the defection of Boise St. to the Mt. West Conference from the WAC, and the pending moves of Nevada, Fresno St., and Hawaii, the New Mexico Bowl has moved up the timetable to replace the WAC as one of their partners, and Albuquerque, NM, becomes a potential Pac-12 post-season destination this season.
Originally scheduled to become a Pac-12 bowl in 2012, the move gets the Pac-12 a seventh bowl tie-in in its first year with 12 members. The game, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 17, kicks off the bowl season, and will match up the seventh, or possibly even eighth (in the event of two teams qualifying again for a BCS Bowl), pick from the Pac-12 against the 4th. or 5th. place team from the Mt. West. (Assuming that many teams from each conference attain bowl eligibility.)
This could put one of the three pending defectors in a difficult position this season, but is another step, albeit a small one, ahead for the Pac-12.
Going to 12 teams made expanding the conference's bowl tie-ins a priority, and while the New Mexico Bowl doesn't add a lot of luster to the conference's lineup, it is better than setting at home if your team is that team, and is a Saturday exposure on the ESPN family of channels. And at the moment, probably the best Commissioner Larry Scott could hope for. It's a small win, but still another win for Scott, who continues to make progress on financial and exposure issues at an unprecedented rate.