Erik Evenson, Independence Bowl Foundation Director of Media and Community Relations
College football’s 11th-oldest bowl game will begin a new chapter in 2020, as the Independence Bowl’s matchups will feature a rotation of the Pac-12 Conference, American Athletic Conference and Conference USA, as well as nationally respected independent programs Army West Point and Brigham Young University beginning with the 45th Independence Bowl in 2020.
The new rotation is a six-year deal that will bring teams to Shreveport from 2020 through 2025.
“I am extremely proud of the Independence Bowl leadership, and we are especially thankful to all of the new partners, as well as our long-time television partner, ESPN, for their help and support in putting together these exciting matchups for 2020-2025,” said Independence Bowl Foundation Chairman Art Carmody IV. “These new agreements will usher in an exciting new era for the Independence Bowl as we head into our 45th year, featuring a mixture of nationally recognized and regionally attractive brands.”
The new matchups represent a changing of the guard for the Independence Bowl, as all three new conferences and two independents have never been represented in the game as primary tie-ins. The rotational matchup will provide a unique variety to each game.
Provided each primary tie-in gains bowl eligibility in the designated season, the matchups for each year from 2020-2025 will be:
- 2020: Army vs. Pac-12
- 2021: BYU vs. C-USA
- 2022: Army vs. AAC
- 2023: BYU vs. Pac-12
- 2024: Army vs. Pac-12
- 2025: BYU vs. C-USA
The remainder of the Pac-12 bowl lineup, including selection order, will be announced at a later date, as will Conference USA’s future bowl lineup.
“The primary mission of this foundation is to attract and provide quality, nationally recognized football competition geared toward the Ark-La-Tex region, and to enhance economic impact and growth in our communities,” continued Carmody on the 2020-2025 matchups. “We believe this allows us to do just that, through tradition-rich programs and conferences.”
- The Pac-12 has competed in the Independence Bowl on four occasions, with the most recent appearance being Arizona in the 2013 game. Oregon has made the most appearances, going 1-1 in two appearances in 1989 and 1992. Washington also appeared in the 1987 edition of the game against in-state Tulane. Colorado also appeared in the 2007 Independence Bowl against Alabama, as a member of the Big 12 at the time.
- The AAC has been represented in the Independence Bowl twice – Tulsa in 2015 and Temple in 2018. Temple lost to Duke in the conference’s most recent appearance in the 2018 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl.
- Army has made one appearance in the Independence Bowl, falling to Auburn in the 1996 Independence Bowl. The Black Knights have played in eight bowl games in program history, including three bowl games in the past four years.
- BYU has appeared in 37 bowl games since 1974, but they have never played in the Independence Bowl. The Cougars made nine bowl appearances in the last decade, with 2017 being the only season they did not reach a bowl game.
- Conference USA has made two official appearances in the Independence Bowl – Southern Miss in 2017 and Louisiana Tech in 2019, but current C-USA teams have made nine total appearances in the Independence Bowl. Louisiana Tech has appeared five times, and is now 3-1-1 after defeating Miami 14-0 in the 2019 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl; Southern Miss has appeared three times with a 2-1 record; and UTEP has appeared in the game once, losing to Southern Miss in 1988.
With the new matchups in this bowl cycle, the Independence Bowl looks to build on a strong 2019 Independence Bowl that saw an attendance increase of 21 percent and a total live audience increase of 36 percent across ESPN platforms. The date and time of the 2020 Independence Bowl will be released at a later date.