From Copper to Snoop Dogg: The history of bowl games at Arizona Stadium

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl - Toledo v Wyoming
Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl - Toledo v Wyoming / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: 2015-19

Tyler Rogers
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl - Utah State v New Mexico State / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Arizona Bowl was brought into the fold for the 2015 season and was one of two new bowl games that came to fruition that season alongside the Cure Bowl. NOVA Home Loans was the sponsor for the first four seasons of operation, and the bowl held primary Mountain West and Conference USA ties with the Sun Belt being a tertiary conference pool to pick from.

The 2015 clash saw Nevada and Colorado State — two Mountain West teams — duke it out since there were no bowl-eligible teams from either C-USA or the Sun Belt. This was the first time since the Orange Bowl 1979 that two teams from the same conference competed in a non-conference championship bowl game together. The Wolfpack emerged victorious over the Rams in the 28-23 decision.

In 2016, C-USA was dropped as a primary tie-in and the Sun Belt moved into that slot. The first year of that, Air Force finally won a bowl game in Tucson when they toppled South Alabama 45-21. In 2017, New Mexico State represented the Sun Belt and took Utah State to overtime before sealing the 26-20 win. Arkansas State and Georgia State lost the next two to Nevada and Wyoming, respectively, who either already had become familiar figures in the Tucson venue.

Offerpad Arizona Bowl: 2020

Brent Brennan
Mountain West Football Championship - Boise State v San Jose State / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

In 2019, it was announced that NOVA Home Loans wouldn't renew the naming rights sponsorship and Offerpad became the new name parter. Additionally, the Sun Belt conference tie-in was abandoned for the now-familiar MAC.

2020 was another interesting year. Aside from being in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic and there being zero fans in the stands, somebody beloved by Arizona Football now got his first chance to be a head coach in Arizona Stadium. The two participants in the 2020 Arizona Bowl were Ball State and Brent Brennan-led No. 19 San José State.

Though Brennan's squad ultimately fell short to the Cardinals 34-13, it was just a taste of things to come. He interviewed for the vacant Arizona job that offseason and was passed over, but he finally got the big chair he pined over three seasons later.