FRESNO – The Fresno State football team learned on Sunday its 2017 bowl destination will be the Hawai'i Bowl and its opponent will be the Houston Cougars of the American Athletic Conference. The game will be played on Dec. 24 at 5:30 p.m. PT and will air on ESPN. These two schools have never faced each other before.
"Every team in college football wants to extend their playing season and I am thrilled for our players and staff," said head coach Jeff Tedford. "We are pleased to represent the Mountain West in the Hawai'i Bowl against a very good Houston team and I look forward to preparing our team for a well-deserved bowl game."
Fresno State, West Division Champions of the Mountain West, finished 9-4, in its first season under Tedford. A turnaround of eight games after winning one game in 2016 and being picked to finish last in its division during the preseason.
"To finish this incredible season that Coach Tedford has led our program to with the Hawai'i Bowl is an honor," said interim AD Steve Robertello. "We look forward to returning to the Islands and representing the Mountain West."
The Bulldogs' bid to the Hawai'i bowl is the third in the last six seasons, making trips in 2012 and 2014. Although both added to Fresno State's current six-game losing skid in bowl games, going back to 2008. In 2012, the 'Dogs fell 43-10 to SMU and in 2014 dropped a 30-6 contest to Rice.
Fresno State will make its fourth major bowl appearance on the Islands all together, having also participated in the 1993 Aloha Bowl, in addition to its two other recent visits.
Houston was 7-4 this season and 5-3 in the AAC, good for second place in the league's west division. The Cougars fell to San Diego State 34-10 in the Las Vegas Bowl a season ago; they are making their fifth-straight trip to a bowl game and 26th all-time appearance.
"On behalf of the Hawai'i Bowl Executive Committee, I congratulate Houston and Fresno State on their successful seasons and look forward to an exciting match-up at Aloha Stadium," Hawai'i Bowl Executive Director Daryl Garvin said. "Throughout bowl week, the players, coaches and fans will experience the Aloha Spirit combined with the holiday season to make for a once in a lifetime bowl experience."
Similar to Fresno State's last bowl appearance in 2014, the Bulldogs dropped the 2014 Mountain West Championship game to Boise State and accepted a bid to the Hawai'i Bowl the following day.
Fans will be able to purchase tickets through the Fresno State ticket office beginning on Monday after 12 p.m. PT. Tickets can be purchased in person at the ticket office located at the Save Mart Center, online at GoBulldogs.com or over the phone by calling 559-278-DOGS.