The trip to Hawaii marks the fourth-straight bowl appearance for the Mustangs, and is a return to the same bowl that broke SMU's long postseason drought. In 2009, the Mustangs defeated the Nevada Wolf Pack, 45-10, in the school's first bowl appearance since 1984. It is a return to the islands for head man June Jones, who coached at Hawaii for nine years before taking the same job at SMU.
SMU's opponent from the Mountain West Conference is yet to be announced, but is expected to be the Fresno State Bulldogs, according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN. The Las Vegas Bowl seems interested in bringing Boise State back, while San Diego State has already accepted an invitation to play in its hometown Poinsettia Bowl.
Fresno State is 9-3 under first year coach Tim DeRuyter, and has clinched a share of the Mountain West championship. The Bulldogs marched through their MWC schedule, losing only to Boise State, Oregon, and Tulsa, who have a combined record of 29-6. Quarterback Derek Carr leads Fresno's passing attack to 323 yards per game, which ranks 12th nationally.