Some might see the Frisco Bowl as a comedown for Boise State, considering it lost out on a Mountain West Conference title and a chance to play a Power 5 program in a bowl game.

However, Broncos coach Andy Avalos says the team’s appearance in Saturday night’s Frisco Bowl in Frisco, Texas, against North Texas isn’t the letdown many believe it is.

“It’s a big deal. For us, we’re grateful to be in this bowl game,” he said Monday.

Whether it’s because it’s the Broncos’ first bowl game since 2019 because of COVID-19 or because the Dallas Cowboys are allowing the team to practice at their facility, Boise State sounds like a team ready to play in a pre-Christmas bowl game.

The Broncos (9-4) could have played Washington State in the LA Jimmy Kimmel Bowl, but instead fell 28-16 to Fresno State in the MWC championship game. That knocked them down the league’s pecking order for bowl bids.

Instead of playing in SoFi Stadium, the home of two NFL teams that’s already hosted a Super Bowl, Boise State instead plays in a soccer-specific stadium outside of Dallas. But Avalos said early practices have been intense.

The Broncos’ leaders are running back George Holani, who’s rushed for 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns, and linebacker DJ Schramm, whose team-high 99 tackles are 34 more than any other teammate.

Meanwhile, North Texas (7-6) also had a chance at a more prestigious bowl game, but fell 48-27 Dec. 2 at UTSA in the Conference USA title game. Then it fired coach Seth Littrell, who went 44-44 in seven years, shortly after accepting a bid to the Frisco Bowl.

Former SMU coach Phil Bennett, who’s served as the program’s defensive coordinator the last two years, is the interim coach for the bowl game. The Mean Green expect to name a new coach before the bowl game.

Quarterback Austin Aune has thrown for 3,309 yards and 32 touchdowns for North Texas, while middle linebacker KD Davis notched a whopping 132 tackles. It was his second straight year with at least 120 stops.

This will be the first meeting of the programs since 2000, when Boise State routed the Mean Green 59-0 in Boise. The series is tied at 3-3.

For North Texas, this is the third consecutive bowl game the Mean Green have played in, but they haven’t won during bowl season since 2013, when it beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. North Texas is 2-9 all-time in bowl games, while Boise State is 12-7.

–Field Level Media