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2022 Las Vegas Bowl matchup announced

Updated December 4, 2022 - 5:52 pm

The Las Vegas Bowl announced its 2022 matchup Sunday, selecting Oregon State, ranked No. 14 in the College Football Playoff poll and No. 17 in the AP poll, and Florida.

The game will be played Saturday, Dec. 17 at Allegiant Stadium, and is currently scheduled for 4:30 p.m. However, if the Raiders’ 5:20 p.m. game Sunday, Dec. 18, against New England is flexed to an earlier time — which would shorten the amount of time needed to prepare Allegiant Stadium for an NFL game — the Las Vegas Bowl will kick off at 11:30 a.m.

“I think it’s going to be a great one,” Las Vegas Bowl executive director John Saccenti said. “I think we’ve got two good teams that are coached incredibly well.”

The 2022 Las Vegas Bowl is the first scheduled bowl matchup between the Southeastern Conference and the Pac-12 in 33 years. The Gators (6-6) will be the home team and will become the first SEC team to play in the Las Vegas Bowl since Arkansas in 2000.

Saccenti said the Gators’ brand, large traveling fan base and some scheduling issues with other possible contenders helped convince the Las Vegas Bowl to take the Gators, along with Florida’s early season win against Pac-12 champions Utah.

“Our staff and players are looking forward to the opportunity and challenge,” Florida coach Billy Napier said in a press release.

Oregon State appealed to the Las Vegas Bowl for slightly different reasons. The Beavers (9-3) built a lot of momentum throughout the season, beating in-state rivals Oregon to leapfrog the Ducks in the CFP poll.

The Beavers also haven’t appeared in a Las Vegas Bowl since 2009, and this will only be Oregon State’s second bowl appearance since 2014. Coupled with the Holiday Bowl’s desire to select Oregon, Saccenti said the Beavers were the obvious choice.

“It’s a great opportunity for our team to play a quality opponent at Allegiant Stadium in a nationally televised game,” Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith said in a press release. “We know Beaver Nation will travel to Las Vegas to support our team and watch a great game.”

The matchup was also attractive to Saccenti and the Las Vegas Bowl because the two teams have never played each other. Since re-aligning its conference tie-ins ahead of the 2020 season, the Las Vegas Bowl has focused on bringing together schools which don’t traditionally play, and this was another such opportunity.

“A couple years ago, when we launched the new Las Vegas Bowl, we were saying, ‘Coast to coast, East Coast versus West Coast,’” Saccenti said. “So we’ve got a team from the Pacific Northwest playing a team from the Southeast. We’re truly a national game.”

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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