From breakfast time back to primetime.
After a morning kickoff last year, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will return to an evening start time (8 p.m.) for the 15th edition of the game to be played on Saturday, Dec. 19 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“That’s our preferred time,” bowl director Billy Ferrante of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation said. “ESPN likes to have us on then, too.”
Last year’s game began at 10 a.m., to allow turnaround time for the Saints’ home game the next day against Atlanta. However, this season the Saints are playing a Monday night game against Detroit, so a late start was possible again.
The game also will revert to its traditional pairing of teams from the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA as has been the case 10 of the last 13 years. Last season, by contract, Nevada of the Mountain West Conference subbed for the C-USA entry and played Louisiana-Lafayette in a game the Ragin’ Cajuns won, 16-3, their fourth straight in the bowl.
“Conference USA has been with us since year two,” Ferrante said. “It’s been a terrific relationship.”
Even more significant, he pointed out, is that this will be the 15th year for the bowl and the 10th in partnership with R+L Carriers.
“When you look at how many bowls have come and gone in recent years, we’re very proud of our stability.”
Likewise, Ferrante added, the relationship with R+L Carriers has been beneficial for all involved.
“There’s brand equity for us and the same goes for them,” he said. “They tell us all the time that people notice their trucks because of the bowl game.