Can Nevada hang with Arizona?

Breaking down Gildan New Mexico Bowl matchup and Wildcats' bright future

Updated: December 11, 2012, 1:29 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Carey/JeffersonUSA Today SportsArizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson are two of the nation's top running backs.

Some of the most interesting elements of the college bowl season are the battles for conference supremacy.

Most of the attention surrounding those conflicts centers on matchups between the BCS conferences, yet other bowls can offer just as much insight as to the relative strength of a given conference.

An excellent example of this will occur on Saturday in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl with a matchup between the Arizona Wildcats and the Nevada Wolf Pack. This clash should help illustrate whether a top-level Mountain West Conference (MWC) team is every bit as good as or better than a mid-range Pac-12 club.

At first glance, it would certainly seem that these teams are very evenly matched.

It starts at quarterback, where both teams have very good dual-threat signal-callers (Cody Fajardo for Nevada, Matt Scott for Arizona) who combine solid passing skills with ground-game prowess (both rank second on their respective teams in rushing.)