Arizona safety Tra'Mayne Bondurant found he liked the new defensive system coach Rich Rodriguez installed, which allowed him to become a playmaker.


A Las Vegas Bowl featuring the Arizona Wildcats and No. 25 Boise State would be "a good, compelling matchup" and "good television," the game's executive director said Monday.

That means the UA, despite its 7-5 record, could leapfrog rival Arizona State and Washington when bowl pairings are announced Sunday.

The Wildcats are slotted to play in the Dec. 15 New Mexico Bowl, which will pit the Pac-12's seventh-best selection against Nevada.

The pairing may not happen, though, if another game selects the Wildcats over other bowl-eligible teams.

Yes, it's complicated. But consider:

• The Las Vegas Bowl announced Sunday that it will choose between Boise State (9-2) and Fresno State (9-3) to represent the Mountain West Conference at the Dec. 22 game. The Broncos are the obvious choice, especially if they defeat Nevada Saturday and, as expected, are not selected for a Bowl Championship Series game.

• If Boise State is in, then Arizona State - the Pac-12's on-paper representative in the Las Vegas Bowl - is likely out.

Boise State throttled ASU 56-24 in last year's game at Sam Boyd Stadium, and neither Las Vegas Bowl director Dan Hanneke nor representatives from the two programs would like to see a rematch next month.

"I don't want to say that (ASU's) completely out of it, but a rematch is not attractive to any bowl," Hanneke told the Star on Monday. "I'm not sure there's a rematch. And even though Arizona State beat (Arizona), I think the Arizona matchup with Boise State would probably be - with what Rich Rodriguez has done there - an attractive story overall.

"Having the Boise State-Arizona State matchup again wouldn't be as attractive to us as having Boise State-Arizona or Boise State-Washington."

• But a Boise State-Washington pairing might not work, either.

The two teams are scheduled to open the 2013 season at refurbished Husky Stadium; playing each other in a postseason game could take some of the importance out of next year's opener.

That leaves the UA, which - at 7-5 overall and 4-5 in Pac-12 play - sits eighth among bowl-eligible conference teams.

The Pac-12 is expected to send two teams - the winner of this week's conference title game and Oregon - to BCS bowl games.

The Alamo Bowl is likely to select the loser of the title game, leaving the Holiday Bowl its choice among the remaining bowl-eligible teams. Oregon State is the likely fit in San Diego, and the Sun Bowl would likely take USC if the Trojans were still available. Sun Bowl director Bernie Olivas did not return a phone message left Monday.

Those scenarios would leave the Las Vegas Bowl its choice of Arizona State, Arizona and Washington.

Though the UA has the worst conference record of the three, it might be the best fit. The Wildcats won the 2008 game, defeating BYU, and continue to hold the game in high esteem. Bowl officials were happy with the way UA fans traveled to Sin City four years ago.

The selection "all comes down to ticket sales" and compelling television, Hanneke said.

Both categories seem to work in the UA's favor.

"The experience with (UA fans) is this: We know you travel well," Hanneke said. "That plays into our decision."

Carey named to Pac-12 first team

Ka'Deem Carey was named to the Pac-12's all-conference team, making him the first UA running back since Clarence Farmer in 2001 to receive the honor.

Carey, a sophomore, joined Oregon RB Kenjon Barner on the first team, announced Monday.

No other Wildcats were on the first team of 22 players and four specialists. Quarterback Matt Scott and wide receiver Austin Hill were both second-team selections. Wide receiver Dan Buckner, center Kyle Quinn, linebacker Jake Fischer and safety Jared Tevis all earned honorable mentions.

Stanford's David Shaw won Coach of the Year.

Carey, a sophomore, leads the nation with 1,757 rushing yards and has run for 20 scores. He broke the UA's single-season rushing mark in Friday's loss to ASU. With two rushing touchdowns in a bowl game, Carey would break the program's single-season rushing TD mark set by Art Luppino in 1956.