The Hawai‘i Bowl has announced that the 2018 bowl game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 22, outside of its traditional Christmas Eve timeslot for the first time since 2007 and fourth time in bowl history. Kick-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. HT at Aloha Stadium.

The 17th edition of the game pits the Mountain West versus Conference USA and will be televised on ESPN.

“Playing on the Saturday prior to Christmas Eve is a wonderful opportunity for new fans to be able to experience in person all the Hawai‘i Bowl has to offer,”said Hawai‘i Bowl Executive Director Daryl Garvin. “We are excited to welcome new attendees to the Bowl.”

Last year’s game featured an exciting match-up between Fresno State and Houston, which the Bulldogs of the Mountain West won 33-27. The outcome was the sixth in Hawai‘i Bowl history that was decided by a touchdown or less.

In addition to promoting the island way of life by sponsoring events intrinsic to Hawai‘i, the bowl supports many non-profit organizations through the Hawai‘i Bowl Foundation. More than $1 million has been awarded to charities since the inception of the Hawai’i Bowl Foundation.

The bowl game was created in 2002 after the hometown University of Hawai‘i finished the 2001 season with a 9-3 record and was not invited to a bowl game. The Hawai‘i Bowl provides UH an invitation when bowl eligible. The Rainbow Warriors have participated in the bowl seven times.

The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, one of ESPN Events’ early-season college basketball tournaments, will also take place during the Christmas holiday (Dec. 22-25). The brackets, to be determined at a later date, will be developed to avoid any conflicts with participating schools and the bowl game.

The Hawai‘i Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.