For its first four years, the then-named Humanitarian Bowl offered an automatic bid to the Big West Conference champion, after that conference lost its contract with the Las Vegas Bowl. From 1997 to 1999, the opponent was a team from Conference USA, while in 2000 an at-large was chosen. Beginning in 2000 and continuing until 2012, the automatic bid was given to the Western Athletic Conference, with the bid going to the conference's champion unless that team qualified for the Bowl Championship Series or was chosen by another bowl, or if Hawai'i was the WAC champion (Hawai'i has an automatic tie in to the Hawai'i Bowl, played in their home stadium, if it is bowl eligible). From 2000 until 2008, the Atlantic Coast Conference was to provide an opponent if it had enough bowl-eligible teams; otherwise an at-large would be chosen. In 2009, the Mountain West Conference replaced the ACC as the WAC's opponent, but ended its agreement after one season. For the 2010 playing, the Humanitarian Bowl inherited the MAC's International Bowl tie-in after the Toronto-based bowl folded, and have continued to keep it. After the 2012 season, the WAC stopped sponsoring football and the bowl committee announced that the Mountain West would return to playing in the bowl.
Boise State, the game's host school, holds the record for most bowl wins with three. Fresno State and Idaho also have multiple wins, with two each. Boise State's four appearances are the most of any team.
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