For the 2004 bowl season the Silicon Valley Classic had contractual tie-ins with the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Pacific-10 Conference (Pac-10); neither conference had enough bowl-eligible teams. In previous years the SVC had an agreement to take the Pac-10's No. 6 team, but was displaced by the new Emerald Bowl and had to settle for No. 7, if one existed. Organizers obtained permission from the Pac-10 to look elsewhere, and on November 16 announced an agreement with the Mid-American Conference, which had five bowl-eligible teams but as yet only two bowls.
Since the beginning of the bowl in 2000, the Fresno State Bulldogs represented the WAC. Although the SVC invited Fresno State back, the Bulldogs opted for the MPC Computers Bowl, where they would face #18-ranked Virginia from the ACC. Left without a WAC team, organizers turned to the Troy Trojans of the Sun Belt Conference. Troy had never played in a bowl game before, having just moved up to Division I in 2001 and joined the Sun Belt in 2004.