Official Team Announcement at ESPN Zone Kicks Off Bowl Festivities

LAS VEGAS - At a media conference December 7 at the ESPN Zone located inside the New York-New York Hotel on the famed Las Vegas Strip, the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl officially welcomed Brigham Young University (10-2/8-0/1st) of the Mountain West Conference and the University of Oregon (7-5/4-5/T-5th) of the Pacific-10 Conference.

The event marked the official start of activities for the Thursday, Dec. 21st (5 p.m. PST on ESPNHD) showdown between the Cougars and the Ducks at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Representatives from the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority gathered on the Strip to welcome the head coaches and athletic administrators from BYU and Oregon in true Las Vegas fashion. The press conference also featured appearances by two player representatives: BYU's Cameron Jensen, a senior First Team All-MWC linebacker, and Oregon's Enoka Lucas, a senior First Team All-Pac-10 honoree at center.

''We are ecstatic to have a game featuring two national programs in BYU and Oregon in front of what is sure to be another record-setting crowd,'' said Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl Executive Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy. ''The Southern Nevada community and fans of both BYU and Oregon just can't wait for December 21st and what promises to be a memorable meeting.''

The special 15th edition of the game features a matchup between two institutions with high-powered offenses that are making return trips the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl. The MWC-champion Cougars, who currently rank fifth in the nation in total offense with 458 yards per game, lost their only previous trip last year to Cal, 35-28, while the Ducks, who stand eighth in offense at 436 YPG, were the first Pac-10 team to ever appear in the game when they downed Air Force 41-13 in 1997.

This will mark the sixth meeting between the two Western powers with Oregon leading the all-time series 3-2. The most recent game came in 1990 when the Ducks downed the Cougars 32-16.

Holding a 7-16-1 all-time record in bowl games, BYU (No. 19 AP/20 USA TODAY) is set to become the first ranked team to appear in a Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl. The Cougars are no strangers to Sam Boyd Stadium, having compiled an impressive a 7-2 record in Las Vegas, which includes two appearances in the Western Athletic Conference championship game during the 1990s. The school will be looking for its first bowl victory since winning the Cotton Bowl after the 1996 season.

"It's an honor to return to the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl as Mountain West Conference champions,'' BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. ''We look forward to representing Brigham Young University and the conference at the highest level."

Earning its 20th bowl trip overall, Oregon spent most of the season nationally ranked, rising as high as 11th. The Ducks, who are making their 10th postseason appearance in head coach Mike Bellotti's 12 years at the helm, are 7-12 all-time in bowl games. The program, which fell to Oklahoma 17-14 in last year's Holiday Bowl, is looking for its first postseason victory since taking the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl crown after the 2001 season.

"My entire coaching staff and players are extremely excited to be invited to play in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl,'' Bellotti said. ''The coaches remember and the players have heard stories about how much fun it was last time and the great experience the people of Las Vegas provided for all of us.''

Overall, Pac-10 Conference teams have played in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl six times and hold a 4-2 record. Schools now in the MWC have combined to play in 10 such games and hold a 5-5 record, including a 4-3 mark since splitting from the WAC and forming the new league in 1999.

Players, coaches, administrators and fans from both teams will enjoy a complete bowl experience combined with the unmatched entertainment and attractions of Las Vegas, a world-renowned event and resort destination that attracts more than 37 million visitors each year. As part of Bowl Week, the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl will host events at some of the city's most exciting venues. The event lineup includes a Welcome Reception at the ESPN Zone (Monday, Dec. 18); Show Night in Las Vegas, featuring Blue Man Group at the Venetian (Dec. 18); Sunrise Children's Hospital Visit (Tuesday, Dec. 19); the Outback Buffet Bowl and Pep Rally at the Golden Nugget/Fremont Street Experience (Dec. 19); and the Kickoff Luncheon at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Wednesday, Dec. 20).

The Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, an ESPN Regional Television (ERT) owned-and-operated event, will be televised live on ESPN and ESPNHD, beginning at 5:00 p.m. (PT) on Thursday, Dec. 21. Brent Musburger will handle the play-by-play duties alongside analyst Bob Davie while Lisa Salters will report from the sidelines. The game will also be broadcast on the Sports USA Radio Network. Tom Dillon will handle play-by-play while former UNLV and NFL coach John Robinson will serve as analyst.

Sam Boyd Stadium, which can hold more than 40,000 fans, will once again serve as the host venue for the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl. Last year's edition attracted a sold-out record attendance of 40,053, which did not include an additional 4,100 temporary bleachers that have been ordered for this month's game. Tickets not designated for the participating teams sold out on November 16 before either school had been invited.

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