Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl Game Preview

News And Notes Leading Up To Saturday's Kickoff


BYU (10-2/8-0/1st), champions of the Mountain West Conference,
and UCLA (6-6/5-4/T-4th) of the Pacifi c-10 Conference meet in the
2007 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. This year the game featured the
fi rst choice from the MWC and the fifth selection from the Pac-10.


The 16th edition of the game features a meeting of two programs
that are making their third trip to the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. The
two-time defending conference champion Cougars are participating
for the third straight year, marking the most all-time appearances by any MWC program and most consecutive trips by any
school. BYU defeated Oregon 38-8 last year after losing its fi rst trip to the game, 35-28, to California in 2005. UCLA becomes the first Pac-10 team to play in three Pioneer Las Vegas Bowls. The Bruins defeated New Mexico 27-13 in their fi rst trip in 2002 and then were downed by Wyoming 24-21 in 2004. The two Western powers have met once before in the postseason as the Bruins won 31-10 over the Cougars in the 1986 Freedom Bowl staged in Anaheim, Calif.


This will be the second meeting between BYU and UCLA this year
as the Bruins defeated the Cougars 27-17 during the regular season on Sept. 8 in Los Angeles. It will also mark the third rematch in Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl history. Hometown UNLV avenged an
earlier road loss by crushing Central Michigan 52-24 in 1994 and
Toledo ended up sweeping the University of Nevada by winning
40-37 in 1995 during what was the first overtime game ever played
on the Division I-A level.


Both teams were ranked in the nation's top 25 this fall. UCLA began the season ranked 14th by the Associated Press and rose to as high as 11th in both the AP and Coaches' polls on Sept. 9 before falling out. BYU broke into the rankings on November 18 and is currently 19th in both the AP and Coaches' polls. BYU is the third ranked team to ever appear in a Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl (the Cougars were 19/20 last year and Air Force was 21/23 when it faced
Oregon in 1997's game).


The Pioneer 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 Saturday, Dec. 22. Brad Nessler will handle the
play-by-play duties alongside analysts Bob Greise and Paul Maguire while Bonnie Bernstein will report from the sidelines.


The game will also be broadcast on the Sports USA Radio Network
and along Armed Forces Radio Network. Tom Dillon will handle
play-by-play while former UNLV and NFL coach John Robinson will
serve as analyst.


Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., a world leader in digital entertainment
products, became the game's title sponsor beginning in 2004.
Pioneer is the leading manufacturer of plasma televisions and monitors,
DVD players and DVD recorders, A/V receivers, CD players
and CD recorders, speakers and other audio and video accessories.
From 2004-2006 the game was known as the Pioneer PureVision
Las Vegas Bowl
but the name was
slightly altered this
past summer.


The Las Vegas Bowl announced in 2005 that it had extended its
contract with the Pac-10 Conference for an additional four years through the 2009 season, getting the fourth selection in 2006 and 2008 while getting the fi fth selection in 2007 and 2009. In addition, the bowl extended its contract with the MWC for the fi rst selection/
champion through the 2009 season.


This will mark the third consecutive sellout for the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. Tickets not designated for the participating teams sold
out on October 17 ? nearly two months before either school had
been invited. Last year's game boasted the largest crowd to ever
see a team sporting event in the state of Nevada ? 44,615.


Sam Boyd Stadium will once again serve as the host venue for the
Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. Last year's edition attracted a sold-out state-record attendance of 44,615, which included an additional 4,100 temporary bleachers in the end zones. This year, organizers announced the addition of a new seating area in the venue's North End Zone that will offer unprecedented views of the game. Taking the place of the temporary bleachers will be the new La-Z-Boy Comfort Zone Club at the Field. The raised and heated area will include complimentary food and beverage and fans can watch the action on the fi eld a few feet away or on the surrounding Pioneer HDTV plasma televisions.


Although sold out in mid-October, public tickets to this year's game
were priced at $20, $30, $50 and $100. Also, each team received
12,000 tickets for their fans.


Each conference receives $1 million.