Cougars And Wildcats To Meet For First Time In A Bowl Game

LAS VEGAS - In a matchup of two high-powered offenses, Mountain West Conference selection BYU (10-2 overall/6-2 MWC) will face Pac-10 Conference representative Arizona (7-5/5-4 Pac-10) in Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl XVII on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 5 p.m. PT, Executive Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy announced Sunday.

The No. 16/17 Cougars (currently 19th in the FBS with 35.3 points per game) will be making their fourth consecutive trip to the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl and look for their third straight victory in the game. The Wildcats (16th nationally in scoring at 37.1 PPG), who earned their invitation by defeating arch-rival Arizona State on Saturday night, will play in the state of Nevada for the first time since traveling to Reno in 1924 and make their first postseason appearance since winning the 1998 Holiday Bowl.

The Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, which is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and ESPN HD. Last year, Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl XVI attracted 40,712 fans to Sam Boyd Stadium, which was the second-largest crowd in the event's history and marked the game's third consecutive sellout as BYU defeated UCLA 17-16.

Since the first Las Vegas Bowl was played in 1992, six of the current nine MWC teams have appeared in the game a combined 12 times, compiling a 7-5 record, including a 2-1 mark by BYU.

Arizona, which will be the home team on Dec. 20, becomes the sixth Pac-10 team to take part in the annual event and the conference has forged a 4-4 overall record in Las Vegas. The MWC and Pac-10 have met the last six seasons in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, with the MWC winning four times.

While BYU and Arizona will face each other in a bowl game for the first time, it marks the 22nd meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1936. Arizona leads 11-9-1 all-time but the teams split a recent home-and-home series. The Wildcats prevailed 16-13 to open the 2006 season in Tucson and the Cougars won 20-7 on Sept. 1, 2007, in Provo, Utah.

''We look forward to showcasing two of the highest-scoring offenses in college football going against each other in front of a sold-out crowd on December 20th,'' Kunzer-Murphy said. ''BYU has proved to not only be extremely popular in our community but also a top-notch competitor in our game under head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

''On the other side, we congratulate head coach Mike Stoops and his Wildcats team for winning their way into the bowl. Our executive committee is ecstatic to be hosting Arizona in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl for the first time.''

"The Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl has been very good to BYU. We love coming to Las Vegas and playing in one of the best bowl games around. We are excited about our football team and the great things it has accomplished over the past four seasons under Coach Mendenhall and his staff. The program has achieved three straight 10-win regular seasons and received its fourth straight bowl invitation. The coaching staff and the players deserve a tremendous amount of credit for what they have accomplished."

''We appreciate the invitation to play in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. We have enjoyed our previous experiences in Las Vegas and look forward to competing in our fourth straight bowl game. Our focus will be on playing to our potential and improving our football program.''

"We're more than pleased to renew our postseason football participation with a visit to the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. It's a wonderful destination for our fans, there's a connection with our basketball team in the city on the same day (Arizona plays at UNLV at noon on Dec. 20) and it's just great to be back in this kind of situation. Coach Mike Stoops, his staff and the team have worked hard to get us in this position and we're thrilled to be going to Las Vegas. It's a great day to be a Wildcat."

''We are extremely excited to participate in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. It is a great opportunity for us to celebrate a successful year and give our outstanding seniors one more game to play as Wildcats. This opportunity means a whole lot to our football program because of the hard work we have put in this season and in our previous seasons. We expect to have a great following of Wildcat fans to Las Vegas to see an excellent matchup against a very good BYU football team.''

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.
Title sponsor of the Las Vegas Bowl since 2004, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. 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. Learn more at

ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation's largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 900 sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (e.g. ? BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, Sun Belt, WAC).

ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several other sporting events, including collegiate football events: the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl; The Home Depot College Football Awards; the MEAC/SWAC Challenge; the New Mexico Bowl; the Bowl; the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl; the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl; and the St Petersburg Bowl; collegiate basketball events: the 76 Classic (Calif.); the Charleston Classic (S.C.); the Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); the O'Reilly Auto Parts All-College Basketball Classic (Oklahoma City); the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters; and the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational; as well as the ESPN National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway. For more information, visit

ESPN media contact: Jenny Zimmerman, (407) 566-2213 or