Beavers, Cougars Meet The Media

MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Teams Promote Dec. 22 Game

LAS VEGAS - At a media conference Thursday at the ESPN Zone located inside the New York-New York Hotel on the famed Las Vegas Strip, the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas officially welcomed BYU (10-2 overall/7-1) of the Mountain West Conference and Oregon State University (8-4/6-3) of the Pacific-10 Conference.

The event marked the start of activities leading up to the Tuesday, Dec. 22 (5 p.m. PST on ESPN) showdown between the Beavers (visiting team) and Cougars (home team) at Sam Boyd Stadium that will feature the first-ever matchup of ranked teams in the annual event.

The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, which is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Last year, the 17th edition of the Las Vegas Bowl attracted 40,047 fans to Sam Boyd Stadium, which marked the game's fourth consecutive sellout as Arizona defeated BYU 31-21. Organizers announced Dec. 10 that this year's game had sold out of its allotment of tickets for the public. Fans should log on to or for information about tickets available from either school.

Representatives from the newly rebranded MAACO Bowl Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority gathered on the Strip to welcome the head coaches and athletic administrators from BYU and OSU -- Las Vegas style. The media conference also featured appearances by two impressive player representatives: OSU's Sean Canfield, a senior first team all-conference quarterback that is on pace to shatter his school's single-season pass completion percentage record; and BYU senior Dennis Pitta, the NCAA's career receiving yardage leader for tight ends and one of three finalists for the prestigious John Mackey Award, given to the nation's top player at his position.

The 18th edition of the game is a matchup of two teams that are no strangers to Las Vegas as both won a game at Sam Boyd earlier this season over hometown team UNLV. Ranked No. 15 by the AP and 14 by the coaches, the Cougars are also 14th in the BCS Standings. They have compiled an impressive 11-3 record in the Entertainment Capital of the World, which includes two appearances in the Western Athletic Conference championship game during the 1990s. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall, who is an Oregon State graduate and former defensive coordinator for the Beavers, will see his squad become the highest-ranked team to ever compete in the event.

The No. 16/20 Beavers (18th in the BCS) make their second-ever trip to the bowl after having defeated New Mexico 55-14 in 2003. OSU will be the first ranked Pac-10 team in the bowl's history and its eight wins coming in are the most any Pac-10 team has had playing in Las Vegas. Head Coach Mike Riley's program is 2-1 all-time at Sam Boyd Stadium, including their previous bowl visit.

Since the first Las Vegas Bowl was played in 1992, seven of the current nine MWC teams have appeared in the game a combined 13 times, compiling a 7-6 record, including a 2-2 mark by BYU. Oregon State is one of six Pac-10 teams to take part in the annual event and the conference has forged a 5-4 overall record in Las Vegas. The MWC and Pac-10 have met the last eight seasons in Las Vegas, with each side winning four times.

''Our committee is thrilled to be offering the best matchup we've seen in nearly two decades of putting on this game,'' MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Executive Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said. ''We can't wait to host two exciting, ranked teams in what many are calling one of the top pairings of the college bowl season."

Holding a 9-17-1 all-time record in bowl games, BYU will be making its fifth consecutive trip to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas and look for its third victory here. This year's Cougars will break the program's own record set last December for highest-ranked team to compete at the bowl.

''We are excited to be back in Las Vegas and looking forward to this opportunity,'' said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. ''We are playing an excellent opponent, probably the best in the five years that we have been here, and that is what makes this exciting.''

OSU boasts an 8-4 all-time record in bowls with nine of those appearances coming in the last 11 seasons. In fact, the Beavers have won five consecutive postseason games -- the second-longest streak in the nation behind Utah's eight (and one that was started right here in 2003).

''It is great to be here,'' said OSU head coach Mike Riley. ''I like playing against people that I know. If you do this for a long time you get the opportunity to do that once in a while, and Bronco is a great guy, a great program and we have gotten to know each other the past couple of years. I really appreciate their program and what they have been able to do. I am also very proud to bring the Beavers back to Vegas. We were here a few years ago and they do a great job. It was fun for our team, the atmosphere was great and we appreciated that.''

While BYU and OSU will face each other in a bowl game for the first time, it marks the ninth meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1955. The Beavers lead 5-3 all-time and won the most-recent meeting 10-7 in Provo in 1986.

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 nearly 40 million visitors each year. As part of Bowl Week, the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas will host events at some of the city's most exciting venues. The event lineup includes a Welcome Reception at the ESPN Zone (Saturday, Dec. 19); Show Night in Las Vegas attending Terry Fator & His Cast of Thousands at The Mirage (Dec. 19); Sunrise Children's Hospital Visit and Goodie Two Shoes Foundation event (Sunday, Dec. 20); the Outback Buffet Bowl (Dec. 20) and the Pep Rally at the Golden Nugget/Fremont Street Experience (Monday, Dec. 21); and the annual Kickoff Luncheon at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Dec. 21).
Scheduled to announce the 2009 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Bowl for ESPN is Rece Davis (play by play), Lou Holtz and Mark May (analysts) and Quint Kessenich (sideline reporter). The game will also be broadcast nationally on the Sports USA Radio Network and along the Armed Forces Radio Network. Additional information about the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas can be found at the official Web site


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The nation's largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of 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. ? SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, Sun Belt, WAC). For more information, visit