03 December 2007

BYU to face UCLA in the Vegas Bowl

Earlier today, the Las Vegas Bowl officially announced that BYU (10-2) will face UCLA (6-6) December 22.

Anyone else getting Groundhog Day vibes? BYU played the Bruins earlier this season, losing 27-17 on September 8. BYU also played in the Vegas Bowl in 2006 and 2005, beating Oregon and losing to Cal.

And I can't quite decide if I hate the matchup or not.

First, I'm sick of the contract the MWC has with the Vegas Bowl... playing the 4th-best PAC-10 team does not inspire greatness in the MWC champ (which lately has been and for the foreseeable future is BYU). If BYU beats the Bruins, they were supposed to. UCLA wasn't up for the game. They lost their coach. They have had quarterback controversy. Blah blah blah.

However, I am interested in seeing the Cougars avenge that early-season loss. Beating UCLA for the first time in 24 years would be nice. A big win over UCLA would help BYU get a nice, high pre-season ranking for 2008.

But seeing BYU lose to UCLA again would be great fodder for Ute fans, who saw their Hawks/Pirates/Runnin' Utes clobber UCLA 44-6 on September 15th.

On the other hand, I would like to see the Cougars beat Benedict Olson's team for what could be the first of two times in 12 months (BYU plays UCLA September 13).

But if the Cougars don't win big, that may hurt them in their 2008 ranking. Voters (who will not have watched the game) will see a score of 33-24 and assume BYU couldn't put the sub-.500 Bruins away. Bronco doesn't seem to grasp the importance of style points in today's college football environment; his sense of class won't allow the Cougars to run up the score on anyone. Urban Meyer understood that when your schedule is weak, winning big matters. Bronco has yet to learn that.

And if the Cougars lose, heaven forbid, there goes a 2008 pre-season ranking. There's a lot to lose and little to gain in this game.

But as I said before, until the Vegas Bowl contract is changed, BYU will always face horrible PAC-10 teams in their bowl game. And I don't see that change coming any time soon.

Overall, I'm not that happy about the matchup. But if the Cougars can win big, I'll be fine with the results. Someone send Bronco an e-mail telling him to stomp on UCLA's throat and not let off December 22.

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