People have been wondering why we're playing rice, and why we're playing them two years in a row. The Daily Bruin answered that today:Why Rice? Rice has not played in a bowl game since 1961, so it doesn't fit the usual profile of a UCLA opponent.
As it turns out, UCLA was stuck in a bind due to a scheduling conflict.
The Bruins originally had BYU on their schedule for a home-and-away series in 2005 and 2006, but in 2004, BYU had to drop UCLA from their schedule when their conference, the Mountain West Conference, added an additional conference game.
So that left UCLA, which originally only had 5 home games in 2005 and 2006, scrambling to find a Division 1-A opponent that could come to the Rose Bowl two years in a row.
"Rice was extremely accommodating, and they were able to fit into our schedule," UCLA associate athletic director Marc Dellins said. "That was the biggest factor, finding a team that could fill our two home dates."
And the decision worked out on both sides. Rice, which is 1-12-1 all-time in the state of California, gets the exposure of playing a national Pac-10 team, and UCLA essentially gets an easy win while preparing for the brutal end of its Pac-10 schedule which starts in mid-October with a game at Oregon.
It all begins to make sense.