And it's official. Just moments ago it was announced that our Bruins (9-3) are heading to the Sun Bowl to take on Virginia Tech (8-4). Here is the announcement from the official site:
Virginia Tech and UCLA have accepted invitations to meet on Tuesday, Dec. 31, for the 80th edition of the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, announced Sun Bowl Association Football Committee Chairman John Folmer.
"We could not be more excited to have UCLA and Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bow," said Walker Crowson, Sun Bowl Association President. "Both schools have rich football traditions, outstanding coaches and passionate fan bases. Coach Jim Mora has re-established UCLA as a power in the Pac-12 and Coach Frank Beamer always has Virginia Tech in a position to compete for championships in the ACC.
"We think this will be one of the most competitive and attractive games in our long and proud history, and one befitting the 80th Hyundai Sun Bowl. We look forward to hosting the Bruins and Hokies, along with their fans and alumni, and providing them with our renowned Sun Bowl hospitality."
The 2013 Hyundai Sun Bowl will mark the first meeting between the two teams.
Taking on a high profile program like Frank Beamer's Virginia Tech is a great opportunity for the Bruins. While the Hokies have been slightly down this year, they still put together a pretty good season. They always have been one of the most fundamentally sound and well-coached programs from the East Coast, and this matchup should have some cross-sectional buzz beyond the West Coast. I am sure Coach Mora and his staff will not mind the Bruins getting some buzz in the Mid-Atlantic region.
If we have it right, this will be the 33rd bowl game in UCLA's program's history. Bruins have a record of 15-17-1, as Coach Mora will get a chance to erase the bad memories from last year's Holiday Bowl.
It will be interesting to see how Mora prepares the program for this game after what happened in the Holiday Bowl last year. As discussed after that game last year, it appeared that neither our coaches nor our players were focused and prepared heading into that matchup against a hot Baylor Bears program. Hopefully, the approach and the results will be different this season.
As Coach Mora mentioned after practice yesterday, the Bruins - especially our seniors - are hungry to get the 10th winand finish their UCLA careers on a high note. So, they didn't really care where and who they were going to play during this bowl season. Let's get that 10th win!