If you managed to attend the 2009 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, you were among the fortunate fans treated to the dominant play of the 20th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers over the 22nd-ranked Arizona Wildcats. Even if you aren't a Huskers fan, you were able to see why the team's defensive tackle, Ndamakong Suh, was the second overall player selected in April's NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. The 33-0 Nebraska victory was the bowl's first shutout in its 32-year history.
That's much of the appeal of this bowl that's now known as the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. It pits teams from the talent-rich Big 12 and Pac 10 conferences. And you're certain to see rosters not only packed with top collegiate players, but many future NFL stars as well.
It's also the last year you can see these two conferences in this form. The Pac 10 will expand with two new teams in the 2011 season, while the Big 12 will cut its roster to 10 teams.
That said, the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl will definitely be worthy of the wait as it will have the second selection of eligible Pac-10 teams after the Bowl Championship Series selection process, and the fourth selection after the BCS process in the Big 12. Kick-off is scheduled for 7pm, Thursday, December 30th at Qualcomm Stadium.
According to a released statement by Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl CEO, Barbara Warden, the bowl is pleased it will continue providing its fans with a match-up of teams from two of the nation's strongest conferences. "Pairing teams from these two conferences against one another has proven to be a successful formula, evidenced by our spectacular finishes and high-scoring affairs," Warden says. "This agreement means our tradition of hosting some of America's most exciting bowl games will continue."
Just to show how impressive that matching will line up to be, take a look at the pairings and scores over the past five years: 2005 Oklahoma 17 - Oregon 14; 2006 Cal 45 - Texas A&M 10; 2007 Texas 52 - Arizona State 34; 2008 Oregon 42 - Oklahoma State 31; and 2009 Nebraska 33 - Arizona 0.
At press time, it's a safe bet you won't be seeing Oregon, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. The Ducks sit at the top of every NCAA football poll, with Nebraska and Oklahoma States reigning at the top of their respective Big 12 North and South Divisions. And USC won't be taking the field in a post-season bowl game after being slapped with NCAA violations.
But a stellar line-up of potential teams are waiting in the wings -- Stanford, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Baylor and Kansas State to name a few. And that's not too shabby, especially when you consider that these powerhouses are bringing their game to "America's Finest City."
Tickets are now on sale for the 33rd annual game, with prices ranging from $80 to $95. If you're in the neighborhood, you can purchase these in person at the bowl's ticket office at Qualcomm Stadium -- Gate A or by calling (619) 283-5808.