Their dreams of an undefeated season and BCS bowl game dashed, the 11-1 Boise State Broncos have accepted an invitation to meet Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Broncos, ranked 10th in the AP poll and 11th in the final BCS standings, were invited as an at-large selection after the Pac-10 failed to qualify an eligible team for the game. With the Utes (10-2) ranked 20th, this will mark the second consecutive year that the Las Vegas Bowl will match ranked teams, although the Broncos are the highest-rated team to appear in the 18-year-old game. Boise State is also the first Western Athletic Conference team to play in the Las Vegas Bowl since Fresno State in 1999, and this is Boise State’s first game in Las Vegas since the Broncos met UNLV in 1976.
The Las Vegas Bowl has sold out for five consecutive years and the addition of the high-powered Broncos will provide a boon to ticket sales this year. Boise State was 10-0, ranked third in the BCS standings and riding a nation-best 24-game winning streak before falling at Nevada-Reno 34-31 in overtime back on November 26th. The Broncos also feature a likely Heisman Trophy finalist in quarterback Kellen Moore. The Utes were also undefeated and ranked in the top five until early November, when they were blown out in consecutive weeks by eventual Mountain West champ TCU and Notre Dame. However, Utah rallied to win its final two games against San Diego State and in-state rival BYU. The Broncos and Utes haven’t met since 2006, with Boise State leading the all-time series 4-2. This will also mark the final game for each school in its current conference, as the Utes are leaving the Mountain West for the Pac-10 next year and Boise State is departing the WAC to join the Mountain West.
The 2010 Maaco Las Vegas Bowl will be played at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 22nd at 5 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at the Thomas & Mack Center box office, at unlvtickets.com or by calling 1-866-388-FANS. The game will be televised live on ESPN television and on 100.5 FM Newsradio KXNT.