ESPN Regional Television (ERT), Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, announces the 2010 match-ups for its seven owned and operated bowl games, which kick off on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque and ends in Birmingham, Ala., at the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 8.
“We are excited to host a wide cross-section of football teams representing seven conferences and one independent at our Bowls,” said Clint Overby, ESPN Regional Television senior director of events. “We hope teams and fans enjoy all that our locations have to offer and wish them the very best of luck in their respective games.”
UTEP (6-6, 3-5) will face BYU (6-6, 5-3) in the New Mexico Bowl from University Stadium in Albuquerque, on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN, kicking off the FBS postseason. The Miners, who will represent Conference USA, become the first team from outside the Mountain West Conference and Western Athletic Conference to appear in the New Mexico Bowl. The Miners will be playing in their first bowl game since 2005 and are led by Mike Price. BYU, led by Bronco Mendenhall since 2005, won five of its final seven games to become bowl eligible, and will be making its sixth straight postseason appearance.
Louisville (6-6, 3-4) and Southern Miss (8-4, 5-3) will square off in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg from Tropicana Field on Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The bowl game will feature teams from the BIG EAST Conference and Conference USA for the third straight season. Louisville accepted the BIG EAST bid, while Southern Miss will represent C-USA. Louisville, led by first-year head coach Charlie Strong, returns to the bowl circuit for the first time since its 2006 Orange Bowl appearance. Larry Fedora, in his third season, leads Southern Miss to its third straight bowl appearance.
Boise State (11-1, 7-1) and Utah (10-2, 7-1) will meet in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas from Sam Boyd Stadium on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Utah, representing the Mountain West, owns a nation-leading nine-game bowl winning streak which began a decade ago at this event. Boise State is an at-large bid to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas after the Pac-10 did not have enough bowl-eligible teams. Head coach Kyle Whittingham and Utah will represent the MWC for the final time before beginning play in the Pacific-10 in 2011. Head coach Chris Petersen and Boise State will be the first WAC representative to appear in the bowl since 1999.
Hawaii (7-2, 5-0) and Tulsa (9-3, 6-2) will meet in the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Friday, Dec. 24, at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Hawaii has participated in this event five times since the bowl’s inception in 2002. The Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl offers UH an automatic spot if it wins a minimum of seven games. Tulsa represents Conference USA and is led by head coach Todd Graham.
Baylor (7-5, 4-4) and Illinois (6-6, 4-4) will square off in the Texas Bowl from Reliant Stadium in Houston, on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 6 p.m. on ESPN. Baylor makes its first appearance in a bowl game since 1994, when the Bears played in the Alamo Bowl against Washington State. The Bears are led by third-year head coach Art Briles. Illinois is returning to postseason action for the first time since appearing in the 2008 Rose Bowl and is led by head coach Ron Zook.
Southern Methodist (7-5, 6-2) will face Army (6-5) in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl from Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday, Dec. 30, at noon on ESPN. SMU will be playing in its home stadium, and is the designated home team as the Conference USA representative. SMU, led by third-year head coach June Jones, will be competing in postseason play for the second straight year, after earning the C-USA West Division title. Second-year head coach Rich Ellerson and the Black Knights are bowl-eligible for the first time since 1996.
Pittsburgh (7-5, 5-2) and Kentucky (6-6, 2-6) will square off in the BBVA Compass Bowl from historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. on Saturday, Jan. 8, at noon on ESPN. Pittsburgh, representing the BIG EAST is led by head coach Dave Wannstedt. The Panthers will be playing in their 27th bowl game and will be making their third straight postseason appearance. Kentucky, a bid from the Southeastern Conference is led by head coach Joker Phillips. In addition to playing in its fifth consecutive bowl game, Kentucky will be making its 14th bowl appearance overall.
New Mexico Bowl (University Stadium, Albuquerque)
Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. on ESPN
- UTEP (C-USA) vs. BYU (Mountain West)
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg (Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. on ESPN
- Louisville (BIG EAST) vs. Southern Miss (C-USA)
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas (Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas)
Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. on ESPN
- Boise State (WAC) vs. Utah (Mountain West)
Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Aloha Stadium, Honolulu)
Friday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. on ESPN
- Hawaii (WAC) vs. Tulsa (C-USA)
Texas Bowl (Reliant Stadium, Houston)
Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 6 p.m. on ESPN
- Baylor (Big 12) vs. Illinois (Big Ten)
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas)
Thursday, Dec. 30 at noon on ESPN
- Army (Independent) vs. SMU (Conference USA)
BBVA Compass Bowl (Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.)
Saturday, Jan. 8 at noon on ESPN
- Pittsburgh (BIG EAST) vs. Kentucky (SEC)
ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (e.g. – SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC).
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events, including collegiate football events: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg; Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl; BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Texas Bowl (Houston); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.) and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards. Collegiate basketball events: 76 Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Cancun Governor’s Cup; Charleston Classic (S.C.); DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational; Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Honda Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); Lane Furniture All-College Basketball Classic (Oklahoma City) and BracketBusters; as well as the new ESPNU Warrior Classic (Lacrosse) and the ESPN National Golf Challenge. For more information, visit ESPNPlus.com.