Holiday Bowl matches up UCLA and Baylor

UCLA will play Baylor in the Holiday Bowl Dec. 27 at Qualcomm Stadium, the first time a Los Angeles-area school has played in the game, organizers announced Sunday.

The Holiday Bowl has the second choice among Pacific-12 Conference teams and fourth choice from the 10-team Big 12 Conference, after the conference champions and any additional teams were chosen to participate in Bowl Championship Series games.

UCLA is 9-4, while Baylor, which will also be making its first Holiday Bowl appearance, is 7-5, ending the regular season with three consecutive victories.

“I love the idea of staying in Southern California for this game,” said Bruins coach Jim Mora, who was a San Diego Chargers assistant coach in 1985-91. “I think it will give our fans a chance to come down and watch us play one more time. It will give us more exposure.”

Holiday Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski said he “would expect” UCLA's presence in the game “will certainly boost our ticket sales.”

Binkowski said he hopes ticket sales will approach 60,000. The Holiday Bowl sold out each year from 2003, but since then has only sold out in 2009. The announced attendance for last year's game, which was between California and Texas, was 56,313.

Under terms of the conferences' contract with the bowl, both schools are each required to purchase 11,000 tickets, which they resell to their fans, with the unsold tickets donated to local military and charities.

In a game Binkowski said exists “to put people into local hotel rooms,” bowl organizers will encourage UCLA fans to “spend the weekend” in San Diego hotels following the game, which will be played on a Thursday, Binkowski said.

The scheduled 6:45 p.m. kickoff, one hour, 45 minutes later than last year's, will lead to Bruin fans to spend at least one night in a hotel, Binkowski said.

“They don't want to drive home after the game,” Binkowski told City News Service.

The later kickoff was set by ESPN to accommodate its three bowl telecasts on Dec. 27, Binkowski said.

“6:45 is not a bad kickoff time for local fans,” Binkowski said. “It certainly will effect some of the TV sets on the East Coast.”

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