The Sun Bowl boasts an interesting matchup between the UCLA Bruins and Virginia Tech Hokies. Both teams have shown flashes of excellence in 2013, but have been betrayed by inconsistency. Ahead of their meeting in El Paso on Monday, here's what our blogs are saying about the game.
Our UCLA blog, Bruins Nation, is looking at the game as a comparison between head coaches Jim Mora and Frank Beamer. Mora has done better at UCLA than most would have predicted, but needs to keep up the pace if the Bruins want to take advantage of opportunities from weakened rivals.
It's a must-win game for Mora, a chance to finish the season strong and give the Bruins an excellent launching point into the home stretch of the recruiting season. Frank Beamer won't make it easy for Mora and his Hokies will be playing to win, so Jim will have to shake out of the conservative NFL mindset and be prepared to roll the dice and be on his toes when the Hokies special teams unit hits the field. It's time for Mora to get over the 9-win hump and bring us a 10-win season. Hell, if Karl Dorell could manage it, no reason that Jim can't get it done now.
Our Virginia Tech blog, Gobbler Country, took a look at the Hokies' relevant history in bowl games against California teams, which is... not great. However, they have had some success playing bowl games in Texas.
The Hokies have never played the Bruins in football. They are 0-3 all-time against current Pac-12 teams and 0-3 against teams from the state of California. They are, however, 3-6 all-time in the state of Texas. Tech is 0-1 all-time in the Sun Bowl, losing to Cincinnati 18-6 in 1947, their first ever bowl game, but played it at Kidd Field, the adjacent stadium to Sun Bowl Stadium. They are 5-4 all-time in games played on Tuesdays and 5-1 on New Year's Eve all-time. (18-3 against Coastal Division opponents at home) (rankings data dates back to 1950, the earliest year of Hokiesports' poll of choice, the Coaches' Poll).
The Hokies and Bruins are scheduled to kick off at the Sun Bowl at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 31 on CBS.