We're revving our engines for the first day of the 2010 college football postseason. To help prime you for the first, decidedly lackluster slate of games, we've compiled this handy list of fun factoids concerning the 2010 New Mexico Bowl:
Setting: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Traditional conference pairing: Mountain West vs. WAC, with Pac-10 taking over the latter's tie-in for the 2012 season.
2010 matchup: BYU Cougars (6-6) vs. UTEP Miners (6-6)
Neatest fact: The trophies for Offensive and Defensive MVP are designed to look like leather Zia Pueblo shields.
Closest finish: 2009 (Wyoming def. Fresno State, 35-28 in double overtime)
Most lopsided finish: 2007 (New Mexico def. Nevada, 23-0)
Historical tidbits: Founded in 2006, The contest is pitched as "the state's only annually nationally televised sporting event." (Not to be outdone, this same writer also bills the WAC as "the nation's sixth oldest Division I-A conference." Quite unexpectedly, postseason football in New Mexico also harbors a dark and twisted past:
Acknowledging The Past
While the 2006 New Mexico Bowl was the first Division I Bowl game in the state of New Mexico, there was postseason action in the Land of Enchantment before. In 1980, the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs played Eastern Illinois at University Stadium in the Division II championship game, called the Zia Bowl. It snowed in Albuquerque just two days before the game and the weather was unusually cold. Helicopters were brought in to dry the fields and the grass was painted green. A very small crowd showed up to the Cal Poly win the D-II national title, 21-13.
Compounding matters, winning the bowl itself may actually impose a W-L curse on the victors. No team that's won the New Mexico Bowl has gone on to compile a winning record the following season. Spookay!
The 2010 New Mexico Bowl kicks off at 2 p.m. EST, Saturday, December 18. The game will be televised on ESPN. Browse our complete 2010 college football postseason schedule, and connect with BYU and UTEP fans at SB Nation's Vanquish The Foe and Miner Rush.