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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference will send a record five teams into postseason bowl games in 2007. The five bowl berths break the old mark of four participants in both 2005 and 2006. The Mountain West has earned 31 bowl bids since 1999 and holds a 14-12 all-time record in those games, including a 5-1 mark against BCS automatic-qualifying conferences since 2004.
"I appreciate all affected conference members' patience and diligence as I have worked through the process of placing all five bowl-eligible MWC teams," said MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson. "As is the case every season, the myriad scenarios generally come down to the final results of the last Saturday of the season. By playing this out, we were able to secure a record five bowl berths, placing over half of our football teams in postseason play."
The 19th-ranked BYU (10-2, 8-0) Cougars will take part in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl for the third consecutive year. The Cougars will face Pac-10 opponent UCLA (6-6, 5-4), marking a rematch of a 27-17 Bruin win on Sept. 8 in Los Angeles. This will be the 26th bowl appearance for BYU with an 8-16-1 overall record in those contests. The Cougars are 9-2 all-time at Sam Boyd Stadium, including a 7-0 mark against UNLV, 1-1 in conference championship games and 1-1 in bowl games. The game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 5 p.m. MT on ESPN.
Utah (9-3, 5-3 MWC) will be the MWC's representative in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The Utes will be making their first appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl and will take on Navy (8-4). Utah is making its fifth straight bowl trip and 14th appearance overall. The Utes hold an all-time record of 9-4 in bowl games and currently own the nation's second-longest bowl win streak at six, one behind leader Boston College with seven consecutive wins. The Poinsettia Bowl will take place at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Thursday, Dec. 20. ESPN will broadcast the game beginning at 6 p.m. PT.
Air Force (9-3, 6-2) has accepted a bid to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl and will play California (6-6, 3-6). The Falcons will be competing in their 18th bowl game, with this year's Armed Forces Bowl being their first postseason game since 2002. Air Force boasts an 8-8-1 bowl record, including a 1-1 mark as a member of the MWC. The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl takes place on Monday, Dec. 31 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas and will be aired at 11:30 a.m. CT on ESPN.
New Mexico (8-4, 5-3) will return to the New Mexico Bowl for the second straight year and face Western Athletic Conference opponent Nevada (6-6, 4-4). The Lobos are the only institution in the MWC that has been bowl eligible for seven consecutive years. New Mexico has recorded a 2-7-1 mark in 10 bowl appearances. The New Mexico Bowl will be played at University Stadium in Albuquerque on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2:30 p.m. MT on ESPN.
TCU (7-5, 4-4) will be making its ninth bowl appearance in the last 10 years when it faces Houston (8-4, 6-2) out of Conference USA in the Texas Bowl on Friday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. CT on the NFL Network. This will be the 23rd bowl appearance for TCU, owners of a 9-12-1 overall mark in the postseason. The Horned Frogs played in Reliant Stadium in 2005, defeating Iowa State, 27-24, in the Houston Bowl. TCU participated in the Poinsettia Bowl last year, cruising by Northern Illinois, 37-7.