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SALT LAKE CITY -- The University of Utah has accepted an invitation to play in the fifth-annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The game featuring Utah (9-3, 6-2 MWC) and California (8-4, 5-4 Pac-10) will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 23 starting at 5:00 p.m. PT in Qualcomm Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Utah, which owns the nation's longest active bowl win streak at eight games, is headed to its seventh-straight bowl.
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham says, "We are looking forward to playing in the Poinsettia Bowl for the second time in three years. We had a great experience when we played there in 2007 and our players and staff are excited to be going back. We have around 25 players on our roster from Southern California and we hope for a big turnout from our fans, as is typical anytime we play in Qualcomm Stadium. In addition, San Diego is easy to get to from Salt Lake City and a great vacation destination, especially at this time of the year. Cal is a formidable opponent and one we look forward to playing. We like playing Pac-10 teams and we anticipate a great game."
Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill says, "We are elated to be invited to the Poinsettia Bowl. It is an ideal destination for our team and fans, and we like the idea of being one of the first games in the bowl season. We have had a great year, and this invitation to the Poinsettia Bowl is icing on the cake. Having played in the Poinsettia Bowl before, we know it is a very well-run event and one that is enjoyable for everyone involved. Playing a high-caliber opponent like Cal will make this an appealing game, not only to our fans, boosters and student-athletes, but to people around the country viewing it on TV."
Utah is 11-3 all-time in bowl games and its 78.6 percent postseason winning percentage is the best in the nation for teams that have played in at least 10 bowl games. The Utes have never faced California in the postseason. Utah is 2-2 against Pac-10 schools in bowl games, with wins over Arizona in the 1994 Freedom Bowl and Southern California in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl. Losses were to Washington State in the 1992 Copper Bowl and USC in the 1993 Freedom Bowl.
California has a 10-8-1 all-time bowl record, most recently beating Miami (Fla.) 24-17 in the 2008 Emerald Bowl.
In MWC-affiliated bowls, the Utes are 6-0 dating back to the first year of the league in 1999. Utah is 2-0 in BCS bowl games. During Utah's current bowl win streak, the Utes are 2-0 in the Las Vegas Bowl (1999, 2001); 1-0 in the Liberty Bowl (2003); 1-0 in the Fiesta Bowl (2005/04 season); 1-0 in the Emerald Bowl (2005); 1-0 in the Armed Forces Bowl (2006); 1-0 in the Poinsettia Bowl (2007) and 1-0 in the Sugar Bowl (2009/08 season).
Since the BCS began in 1998, Utah is tied with Navy for the most wins against BCS conference opponents (18) by a school from a non-automatic qualifying conference. Utah is the only team from a non-automatic qualifying conference to be invited to play in two BCS bowl games. Utah was the original BCS Buster in 2004--beating Pittsburgh in the (2005) Fiesta Bowl. Last January, the 13-0 Utes beat No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Utah is 2-4 all-time against California and has won two of the last three games with the Golden Bears, picking up wins in 1964 (in Berkeley) and 2003 (in Salt Lake City), with the loss coming in 2000 (in Berkeley). Cal offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Andy Ludwig coached at Utah in the same capacity from 2005-08.