LAS VEGAS, Sporting Alert – College football bowl schedule kicks-off this weekend with five bowl games on Saturday, Dec. 19.
Among the bowls up for grab this weekend are the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl and the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
After failing to push on from their impressive start to the season, No. 22 Utah will look to close out the campaign on a winning note against BYU at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
Game time is at 3:30 p.m. and live television broadcast will be on ABC.
The Utes (9-3) started the season with a 6-0 record, but slowly fell out of the college football playoff consideration as the season progress, following defeats to USC, Arizona and UCLA.
Senior running back Devontae Booker, who has rushed 268 times for 1261 yards and 11 touchdowns this period, has been carrying the offense for Utah, which was named Pac-12 South Division co-champion.
The Cougars (9-3), in the meantime, also won nine games, but losing starting quarterback Taysom Hill after their 2015 opener, put a damper on their push to battle for a more highlighted crown.
Still, they are delighted to be playing for some kind of honor when other programs will be sitting at home and looking forward to finishing strong.
“We’re excited and we really want to win and we really want to play well for the sake of our team,” Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
“I’m excited to do my part as a coach and I’m really excited to help the players on our team achieve a strong finish.”
Heading into this battle, the Utes lead the series with BYU 54-31-4, including winning four straight games in this series and nine in the last 12 matchups.
BYU and Utah have never take on each other in the postseason or at a neutral site, according to the Cougars’ website.
Mendenhall said: “Who would have guessed that on a year where BYU and Utah aren’t scheduled to play, we end up playing and we end up playing in Las Vegas in front of a packed house?
“It’ll be two teams that worked really hard and both fighting to get their 10th win.”
Meanwhile, at the University Stadium in Albuquerque, Arizona and New Mexico will battle for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
The Wildcats (6-6) finished fifth in the Pac-12 South Division with a 3-6 conference record, following an injury-plagued campaign, and the confidence in the camp must be very low after losing four of the last five games to end the regular season.
New Mexico enters this game on the back of its first winning season since 2007, and Jhurell Pressley will be hoping to help the Lobos (7-5) finish off the year on a victorious note.
Arizona is favored by 9-points, but expect New Mexico to keep things closer than Las Vegas is predicting.
Saturday, Dec. 19
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T
Atlanta | Georgia Dome
Noon on ABC
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Arizona vs. New Mexico
Albuquerque | University Stadium
2 p.m. on ESPN
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
BYU vs. Utah
Las Vegas | Sam Boyd Stadium
3:30 p.m. on ABC
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Ohio vs. Appalachian State
Montgomery, Alabama | Cramton Bowl
5:30 p.m. on ESPN
San Jose State vs. Georgia State
Orlando | Florida Citrus Bowl
7 p.m. on CBSSN
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech
New Orleans | Mercedes-Benz Superdome
9 p.m. on ESPN