Bruins to play in Silicon Valley Classic

Updated: December 3, 2003, 1:28 AM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Fresno State and UCLA will play in the Dec. 30 Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, bowl officials said Tuesday night.

UCLA (6-6, 4-4 Pac-10) lost its last four games but was picked over Washington (6-6, 4-4) to represent the Pac-10 in the game, said Greg Jamison, the bowl's chairman.

The Bruins' 46-16 win over the Huskies on Oct. 4 was a factor in the decision, Jamison said.

Fresno State (8-5, 6-2 WAC) will be making its fourth consecutive appearance in the bowl. The Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech 30-21 in last year's game.

"We couldn't ask for a better matchup," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said during a conference call. "We've had a couple of good games, since I've been head coach, with UCLA. When you're playing a school like UCLA, it's a school rich with tradition, the kind of matchup you want."

First-year UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell was out of state recruiting, but said in a statement that he was pleased the Bruins were invited.

"This bowl will give our seniors the opportunity to leave UCLA on a good note," Dorrell said. "For our younger players, they can gain valuable experience with additional practice time."

The Bruins finished Pac-10 play with lopsided losses to Washington State, Oregon and USC.

"We certainly wanted to continue our season, and the opportunity to play in this bowl was important to us," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said.

"It's the first time two California schools have played in the Silicon Valley Bowl. For UCLA, it's an opportunity to continue to move forward and we're just excited to be in it."

The Bruins have 20 players from Northern California, including senior defensive end Dave Ball, recently named the Pac-10 defensive player of the year by the conference's coaches.

The bowl matchup is contingent on the Big 12 conference having two teams play in BCS bowl games, but Jamison said that likely will be accomplished this weekend.

The Bulldogs and Bruins last faced each other in 2000 and UCLA won that regular-season game 24-21 at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins are 6-0 against the Bulldogs, with all six victories at home.

Fresno State finished tied for second in the WAC, and five of the Bulldogs' losses were against teams going to bowl games, including No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 7 Tennessee.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press