Baylor takes a Holiday

By Greg DeVries

Sports Writer

San Diego is famous for a lot of things. Sunshine, beautiful landscapes, Ron Burgundy and the Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl are just naming a few of the great things that this city has to offer.

The Holiday Bowl is a great bowl for the Bears. Baylor gets the chance to make a statement against UCLA, the No. 17 team in the country. The payout is more than $2 million per team. This is an improvement over the Texas bowl, which has a payout of $1.7 million per team, and the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which pays $1.1 million per team. It also gives Baylor a chance to expand its brand to the West Coast. The Holiday Bowl started as a game that featured the Western Athletic conference Champion against a nationally ranked team. Now the game has ties to the Pac 12 and Big 12.

Since the Holiday Bowl’s inception, the Big 12 and Pac 10 (now known as the Pac 12) have met 15 times. The Big 12 leads that series with nine wins to the Pac 12’s six. The Pac 12’s last win was in 2010 when Nebraska lost to Washington. Nebraska has since joined the Big 10. The last loss for a current Big 12 team was the year before when Oregon beat Zac Robinson’s Oklahoma State Cowboys. The most recent win belongs to the Texas Longhorns. The 2011 Texas team beat California 21-10.

Last year, Baylor set a lot of offensive records in the Alamo Bowl. The Holiday Bowl has a history of hosting high-powered Big 12 offenses, so Baylor will have to have a prolific day to break Holiday Bowl records. The game will be played at Qualcomm Stadium, the same stadium that the San Diego Chargers play in, which is about four miles from the water.

So maybe San Diego might be a longer trip than the drive to Houston, Dallas or San Antonio, but the experience should be worth it.

If you are staying near the stadium, then there is plenty to do. If you’re missing the attractions that Texas had to offer over the past two years, then Sea World San Diego might remind you of home.

If Baylor’s dining halls and the row of fast food chains across I-35 have you craving something worthwhile, be sure to grab some seafood. After all, the ocean is right there. After the win over Oklahoma State, senior quarterback Nick Florence was asked if he preferred a certain bowl game over another. Florence said that he didn’t have a preference, but in the next room over, sophomore running back Lache Seastrunk voiced his opinion.

“San Diego,” Seastrunk said. “I want to go to the beach.”

The game will be played at 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 27. If you will be in San Diego, that’s 6:45 p.m. local time.

Tickets start at $39 on StubHub and can go as high as $395. There are plenty of hotels that are close to the stadium along I-8, the freeway that connects Qualcomm Stadium to the coast. December might be cold in most of the country, but the weather in Southern California is a little bit different. The high on the 27th is predicted to be 85 degrees. For the team, it will be like they are just playing another game at Floyd Casey Stadium. For Baylor fans, it will be a great way to get away from the cold. There are also plenty of gorgeous golf courses along the coast including Torrey Pines, which has hosted the U.S. Open.

The plane ticket might be pricey, but fans have a chance to witness history. The last bowl game that Baylor won outside of Texas was the 1985 Liberty Bowl. That game was a 21-7 win over the LSU Tigers.

Baylor’s overall bowl record since its first bowl game in 1948 is 9-9. If the Bears win, then they will get to see their team have a win percentage over 50 percent for the first time in over two decades.

This game will also be the first meeting between Baylor and UCLA.