Huskies, Boise State to meet in Las Vegas Bowl

SEATTLE - Viva Las Vegas!

The Huskies (7-5) are headed to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas to play Mountain West Conference co-champion Boise State (10-2) on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.

The 21st Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium made its decision Sunday, becoming the destination for Washington's third consecutive postseason game. It will be the first time in 123 seasons of Huskies football that UW will play in Las Vegas -- or anywhere in Nevada.

The Dawgs will be headquartered at the Mandalay Bay Resort during their week in "The Entertainment Capital of the World." There are community service events with children scheduled, plus a "Show Night" for them to see the Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo Resort.

Think they'll be OK with that?

"We are really excited to be headed to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. It's a great destination for not only our football team but for our fans and for Husky faithful to come support us," UW coach Steve Sarkisian said of a game that has been affiliated with the Pac-10/Pac-12 since 2001. "It's a tremendous bowl game, one that's got a great deal of history in our conference and people going to play it."

Tight end Michael Hartvigson didn't hide his excitement when he tweeted "Never been to Vegas before!!"

This will be just the second meeting between Washington and Boise State. The first was in 2007, when a redshirt quarterback named Jake Locker led UW to a 24-10 victory over No. 22 Boise State at Husky Stadium on Sept. 8, 2007, ending what was then the nation's longest winning streak at 14 games.

"Boise State is a tremendous opponent, one that's been good for many, many years," Sarkisian said. "We're excited about the opportunity to prepare for them and play against them."

More than once, too.

The Broncos and Huskies will meet again next Aug. 31 to begin the 2013 season. Boise State, which just missed out Sunday on a selection into this season's Bowl Championship Series, is UW's hand-picked opponent to open renovated Husky Stadium following its $250 million remodel.

The Dawgs have agreed to a return date at Boise State on Sept. 19, 2015.

Sarkisian welcomes the opportunity to play the Broncos twice in nine months and three times in less than three years.

"I think it can become one of those classic rivalries that get set up," he said. "Everybody loves a good rematch, you know? 

"Somebody's going to win and somebody's going to lose this first one. Then we are going to come back nine months later to see who can win the second one."

Washington has a ticket allotment of 11,000 for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. David Gravenkemper, UW's assistant athletic director for ticket sales and service, said bowl-game tickets are available online now.

Sales in person at the Husky Ticket Office at 3910 Montlake Boulevard in the UW's Graves Building immediately north of Alaska Airlines Arena, and over the phone at (206) 543-2200 will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Gravenkemper said.

Anyone can order tickets now but seat locations will be allocated in Tyee Club priority order. The priority deadline will be December 5. After that, bowl seat locations will be allocated to the general public.

For more ticket information visit Husky Bowl Central.

After Oregon joined Pac-12-champion Stanford in being selected into the Bowl Championship Series Sunday, each of the league's other five bowl-eligible teams moved up in the postseason selection hierarchy. The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas had a trio of 7-5 teams from the Pac-12 from which to choose. It selected Washington, its tradition and its reputation for large traveling parties and alumni bases across the West over Arizona and Arizona State.

The Huskies are the only Pac-12 team to beat Rose Bowl-bound Stanford. They also beat then-No. 7 Oregon State in October and played what for most of the season was the nation's second-toughest schedule, according to the NCAA.

Boise State won Saturday at Nevada 27-21 to become co-champion of the Mountain West Conference with Fresno State and San Diego State. It secured the Broncos' seventh consecutive 10-win season, the longest streak in the nation.

The Huskies and Broncos have had one common opponent this season. UW beat San Diego State 21-12 on Sept. 1 in Seattle to begin its season. The Aztecs beat the Broncos in Boise 21-19 on Nov. 3.

Boise State's other loss was 17-13 at Michigan State in its opener.

The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas will be a homecoming for one Husky. Redshirt freshman linebacker Evan Zeger , who has played on special teams this season, lists his hometown as suburban Henderson, Nev. He was an all-state defensive back and wide receiver at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas in 2010, after transferring from Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash.