Bowl representatives don't like rematches because it gives fans too much of a been-there, done-that feel. But for teams that lose the regular-season meeting such games are rare second chances.
Brigham Young, a 27-17 early season loser at UCLA, gets that opportunity Dec. 22 in the Las Vegas Bowl to show these Cougars aren't the same ones who took the field at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 8.
"We feel like we're a different team now than we were then," BYU wide receiver Matt Allen said Thursday following a news conference at the ESPN Zone inside New York-New York.
"As far as added motivation, maybe it factors in a little bit, but we're just excited to get a second shot at them. It was such a great game back then in September, what's it going to be like when these teams are at their peak?"
This will be the third rematch in the bowl's 16-year history. In 1994, UNLV avenged an earlier loss to Central Michigan by rolling 52-24, and the following year Toledo completed a two-game sweep of UNR with a 40-37 victory.
When No. 19 BYU (10-2) and UCLA (6-6) met earlier this season, it was a statistical rout. Except it was a rout in the Cougars' favor.
They outgained the Bruins 435 yards to 236, with quarterback Max Hall passing for 391 yards. But BYU committed three turnovers and fell behind 20-0 late in the first half before pulling to within three points of UCLA.
"It definitely did get away from us," Allen said. "We turned the ball over too much when it came down to it.
"But when you look back at that game, they definitely had the upper hand in the first half. We came out in the second half and fought hard ... and got down into a position where we could've won the game. They made plays in critical situations when they needed to."
If BYU carries extra motivation into the bowl game because of that result, certainly UCLA also has plenty to get fired up about. The Bruins are 6-point underdogs despite their victory over the Cougars.
"We're going to come in and we're going to be ready to play," UCLA safety Chris Horton said. "We've been the underdog before in situations, and all that's fine. But you know what, when it's all said and done, we're going to come in the same."
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said any talk about motivation over revenge or point spreads is beside the point.
His Cougars have won nine consecutive games -- the nation's second-longest streak -- and claimed their second straight Mountain West Conference title by focusing on themselves rather than things outside of their control.
That's a plan Mendenhall said will continue.
"We're anxious to play a better game than our last game," Mendenhall said. "That's been our approach for three years, and that's allowed us to be consistent.
"So while we do acknowledge the quality team we're playing and we do acknowledge that they beat us earlier in the year, the focus won't be on UCLA. The focus will be on our program, our player development, our position mastery, our execution and moving our program forward."
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or (702) 387-2914.