If memory serves, the first time I had the idea to write about the ABCs of the Las Vegas Bowl was 1996. It was the fifth anniversary of the game; thus, something special was called for. A flea flicker of some type. A journalistic fumblerooskie.
This was back when the teams came from the Big West and the Mid-American Conference. UNR was making its second straight appearance, Ball State its second in four years.
Sure, A is for Ault - and still is, which is hard to believe - and L is for Letterman, Ball State's most famous alum. But I remember getting stuck on E that year, and that was long before the pesky Q, X, Z triumvirate - which would be even more pesky without the presence of one of the Zendejas brothers.
By then, Tony Zendejas, who had kicked for UNR, was out of pro football. And so thought was given to doing an ABC list of guys who started their careers in the United States Football League before jumping to the NFL - with Walker, Herschel and Young, Steve and Zendejas, Tony you had the nucleus of a strong finish.
But then what would you do with X?
So much for a journalistic fumblerooskie. I think I wrote about a reserve Ball State offensive tackle who knitted humorous cummerbunds in his spare time.
Now that the Las Vegas Bowl is starting its third decade of providing quality college football entertainment at an affordable price - but please, no more 6-5 Arizona State teams with a lame-duck coach whose players seemed mostly interested in breaking curfew - a lot more ABCs are available from which to choose.
There still aren't a lot of Qs, Xs and Zs.
is for ax, the UCLA coaching ax. In 2002, the Bruins fired Bob Toledo before the Las Vegas Bowl; in 2007, Karl Dorrell received a pink slip before the team arrived. Ed Kezirian coached the Fighting Interims in 2002; DeWayne Walker did the dubious honor in 2007.
is for Brent, as in Musburger, who will be "looking, live, at" Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday afternoon when he calls the game for ESPN.
is for Calvillo, as in Anthony, the Most Valuable Player of Las Vegas Bowl II for Utah State, the inaugural Las Vegas Bowl Hall of Fame inductee, the all-time professional football passing yards leader (78,494 and counting for the Montreal Alouettes), the only Las Vegas Bowl veteran to have his likeness put on a postage stamp (Canada Post, commemorating the 2012 Grey Cup).
is for D.J. Harper, who leads Boise State with 1,065 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns. D also is for defense, because it wins championships.
is for ESPN, which owns the Las Vegas Bowl, which decides who plays where and at what time. Sorry, bowl game committee members who would have preferred Arizona (shorter drive) to Washington.
is for familiar face. This is Boise State's fourth appearance in Las Vegas - three Las Vegas Bowls, 2011 Mountain West game vs. UNLV - in the past 25 months.
is for good competition. Washington played five teams that were ranked among the top 11 at the time. The Huskies lost to then-No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Louisiana State and No. 11 Southern California; they beat No. 7 Oregon State and No. 8 Stanford.
is for he could go all the way. Three touchdowns of 98 yards or longer were scored in Boise State's 56-24 win over Arizona State in Las Vegas Bowl XX last year.
is for Las Vegas Bowl I. Bowling Green edged UNR in a 35-34 thriller voted one of the best bowl games of the season by the Los Angeles Times and ESPN. And that was before ESPN owned the Las Vegas Bowl.
is for Jason Thomas, who led UNLV to a 31-14 win against heavily favored Arkansas in Las Vegas Bowl IX, the last time the Rebels were bowl eligible. No, UNLV did not wear leather helmets.
is for Katie Hnida, the New Mexico kicker who became the first woman to appear in a bowl game when her extra-point attempt against UCLA was blocked in Las Vegas Bowl XI on Christmas Day 2002.
is for lockdown. Chris Petersen runs a tight ship at Boise State, and that means no interviews with the Broncos during Las Vegas Bowl week, unless you have a hall pass and a note from your doctor or Kirk Herbstreit.
is for Moore, Kellen, the Heisman Trophy finalist with the toothy smile who quarterbacked Boise State in the past two Las Vegas Bowls. M also is for Moore, Kirby - Kellen's brother - who has completed 0 passes in 1 attempt this season but has caught 36 as a wide receiver.
is for national ranking. No. 10 Boise State was the highest-ranked team to play in a Las Vegas Bowl when it defeated Arizona State 56-24 last year in the most-watched ESPN Regional bowl game telecast of all time.
is for overtime. Toledo and UNR played the first overtime game in NCAA Division I-A football history in Las Vegas Bowl IV. O also is for offense, which wins championships when defenses are lousy.
is for preview. Boise State and Washington have played just once before but will start a home-and-home series beginning in 2013 when the Broncos open the season at renovated Husky Stadium.
is for a quick-hitting attack. Sure hope Washington has one, because we're plumb out of Qs.
is for record-tying all-time bowl game performance. Oregon State's Steven Jackson, a Las Vegas native, rushed for five touchdowns in the Beavers' 55-14 victory over New Mexico in Las Vegas Bowl XII on Christmas Eve 2003.
is for sunshine. This will be the first Las Vegas Bowl played during the day in a decade. Gametime forecast: partly sunny skies, high of 55 degrees.
is for Tjong-A-Tjoe. Boise State defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe has made 35 tackles this year, and, I am fairly certain, is the only native of the Netherlands to play in the Las Vegas Bowl.
is for Utah and upset, which the Utes did to Carson Palmer and Southern California in Las Vegas Bowl X.
is for victorious, which is how UNLV emerged from Las Vegas Bowls III and IX.
is for winningest active coach in the NCAA. Boise State's Chris Petersen has coached the Broncos to an 83-8 record in eight seasons for a winning percentage of .912. But no, he's not interested in the Wisconsin job.
is (sort of) for extra bleachers. Temporary end zone bleachers were needed to accommodate a throng of 44,615 - the largest crowd to attend a team sporting event in Nevada history - for Brigham Young's 38-8 victory over Oregon in the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl.
is for "The Y," the big letter on Brigham Young's helmets. Y? Because the Cougars travel well, that's Y. Each of the five consecutive Las Vegas Bowls in which the Cougars played was a sellout.
is for Zeger, Evan, a Bishop Gorman product listed in the Washington media guide as a redshirt freshman linebacker. That's good enough when you get down to Z.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.