One-half of a desirable Christmas Eve matchup is set.
Brigham Young, Hawaii’s longtime football rival, accepted on Saturday an invitation to play in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24, UH and the Hawaii Bowl announced.
“On behalf of ESPN Events and the SoFi Hawaiʻi Bowl Executive Committee, we are very excited to offer BYU their first opportunity to play in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl,” Daryl Garvin, Hawaii Bowl executive director, said in a release. “BYU has played some memorable games in Aloha Stadium and we look forward to welcoming the Cougars and their fans to Honolulu.”
Kalani Sitake’s Division I Independent Cougars (6-4) gained bowl eligibility today with a 42-10 win over Idaho State. Their other wins have been against Tennessee, USC, Boise State, Utah State and Liberty. Their losses have come against Utah, Washington, Toledo and South Florida.
BYU still has games at Massachusetts and at San Diego State to conclude its regular season.
“We are looking forward to playing in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl,” Sitake said in the release. “I’m really proud of our players and pleased they have earned this opportunity to continue to improve as a program and have one more game together with our seniors. Hawaii is a wonderful place and dear to my heart. I’m excited to take our team to the Islands to experience the warmth of the culture and the Aloha Spirit.”
The Cougars have only appeared in the islands for a bowl game one time — the 1992 Aloha Bowl against Kansas on Christmas Day.
UH (6-4) needs one more win to attain bowl eligibility with its 13-game regular season. A win at UNLV on Saturday would clinch a bowl berth.
UPDATE: UH defeated UNLV 21-7 on Saturday, earning bowl eligibility with its 7-4 record. However, the Rainbow Warriors have not announced that they’ve accepted a Hawaii Bowl bid as they are still in the running for a Mountain West championship and a possible appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl.
UH has not defeated BYU since 2001. The Cougars have won five straight in the series, including a 49-23 win in Provo, Utah, last year.