LAS VEGAS — Today marks the long-awaited Las Vegas Bowl, featuring BYU and UCLA, a pair of teams that hardly ever meet. Which in the eyes of the bowl committee means they haven't played since, oh, Tuesday.

Truth is, they know one another like their class schedules. They already met once this year, on Sept. 13, with UCLA winning 27-17.

They also play again next year, which will make it three games in 13 months.

Still, in the interest of the reading public, I have taken the liberty of answering a number of commonly asked questions regarding the game and its teams. Forthwith is everything you've ever wanted to know about BYU and UCLA but were afraid to ask:

Q. Although BYU lost earlier this year to UCLA, can it beat the Bruins this time around?

A. UCLA lost to Notre Dame. Next question.

Q. Why have BYU and UCLA agreed to play so often?

A. Eastern Washington was booked.

Q. Was Bronco Mendenhall ever really a candidate for the job at UCLA?

A. Yes, but not as its football coach. As its director of religious studies.

Q. UCLA's oft-injured quarterback, Ben Olson, transferred from BYU. Could he have been a star if he'd stayed in Provo?

A. Yes, we understand Halestorm Entertainment was looking for a tall, athletic guy for the lead in "The Singles Ward IX."

Q. Who's the better quarterback, UCLA's Olson or BYU's Max Hall?

A. Olson. But it's really old film.

Q. Speaking of UCLA, at one time, BYU basketball coach Frank Arnold switched the Cougar uniforms to UCLA blue. Why?

A. Because he didn't think he could get away with Celtic green.

Q. Did ex-Bruin basketball coach Larry Brown actually once apply for a job at BYU?

A. Yes, but he had no chance — he didn't own any plain blue suits or wing tips.

Q. Why can't BYU do better than playing a 6-6, fourth-place UCLA in its bowl game?

A. For the same reason it has to play November games in Laramie, Wyo.

Q. Could Mendenhall's philosophy of honor, tradition and integrity earn him a job with a Big Ten or Big 12 team?

A. No, but it could earn him a spot as an LDS mission president in Honduras.

Q. The bowl game sold out months ago. Is BYU really that popular in Vegas?

A. Put it this way: Celine Dion can only dream of selling tickets that fast.

Q. Do BYU and UCLA share any similarities?

A. Actually, they do. BYU is sometimes considered among the least significant programs ever to produce a Heisman winner (Ty Detmer), while UCLA may have produced the least significant Heisman winner of all — Gary Beban.

Q. What famous alumni went to each school?

A. BYU has Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate, and Ken Jennings, who made $2.5 million answering trivia questions. UCLA, on the other hand, produced the answers to those trivia questions: Heather Locklear, Rob Reiner, Mark Harmon and Marilyn McCoo Davis.

Q. Is Las Vegas really like a second home to BYU?

A. Only if your home has velvet wallpaper, mirrors on the ceiling and an all-night buffet.

Q. Does the team get to do anything fun on bowl week, like, for instance, going to see the Blue Man Group?

A. No. BYU is the Blue Man Group.

Q. Is it true that for this year's Las Vegas Bowl there will be an end zone area with raised and heated La-Z-Boy seating, complimentary food and plasma TVs?

A. Yes, but isn't that a lot like the good seats at the LDS Conference Center?

Q. Is BYU honestly content to play its bowl games in Vegas?

A. If the alternative is Memphis, yes.

Q. Is there really much difference?

A. Just this: As far as Memphis goes, there was only one Elvis; in Vegas, there are thousands of 'em.


E-mail: [email protected]


E-mail: [email protected]