It is bowl announcement day in college football and the UTEP Miners are returning to the postseason for the first time since 2010. As expected, UTEP will return to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and play Utah State from the Mountain West Conference. The Aggies finished the regular season with a 9-4 record, including a 6-2 mark in conference. “We’re excited to be in the New Mexico Bowl and we’re going to work our hardest to make the El Paso fans happy,” said UTEP coach Sean Kugler. The Miners finished the regular season with a 7-5 record and hope to win their first bowl game since 1967. For UTEP, This will be the 14th bowl game in program history. The game will be broadcast live on Team 600 ESPN El Paso.

The Miners team hotel is the Albuquerque Marriott, 2101 Louisiana Boulevard in Albuquerque (phone 505-881-6800). There will be a UTEP Alumni Association hospitality welcome table at the hotel on Friday, Dec. 19 from 12-4 p.m.

The following bowl events are open to the public:

- Pep Rally/Battle of the Bands, Friday, Dec. 19, 4:15-5 p.m., Old Town Plaza

- UTEP vs. Arizona basketball watch party, Friday, Dec. 19, 9 p.m., Uptown Sports Bar, 6601 Uptown Blvd. NE

- Fan Fest, Saturday, Dec. 20, 9 a.m., North Parking Lot at University Stadium

- UTEP Alumni Association Tailgate Party, 9:30-11:45 a.m., North Parking Lot at University Stadium – food, fun and giveaways with appearances from the UTEP marching band, cheerleaders and Paydirt Pete

Steve Kaplowitz.
Steve Kaplowitz.

The UTEP Alumni Association is offering the following travel packages (full-size luxury touring motor coach with all amenities). Please visit or call (915) 747-8600 for more information. Travel packages will also be sold at the Haskins Center South and East concourses on Monday (Dec. 8) when the Miner men’s basketball team faces Incarnate Word.

Alumni Association Member Travel Package
Bus transportation + tailgate party ticket + football ticket = $90

Non-Member Travel Package
Bus transportation + tailgate party ticket + football ticket = $100

Tailgate Party and Football Game Package
Tailgate party ticket + football game ticket = $60

Tailgate Party Only
Tailgate party ticket = $20

Getty Images.
Getty Images.

Meanwhile, the 81st edition of the Hyundai Sun Bowl will feature the Arizona State Sun Devils (9-3) from the Pac-12 conference against the Duke Blue Devils (9-3) from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hyundai Sun Bowl had a 25% chance to get Notre Dame back to El Paso, but the Fighting Irish were awarded to the Music City Bowl, where they will play LSU. The Sun Devils are ranked 15th in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, while the Blue Devils are ranked 30th by the Associated Press.

“When we started off today, I thought there was no way in the world that we would get two 9-3 teams,” said John Folmer, Chairman of the Hyundai Sun Bowl Football Committee. “Now we have two 9-3 teams, Duke and Arizona State. This is a blessing and it’s a good thing for El Paso."

Both head coaches are excited about the opportunity to play in El Paso. “To be selected to participate in the Sun Bowl is both a privilege and honor for our program,” Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe said. “The tradition of the Sun Bowl is well documented, and it is exciting to become a part of that prestigious history. “This is a great opportunity for us to compete against a top-notch program and close out the 2014 season on a high note,” Arizona State Head Coach Todd Graham said. “We look forward to representing our university in El Paso with character, class and dignity.”

The 81st Hyundai Sun Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 27 at noon (MST). CBS Sports will broadcast the game for the 47th consecutive year, which is the longest running partnership between a network and a bowl game. Ticket prices for the game are $22, $32, $47, $57 and $62. Tickets can be purchased at the Sun Bowl Association office (915-533-4416, 800-915-BOWL or email), online at or at any TicketMaster outlet.

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