UCLA, North Carolina, to be the first football game to be played at Petco Park

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – UCLA will face North Carolina State in the Holiday Bowl on December 28, the first soccer game to be played at Petco Park, organizers said on Sunday.

The Holiday Bowl gets the third pick among the Pac-12 Conference teams, with the Rose Bowl getting the conference champion and the Alamo Bowl getting the second pick. The Holiday Bowl is one of a group with the Cheez-It Bowl and Gator Bowl having the top picks among the Atlantic Coast Conference teams after the six New Year’s Bowls.

This will be the first time that a CCA team has participated in the Holiday Bowl. Under an agreement announced in 2019, the ACC will provide a squad for the game until at least 2025. The agreement was scheduled to begin with the 2020 game, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

UCLA will play in the game for the second time. The Bruins lost to Baylor, 49-26, in the 2012 game.

UCLA (8-4) will enter the Holiday Bowl on a three-game winning streak. The Bruins will make their first bowl appearance since 2017, when they lost to Kansas State, 35-17, in the Cactus Bowl.

North Carolina State (9-3) has won four of its last five games. The Wolfpack was 18th in the Associated Press poll released Sunday, three places up from the week before. UCLA is unrated.

The game will be played at Petco Park under an amendment to a joint deal with the San Diego Padres approved by city council in July, overturning a previous ban on football at the downtown baseball stadium.

The Padres announced a partnership with the San Diego Bowl Game Association in July allowing the Holiday Bowl to be played at Petco Park for at least the next five years, starting this year, subject to city council approval.

The sale of SDCCU Stadium – where the Holiday Bowl had been played since its inaugural edition in 1978 to 2019 – to San Diego State University in 2020, and its demolition to make way for a West Campus and Aztec Stadium, have left the bowl game homeless.

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