In some ways, this is a do-over for UCLA.
The Bruins head to Texas (again) for a bowl game. They play Kansas State in the Valero Alamo Bowl and will be seeking a 10-win season (again).
UCLA finished the 2013 season with a 42-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. But the 2012 season did not end as well, with the Bruins routed by Baylor, 49-26.
"We had a terrible taste on our mouths after that," linebacker Eric Kendricks said. "We know what we have to do to avoid that this time and we're going to work hard to do it."
The Bruins ended the 2012 regular season with a loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game. This season, they lost to Stanford, 31-10, in the finale, which cost UCLA a spot in the conference title game.
"We have to show up because of that last loss, and the fashion that we lost it," Kendricks said. "We did get hit in the mouth versus Stanford. People questioned our physicality and all that. Now we have another physical test in Kansas State. They do similar things."
If the Bruins win, it will be Coach Jim Mora's second 10-win season. Terry Donahue is the only UCLA coach with more (three).
UCLA has had back-to-back 10-win seasons only twice in the program's history.
Second time around
Mora and Kansas State's Bill Snyder remember the Alamodome but had vastly different experiences on their last visits.
Snyder brought Kansas State to the Alamo Bowl game in 1998.
"I remember it was a very, very positive thing for us," Snyder said during a teleconference call Thursday. "I remember how well we were received and treated, not only by the bowl committee and people associated with the game, but the community itself."
Purdue wasn't as nice. The Boilermakers beat the Wildcats, 37-34.
Mora came to the Alamodome as the Atlanta Falcons' coach in 2005. The New Orleans Saints were forced to play their games in the stadium after Hurricane Katrina. The Falcons won, 34-31, after a Saints' penalty gave them a second chance on a game-winning field goal with no time left.