EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Much like it has been for the rest of the world, the last two years were anything but easy for the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.

The game was cancelled altogether in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then appeared to be on track to be normal in 2021 with Miami and Washington State slated to play.

However, just days before the game, Miami had to pull out due to a slough of COVID-19 cases, forcing the Sun Bowl to scramble and secure Central Michigan as a replacement team. CMU went on to beat Washington State in last year’s game.

Merely having the game at all in 2021 was seen as a win by the Sun Bowl committee. A year later, No. 18 UCLA and Pittsburgh have both arrived in El Paso for the game and have been going through their normal activities in the lead-up to the game.

Knock on wood if you want to, but with less than 48 hours to go until kickoff on the 89th Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, everything appears to be going as planned.

“It’s a great way to come out of the last two years to have a nationally-ranked team and another team that’s hot finishing the season on a four-game winning streak. I think it’s great,” said executive director Bernie Olivas. “We feel really good about it. To be here at practice and then go to the other team’s practice, it’s awesome. We couldn’t do that last year.”

Pitt and UCLA will kick off at noon on Dec. 30 in the 89th Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.