As Fiesta Bowl home team, OU had the option of hotel and practice site. The Sooners, who in their two most recent Fiesta Bowls lodged at the Fairmont Princess Resort and practiced at Pinnacle High School, are changing up.
OU will practice at Scottsdale Community College and are staying at the Scottsdale Plaza.
â€œObviously, the last time out here, it wasn't the most positiveâ€ result, coach Bob Stoops said. â€œSo we switched most things that we were able to.â€
Connecticut has played in four bowl games the previous six years, but the Motor City, Meineke Car Care, International and Papajohns.com bowls don't compare with the Fiesta.
UConn's arrival Sunday at Sky Harbor Airport was met with a few hundred cheering Fiesta volunteers, and coach Randy Edsall conducted an immediate press conference.
â€œJust getting off the plane, this (welcome) hasn't happened before,â€ Edsall said. â€œWe haven't been to a bowl where we've gotten off and it's been this warm. You know, sometimes you pinch yourself.â€
The high temperature in Norman on Sunday was 34 degrees. But the highs Sunday in Connecticut were in the 20s, with snow and an on-coming blizzard.
â€œWe just left 25 degree weather, and we're supposed to have a nor'eastern coming in with about six to 12 inchesâ€ of snow, said Edsall. â€œBeing out here, this is great.â€
SOONERS IN GOOD SHAPE
Stoops said the Sooners arrived in Arizona in good health â€” and in good academic standings. Stoops said no one is academically ineligible and only tailback Roy Finch (stress fracture) is expected to miss the game.
UCONN EXPECTS FEW CHANGES
OU will unveil a new offensive coordinator, Josh Heupel, in the Fiesta Bowl, but Edsall said the Huskies don't expect much change.
â€œI doubt that it's going to change anything they do,â€ Edsall said. â€œIt's not like they brought somebody in from the outside to put in a whole new system.
â€œKevin (Wilson, headed to Indiana) I know is still around there and working. There's going to be wrinkles that are going to be put in, I'm sure, just like everybody puts in for a new game. I don't think the structure of what they're doing ... is going to change.â€
BCS BOWL BLUES
The Sooners have lost five straight BCS bowl games. Is that good or bad for Connecticut?
â€œWe know that they're hearing all those things that everybody's saying, and we know that we're going to get their best effort,â€ Edsall said. â€œWe just have to make sure that we give our best effort and play the type of football that we've been playing.â€
Retired Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and his family will be grand marshals of the Fiesta Bowl Parade on New Year's Eve. Warner will participate in the Fiesta Bowl coin toss. ... Fiesta Bowl executive director John Junker has been on staff for 31 years, but he also worked OU's 41-7 victory over Wyoming in the 1976 Fiesta, as an Arizona State student. ... University of Phoenix Stadium is a natural-grass facility, despite its retractable roof.
Edsall: â€œIt's a tremendous opportunity for us. For our program to be only seven years in the Big East and only nine years as a FBS school, to get here this quickly, and to be our first BCS game and to play in the Fiesta Bowl, this is a dream come true. It's something that our young men have dreamed about since they started playing this game.â€