Miami and Arizona, a pair of 9-2 teams knocked down in the rankings by late-season upsets, hope victory in the Fiesta Bowl will give them momentum heading into the 1994 season.
The 10th-ranked Hurricanes have 14 consecutive winning seasons and national titles in 1983, 1987, 1989 and 1991. The No. 16 Wildcats are playing on New Year's Day for the first time since the 1949 Salad Bowl."Our guys feel like this is an opportunity for them to take the next step," Arizona coach Dick Tomey said.
The Wildcats credit their 8-7 loss last year at Miami with starting a renaissance which carried them from 4-7 in 1991 to their first 9-win regular season since 1975.
Miami won when Wildcats kicker Steve McLaughlin missed a 51-yard field goal on the final play. Still, Miami lost the No. 1 ranking it had held since the previous season. Even though the Hurricanes got back to No. 1, a 34-13 loss to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl ended Miami's 29-game winning streak.
Arizona won seven straight before a 37-17 loss to UCLA. California beat the Wildcats 24-20 to prevent Arizona from winning its their first Pac-10 title.