ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Six years ago, New Mexico's football team was at one of the lowest points in its history with a dismal 1-11 record.
UTSA was just about to start its football program.
On Dec. 17, the two schools with rising programs will kick off the college postseason in the New Mexico Bowl following painful years of losing and long efforts to build competitive teams.
At a New Mexico Bowl news conference, first-year UTSA head coach Frank Wilson said it's an honor to lead the Roadrunners in the school's first ever bowl appearance.
''This is history for our program,'' Wilson said. ''No matter what happens, this will always be the first time for us.''
UTSA (6-6) won five of its last eight games to become bowl eligible for the first time in the program's six-year history.
When Wilson took over the Roadrunners, he didn't make promises on when UTSA would make it to a bowl. ''I said we'd make it whenever we're good enough,'' Wilson said.
And now that UTSA is in a bowl, Wilson said watch out for the team's exciting offense and speed. ''We vary game to game based on what we need to do to win the football game,'' he said.
Meanwhile, the Lobos (8-4) shared the Mountain West's Mountain Division title and are in a bowl for the second year in a row following years of losing records.
New Mexico head coach Bob Davie said he was happy to play in back-to-back New Mexico Bowls.
''You know, you have to take advantage of the momentum,'' said Davie, the former Notre Dame coach who took over the struggling New Mexico program in 2012.
He said New Mexico and UTSA have traveled similar paths in recent years to get to this point.
UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey said it was fitting for her school to play Davie and New Mexico in its first ever bowl. That's because when Hickey was building the football program, she sought Davie's advice while he was a college football analyst for ESPN and ABC.
Did UTSA ever offer Davie the head coaching job before he came to New Mexico?
''I think that was probably something that's in the past and there's no reason to get that specific,'' Davie said. ''It's been a long journey. I have tremendous respect for them.''
Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/russell-contreras .