"I got a little bit nervous right before the announcement because nobody knew," Rodriguez said. "I had talked to Greg Byrne a couple times about it and we had heard that might happen, but nobody knew.
"I had a little bit of butterflies right before they announced it and when they flashed it up there I was excited, excited for our players really."
Despite being blown out against Oregon, Rodriguez had a feeling that the Wildcats would get into one of the bigger bowls.
"I had a feeling after we won the South it could happen, but you don’t know," he said. "There’s a lot of things that can happen with the games on Friday and Saturday.
"It was disappointing how we played so poorly, but we have enough time to get over that and get ready for the next one."
It should be easier to get over the last lost due to the fact that Arizona is going to the Fiesta Bowl as opposed to a smaller one.
"I would hope so," Rodriguez said. "I told the team after we beat ASU that I know we’re going to be in a really good bowl game and we happen to be in a great bowl game, so hopefully that is motivating for our guys.
"I know it is motivating for the staff. We’re in a busy time right now because we have a week of recruiting and our players have finals, but we are going to reconvene on Thursday and probably start practice Friday or Saturday and do the best we can to play well."
With Arizona being in an in-state bowl game, Rodriguez is hoping that the Wildcats will have a home field advantage of sorts.
"I’m hoping we’re going to have an advantage with fans," he said. "It’s certainly going to be a lot more convenient. We have a lot of fans up in the Valley and a lot of alumni and certainly everybody here in Tucson can hopefully get up there.
"It’s going to be nice for our players’ families too to be able to hopefully get down there to Arizona. More importantly for us, it is a chance to be on the national stage and try to play a really good football game against a really good team."
Rodriguez has never coached a team in the Fiesta Bowl. West Virginia made it the year he left to Michigan, but Rodriguez did not stay to coach in the game.
"Any player in the state of Arizona wants to be able to play in this venue in the Fiesta Bowl. which is one of the great traditional bowls," Rodriguez said.
"I didn’t get a chance when I was the coach at West Virginia to coach in it. Some of my staff did, but I had already left, so this is an opportunity to go back to it."