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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 19, 2001

It's a good year for a bowl here

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

Caught your breath yet from Saturday's University of Hawai'i-Miami (Ohio) football game?

Then, imagine the Warriors doing it all over again against quarterback Jason Gesser and Washington State, last team with the ball wins.

Picture the Warriors in a rematch with Carson Palmer and Southern Cal and the homecoming of Trojan offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

How about UH against Stanford?

Unfortunately, because of the demise of the Aloha Bowl, that is all they figure to be, bowl game matchups that could have been.

It is weeks like this, after the Warriors have achieved bowl-eligible status but with no apparent place to go, that the loss of the Aloha Bowl hits home with the force of a Nate Jackson tackle.

As Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson solemnly put it yesterday, "the loss of the Hawai'i bowls has come to haunt us."

Or, as UH head coach June Jones says, "We should have our own bowl game. I think Evan (Dobelle, UH President) feels that way and so does Hugh (Yoshida, UH athletic director)."

Until the Aloha Bowl was left to expire before an NCAA committee in September following the move of the O'ahu Bowl to Seattle, the Warriors had a handshake agreement that earned them a place in the postseason as long as they won seven games or more.

Saturday's 52-51 track meet at Aloha Stadium made the 7-3 Warriors bowl eligible, and, with two games remaining, gave them a shot at a 9-3 finish. Coupled with what had been the Aloha Bowl's tie-in to send the fourth- or fifth-place Pac-10 team, it would have guaranteed a good matchup and made everybody happy.

Aloha Sports Inc., owner of the 18-year-old Aloha Bowl, could have had a winner at the box office. The Warriors would have had a postseason stage and the state would have had a four-hour prime time network television window on Christmas Day.

Shipping off the O'ahu Bowl made sense since back-to-back bowl games here was a concept that would no longer work. But with a TV contract and sponsor still in place, the Aloha Bowl still could have worked here. After efforts to move the Aloha Bowl to San Francisco, Anaheim, Calif., and Columbia, S.C., proved unsuccessful, keeping the Aloha Bowl in Hawai'i would have paid off.

Now it behooves UH, the WAC and whatever other backers that can be rounded up to fill the void for the future so that the Warriors don't find themselves in this position again.