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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Pac-10 tops UH's bowl wish list

By (Ukjent person)
Advertiser Columnist

The University of Hawai'i football team last lined up against UCLA in 1939, back in the days of leather helmets.

It hasn't hooked up with Stanford since 1972 or Washington since 1973.

But this year, with a little luck, who knows, one of those streaks could end for the Warriors.

Indeed, this season you don't have to be an alum or fan of one of the Pac-10 schools to have a rooting interest in their standings. Being a UH fan is good enough.

If the Warriors emerge bowl eligible as they should meaning at least seven wins in their 13 regular season games chances are they'll be meeting a Pac-10 opponent in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl come Christmas Eve afternoon.

A new wrinkle in the Hawai'i Bowl's conference agreements allows it to take a Pac-10 representative this year, if there are enough bowl-eligible teams. The magic number is six as in the Hawai'i Bowl having the sixth pick of bowl-eligible Pac-10 teams after the Rose, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas and Emerald bowls.

The caveat here is that with the expansion of the Bowl Championship Series, a conference could land two teams in the mix, reducing the available pool.

But barring that, if the Pac-10 takes care of its non-conference business and the Warriors hold up their end in and out of conference, there should be an opponent they can actually identify with waiting for them in the post season.

No more playing guess-your-opponent's nickname, as was the case with Alabama-Birmingham in the 2004 Hawai'i Bowl. Or, name-that-quarterback and coach as has almost annually been the case.

For all that Conference USA brought to the bowl as a participant and sponsor, name recognition and familiarity weren't two of the biggest assets. Central Florida and Houston alumni weren't exactly plentiful in the stands, either.

But that would change instantly if, say, UCLA or Washington found its way to Aloha Stadium. The Pac-10 media poll (below) suggests quite a few possibilities could be in play. Other than Oregon State, UH's Dec. 2 regular-season-ending opponent, playing back-to-back games against the Warriors, that is.

For decades the Warriors have been trying to secure some of the more elusive Pac-10 teams for their schedule. This could be the year they finally get one of them.

PICKING THE PAC-10

PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

1. USC

2. California

3. Oregon

4. Arizona State

5. UCLA

6. Arizona

7. Oregon State

8. Washington State

9. Stanford

10. Washington

Source: Pac-10

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8044.