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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 13, 2006

Hawai'i Bowl has eye on UCLA

 •  Hawai'i defense gets more bad news

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Only the fans will come out and say it, but UCLA is at the top of the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl Christmas Eve wish list.

With a 25-7 victory over Oregon State, the Bruins are 5-5 and one game away from bowl eligibility with two games remaining in the constantly-shifting bowl landscape.

UCLA can put itself in position to play its first football game in Hawai'i since 1938 if the Bruins beat either Arizona State this week or USC on Dec. 2.

UCLA and Washington had been the bowl's most-eyed prospects until this past weekend when the Huskies were embarrassed by previously winless Stanford, 20-3. The loss dropped UW (4-7) out of bowl eligibility.

Jim Donovan, executive director of the Hawai'i Bowl, said "we've had interest from a number of Pac-10 schools and we look forward to having one of them in our game this year."

But an Advertiser on-line survey last week found a majority of fans responding wanted UCLA, with four times as many in favor of the Bruins as any other possibility listed.

The Hawai'i Bowl is contracted to receive the sixth-place Pac-10 team this year after four previous years of getting a Conference USA representative.

Six pac-10 teams are already bowl eligible: USC (8-1), California (8-2), Oregon (7-3), Oregon State (6-4), Washington State (6-5) and Arizona State (6-4).

UCLA and Arizona (5-5) each need at least one more win in their two remaining games to be bowl eligible. In the event of a tie in the standings, the bowl has the choice of which team to take.

The Pac-10 is contracted to send a representative to the Rose, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas and Emerald bowls.

SOUTHERN CAL BACK AT NO. 3 IN BCS STANDINGS

Southern California bounced back in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

The Trojans were in third place, right behind Ohio State and Michigan, in the standings released yesterday, returning to the spot they held before losing three weeks ago. Southern California had a slight lead over fourth-place Florida, and Notre Dame, unbeaten Rutgers and Arkansas also were close behind.

When first-place Ohio State (11-0) and second-place Michigan (11-0) play Saturday it will mark the latest in the regular season the top two teams in the BCS standings have met. The winner will virtually clinch a spot in the BCS title game on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.

USC was in the top three in the first two BCS standings with Ohio State and Michigan, and appeared in control of its destiny in the race to the national title game. Then the Trojans were upset at Oregon State, 33-31 on Oct. 28, and tumbled out of the top five.

But last week, four teams that were ahead of USC in the last BCS standings Louisville, Auburn, Texas and California lost.

Bolstered by a 35-10 victory over Oregon, the Trojans have rebounded with a BCS average of .8699. Florida's BCS average is .8495.

Boise State also took a significant step forward in the latest BCS standings. The undefeated Broncos moved up two spots to 12th place. They need to finish in the top 12 to earn automatic entry to the BCS, or a top 16 finish will do as long as they're ahead of one of the six conference champs with automatic bids.

The Broncos of the Western Athletic Conference would likely end up in the Fiesta Bowl playing the Big 12 champ if they can become the second team from outside the BCS conferences to play in the big-money bowls. Utah from the Mountain West Conference was the first in 2004.

ARKANSAS, RUTGERS ON MOVE IN AP POLL

Arkansas and Rutgers are on the rise. Florida and Southern California are practically even. And Ohio State and Michigan haven't budged from the top of The Associated Press Top 25.

Ohio State received all but one of the 65 first-place votes, with Michigan getting the other.

Florida is No. 3, just three points ahead of USC. No. 5 Arkansas moved up six spots and Notre Dame went up three spots to No. 6.

Unbeaten Rutgers is No. 7, the Scarlet Knights' first appearance in the top 10.

The University of Hawai'i received 39 points in the AP poll and is at No. 26. In the USA Today Coaches' Poll, the Warriors received 65 points and are at No. 27.