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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 27, 2006

UCLA or Arizona St. are bowl's top choices

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl hopes to know by the end of the week who it will match against the University of Hawai'i football team in the Dec. 24 game at Aloha Stadium.

According to Pac-10 and industry officials, the most likely scenario sends either UCLA or Arizona State to represent the conference against the nationally ranked Warriors. UH, which represents the Western Athletic Conference, is 10-2 with one regular-season game remaining.

UCLA, 6-5 with a game against Southern California Saturday, looms as the most likely choice unless the Bruins upset USC.

The Hawai'i Bowl likes the combination of UCLA's tradition, its name recognition, alumni base, geographical proximity and large television market.

ASU (7-5) has a better record but lacks UCLA's pluses and becomes a marketing liability having fired its coach, Dirk Koetter, yesterday.

By contract, the Hawai'i Bowl gets the sixth choice among bowl-eligible Pac-10 teams after the Rose Bowl, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas and Emerald bowls. The Pac-10 will have eight bowl-eligible teams, including Washington State (6-6) and Arizona (6-6), who might be left out of the postseason.

This is the first time the five-year-old Hawai'i Bowl has a Pac-10 tie-in. Previously it had taken a representative from Conference USA.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com.