WAC-ky bowl scenario if UH wins
By Ferd Lewis
The WAC is rooting for the University of Hawai'i football team tomorrow against Wisconsin.
Well, most of it, anyway.
It would be a point of pride for their WAC brethren if the Warriors could knock off the Big Ten Badgers. Pride and a padding of the wallet, of course.
Especially since it is not lost on the number-crunching athletic directors that there would be a cost saving of about $83,000 per school if the WAC doesn't have to fly somebody else here to represent it in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.
The precautionary charter flight from San Francisco that officials say the WAC put a deposit on last month wouldn't be necessary if the Warriors knock off the Badgers and earn the WAC berth in the Dec. 24 game. And, with the interest in a pairing of UH against its ex-coach June Jones, and Southern Methodist there could be some extra money flowing into WAC coffers.
But even then you might not hear a unanimous chorus of "Geev 'em Warriors!" from the WAC choir tomorrow.
Not when a UH victory could cost Nevada a trip here. Not when Boise State might like to have the Hawai'i Bowl as a consolation prize in case it doesn't crack the Bowl Championship Series. And not when there is a possibility one of the WAC teams could still get left out.
The WAC bowl picture is complicated and a Warrior loss could ease some anxiety. The WAC already has four bowl-eligible teams: Boise State (12-0), Nevada (8-4), Fresno (7-4) and Idaho (7-5) and the possibility of UH (currently 6-6) being No. 5. It has three guaranteed bowls and prospects for, maybe, five spots altogether.
The top two teams are guaranteed berths in two of the WAC's three bowls (Humanitarian, New Mexico and Hawai'i). UH is an automatic pick for the Hawai'i Bowl, if bowl eligible.
Nevada is the most likely replacement for UH here with Fresno State likely headed to New Mexico and Idaho to the Humanitarian — unless champion Boise State gets left out of the BCS and pulls rank. For the Broncos a week in Waikíkí might salve the disappointment more than, say, a stay in Albuquerque, N.M. or Mobile, Ala.
Nevada thought it dealt UH a crippling blow — and enhanced its own Hawai'i Bowl possibilities — with a 31-21 victory on Halloween. But the Warriors might just get the last laugh.