Ducks' future getting clearer.
Both bowl games that Oregon is in consideration to play in moved closer to NCAA certification Tuesday, which should ensure that the Ducks will have a postseason destination for a sixth consecutive season.
The Silicon Valley Classic, which by contract has rights to the sixth bowl-eligible team from the Pac-10, sent to the NCAA a `letter of intent' from a bank that the required letter of credit will be forthcoming this week.
`It's processing and everything looks good,' said Karin Mast, speaking for the Silicon Valley Classic. `We're thrilled to have that letter sent over.'
The Seattle Bowl, which has rights to the seventh Pac-10 bowl team, has also sent an intent letter that its letter of credit is on its way to the NCAA, later than planned but still ahead of an end-of-week deadline to ensure solvency, director Terry Daw said Tuesday.
About half of the 28 bowl games still must submit a letter of credit by the end of the week to keep NCAA certification, but all are expected to be cleared so that the games will be played. The Seattle Bowl and the Silicon Valley Classic were of special concern because they were late in sending in letters of intent, NCAA spokesman Dennis Poppe told The Associated Press.
``We've been assured by the lending institutions that they will have the letters of credit here,'' Poppe said. ``They just have to process them and get them to us by Friday.''
While the Silicon Valley Classic has the choice of a Pac-10 team before the Seattle Bowl, it seems more likely that Oregon will end up in the game at Seahawks Stadium on Dec. 30.
Jim Haugh, the president of the Seattle Bowl, said his bowl has `had some discussions' with the San Jose, Calif., game, scheduled for Dec. 31, about giving up its rights to a Pac-10 team to ensure that the Ducks would play in Seattle.
`We could either trade for (Oregon) or buy the rights,' Haugh said.
`I haven't heard anything about that,' Mast said. `I'd be surprised if we did that.'
Pac-10 spokesman Jim Muldoon said the Pac-10 wouldn't oppose such a trade. `If all parties are agreeable to it, we wouldn't balk,' Muldoon said. `If it's good for Oregon, we'd be OK with it.'
Nothing can be finalized on Pac-10 bowl berths until the final game of the regular season Saturday at the Rose Bowl, where Washington State plays UCLA.
`It's amazing how many (bowls) are hanging because of that game,' Muldoon said.
The Pac-10's No. 1 team goes to the Rose Bowl, and WSU, if it defeats UCLA, is that because it holds the tiebreaker over potential co-champion USC.
If the Cougars lose to UCLA, USC will earn the league's berth in the Rose Bowl and WSU will fall to the Holiday Bowl. If WSU does earn the Rose Bowl berth, it now seems likely that the Trojans, rather than play in the Holiday Bowl, will also earn a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game, either the Sugar Bowl or Orange Bowl.
USC is currently fourth in the BCS rankings, and the highest-ranked at-large team - if it is in the top four of the BCS poll - is guaranteed a berth in one of the four BCS games. The four BCS bowls pair champions of six leagues - Pac-10, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC and Big East - and two at-large teams.
If the Pac-10 puts two teams in BCS bowls, then the Holiday Bowl has a clause in its contract with the Pac-10 that allows it to select any of the league's other bowl-eligible teams, rather than follow the order of placing in the standings. While Arizona State, at 5-3, is third in the standings behind USC (7-1) and WSU (6-1), it is known that both Washington and Oregon State (each 4-4) have been lobbying for the Holiday Bowl berth if it is open.
The opponent in the Holiday Bowl is expected to be Kansas State, or Oklahoma if the Sooners lose the Big 12 title game Saturday to Colorado.
The Sun Bowl selects after the Holiday Bowl berth has been filled, and had been expected to take ASU, if WSU loses and is in the San Diego game. If the Sun Devils aren't available for the Dec. 31 game in El Paso, Texas, the Sun Bowl will choose between the Huskies and Beavers.
John Folmer, chairman of the Sun Bowl selection committee, said, `I'd like to see the Beavers, we've never had them before. But I only cast a vote in case of a tie' on the 10-member committee.
Folmer said two members of his committee `have been campaigning' for OSU, but there is also sentiment for the Huskies, and a larger television market in Seattle that appeals to CBS. The opposing team in the Sun Bowl will be Purdue (6-6), in a return trip for the Boilermakers.
The Insight Bowl, played Dec. 26 in Phoenix, picks after the Sun, and would also consider UCLA along with Washington and OSU. The other team in the Insight Bowl is Pittsburgh (8-4) of the Big East.
The fifth pick of Pac-10 teams belongs to the Las Vegas Bowl, played on Dec. 25. It would look at what's left from among the Beavers, Huskies and Bruins to play New Mexico (7-6) of the Mountain West.
Then the picking would presumably be done by the Silicon Valley Classic, to put a Pac-10 team up against Fresno State, 7-5 with a game left against Louisiana Tech on Thursday. Unless, of course, the San Jose game deals its rights to a Pac-10 team to the Seattle Bowl, which is desperate for a Northwest team to anchor the game at Seahawks Stadium.
While the Seattle Bowl hasn't issued an invitation, Georgia Tech (7-5) is in line as the ACC's team for the second straight year.
SEATTLE BOWL, Dec. 30, 2 p.m., Seahawks Stadium, ESPN
SILICON VALLEY BOWL, Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m., San Jose, Calif., Fox Sports
LAS VEGAS BOWL, Dec. 25, 1:30 p.m., Las Vegas, ESPN
INSIGHT BOWL, Dec. 26, 5:30 p.m., Tucson, Ariz., ESPN
HOLIDAY BOWL, Dec. 27, 5 p.m., San Diego, ESPN
SUN BOWL, Dec. 31, 11 a.m., El Paso, Texas, CBS
- The Register-Guard