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Rivalries set to determine bowl berths.

Byline: BOB CLARK The Register-Guard

Oregon and Oregon State moved closer to being assured of a bowl berth Monday without even playing a game, but the winner when they meet Saturday will definitely be in a better position for the postseason.

The loser, in fact, may have to do some scrambling for a berth.

Because California's appeal of a bowl ban for this season was rejected by the NCAA, the Pac-10 has only seven teams that can be eligible for bowls, and the league has six contracted berths. Six conference teams are assured of a winning season to be bowl-eligible, and Washington could become the seventh team with seven or more wins, but only by upsetting third-ranked Washington State on Saturday.

That's the first if on the bowl status of the Beavers and Ducks, because Washington is currently 6-5, and teams that finish 6-6 can play in a bowl game only if it is to fulfill a contract of its conference, and if all other members of the conference with winning records are already slotted into bowls. Both Oregon and OSU are 7-4 overall, and thus would have to play in a bowl before a 6-6 Washington

The next if revolves around whether there will be a Silicon Valley Classic, which has contracted with the Pac-10 for the league's sixth team.

The game, scheduled to be played Dec. 31 in San Jose, Calif., remains in some question because it hasn't presented a required $1.5 million bank letter of credit to the NCAA, which was due Nov. 1, to assure it will pay participants.

The Silicon Valley Classic signed an agreement last week to be televised on ESPN2, which organizers said would help it secure corporate sponsorship for its third game. Without that sponsorship, and subsequent financial support, there is the possibility the NCAA could pull its approval for this season.

Pac-10 officials have been monitoring the status of the Silicon Valley Classic because of the obvious concern of potential participants.

`We've been told not to worry, that it's going to come off,' UO director of athletics Bill Moos said. `I've been led to believe that they're fine, they're solid. And then we have that Seattle Bowl situation hanging out there anyway.'

The Seattle Bowl, slated for Dec. 30 at Seahawks Stadium, is slated to match a team from the Mountain West Conference against a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference, but there remains a question whether the Mountain West will have four bowl-eligible teams to fill its four contracted berths.

The Mountain West currently has Colorado State and Air Force bowl-eligible, but those would fill the conference's first two berths, in the Liberty Bowl and Las Vegas Bowl, leaving the San Francisco Bowl and Seattle Bowl needing a team.

Both New Mexico, 6-5 with games left against Colorado State and Wyoming, and BYU, 5-6 with Utah remaining, need another win to be bowl-eligible, and the San Francisco Bowl gets a Mountain West team before the Seattle Bowl.

The Pac-10 sent a contract to Seattle Bowl officials last week, offering to fill a berth if the Mountain West can't do it.

The contract is needed because it would allow a 6-6 team - read that Washington - to play in a bowl.

Should the Huskies beat WSU, however, they would move ahead of the Civil War loser in the Pac-10 standings and join what could be a deadlock of teams at 4-4 in the Pac-10 standings.

UCLA is currently 4-2 in conference games, but has top-10 opponents USC and Washington State left to play, while Arizona State is 4-3 with Arizona remaining. The Beavers, Ducks and Huskies are all 3-4.

Could it be Oregon or Oregon State playing in the Seattle Bowl? Possibly.

`Our fans ... would go to Seattle en masse, as close as it is,' Moos said. `That would be a nice situation for us if that's how it ended up.'

The Pac-10 agreements with each of its bowls require teams to be placed in order of finish, unless there is a tie, which then affords the bowl the opportunity to choose from among the tied teams.

The Pac-10 placement for teams is champion to the Rose Bowl - unless it is ranked first or second in the nation and plays for the national title in the Fiesta Bowl - with the second team to the Holiday Bowl, third to the Sun Bowl, fourth to the Insight Bowl, fifth to the Las Vegas Bowl and sixth to the Silicon Valley Classic.

All of those places could slide up a spot if the Pac-10 put two WSU and USC into Bowl Championship Series games, but it seems unlikely at this point.


ONE OF THREE: UO kicker Jared Siegel has been named as one of three finalists for the Groza Award, given to the nation's top place-kicker. The other finalists are Iowa's Nate Kaeding and Ohio State's Mike Nugent.

The winner will be named Dec. 10 at a ceremony in West Palm Beach, Fla., and will then participate in the College Football Awards show on Dec. 12 in Orlando, Fla.

Siegel has made 18-of-21 field goals this season, including a school-record 59-yard kick against UCLA. He also set a school record by making 15 consecutive field goals. Nugent made his first 23 field-goal attempts of the season, within two of the NCAA record, and is 24-of-26 for the Buckeyes. Kaeding completed his season with the Hawkeyes by making 20-of-22 and scored an Iowa-record 115 points.

TICKETS FOR SALE: A limited number of tickets for Saturday's game against Oregon State will go on sale today at 9 a.m., either in person at the Casanova Center ticket office or by telephone at 346-4461. The cost is $50 per ticket, and sale is limited to contributors to the Duck Athletic Fund.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Oregon State at 12:30 p.m. TV: No live telecast currently scheduled; delayed on Oregon Sports Network at 11:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Network.

LOOKING BACK ... NOV. 19, 1994

THE SITE: Parker Stadium

THE SCORE: Oregon 17, Oregon State 13

THE STORY: Quarterback Danny O'Neil led Oregon 70 yards for the go-ahead score in the last five minutes of the game as the Ducks earned their first Rose Bowl berth since they played in Pasadena in 1958. A 19-yard pass from O'Neil to Dino Philyaw - Philyaw's second TD catch of the day - put Oregon ahead, and the Ducks stopped the Beavers with 34 seconds to play on the UO 21-yard line. Chris Cross recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for Oregon State, and quarterback Don Shanklin's 1-yard run gave OSU a 13-10 lead in the third quarter.

- The Register-Guard
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Title Annotation:Postseason: Civil War and Apple Cup are key factors in the Pac-10 equation.; Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 19, 2002
Previous Article:Anderson struggles after early success.
Next Article:Playoff lineup features two top rematches.

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