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UTEP set for 2005 opener.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Oregon will open next season against Texas-El Paso on Sept. 3 at Autzen Stadium after the Ducks and Miners concluded contract negotiations this week to set up the game.

The visit by the Miners replaces what had been Oregon's scheduled opener against Nevada-Las Vegas, which asked for and was given a release from its contract to play the Ducks.

The Miners offer an intriguing challenge for the Ducks in an opener. UTEP is 8-2 in its first season under former Washington State coach Mike Price, with a final game Saturday against Tulsa. UTEP's only defeats this season were to Arizona State and Boise State, and to celebrate the rare bowl game that the team has clinched, the school's first since 2000, Price showed up for his weekly session with the media clad in bowling shirt and shoes, and carrying a bowling ball.

Oregon may also have to make one other change on its schedule next season, with Indiana known to be attempting to either postpone to another year or cancel the visit by the Ducks to Bloomington, currently slated for Sept. 10. Oregon's other non-league game for next season is against Fresno State, at Autzen Stadium on Sept. 17.

Oregon has also recently reached an agreement for two games against Boise State, in Eugene for the season opener to the 2008 season and at Boise in 2010.

The Ducks still have what appears to be a gap on their 2006 schedule, but that should be filled if the NCAA, as expected, approves a 12-game schedule on a permanent basis beginning with that season.

If that expanded schedule goes through at the NCAA's convention in January, Oklahoma has indicated to the Ducks that it will play in Eugene in '06, at a date to be determined, rather than the planned 2008 return game for Oregon's trip to Norman this past season. The Sooners already had 11 games scheduled for 2006, with their eight games against Big 12 opponents and three nonconference games.

Oregon's other nonconference games in 2006 in addition to the Sooners would be a game at Fresno State and against Utah State in Autzen Stadium.

The other nine games in that expanded season will presumably be Pac-10 opponents, because conference directors of athletics have previously voted to play a nine-game league schedule if the total schedule was expanded to 12 games.

Oregon is not scheduled to play UCLA next season or in 2006 and the Ducks would miss Arizona in 2007 and 2008 followed by two more seasons of missing UCLA in '09 and '10.

Adding that ninth Pac-10 game is likely to cause some shuffling of the current schedules, both to balance home and road games and work around conflicts with nonconference games.

Even if the Ducks add a ninth conference game, Oregon still needs a nonconference game in 2007, when the Ducks are currently scheduled to play at Michigan and again host Fresno State.

UO 2005 SCHEDULE

Sept. 3 Texas-El Paso

Sept. 10 at Indiana

Sept. 17 Fresno State

Sept. 24 USC

Oct. 1 at Stanford

Oct. 8 at Arizona State

Oct. 15 Washington

Oct. 22 at Arizona

Nov. 5 California

Nov. 12 at Wash. St.

Nov. 19 Oregon State
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Title Annotation:Sports; Mike Price and Miners are due for Sept. 3 appearance in Autzen
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 25, 2004
Words:536
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