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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats’ bowl hopes appear to be unlikely

    The Arizona football team will be rooting for a pair of Sun Belt Conference cellar-dwellers Saturday.

    With the matchups for the Hawaii and Poinsettia bowls getting set yesterday, the Wildcats’ ever-dimming postseason hopes ride on 3-8 Louisiana-Monroe defeating Louisiana Lafayette and 0-11 Florida-International defeating Troy.

    If either underdog loses, its opponent will become 7-5 – and thereby be thrust into the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, which carries Arizona’s last available bowl bid.

    “”In terms of who we would be looking at if there are not 7-5 teams available, absolutely, of course,”” Motor City Bowl executive director Ken Hoffman said in a phone interview yesterday about whether the Wildcats would be considered for the Dec. 26 game. “”They’ve had a strong second half.””

    Arizona won three games in a row this month to become eligible for its first bowl game since 1998.

    Yet when the Wildcats lost 28-14 to ASU at home Saturday, they forfeited all control over their postseason destination – and, by extension, a likely meeting with Florida State in the Dec. 27 Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

    “”If Arizona had won that game, we’d be talking about Arizona coming to (our) bowl,”” Emerald Bowl executive Gary Cavalli said in a phone interview yesterday. “”When they lost, it kind of threw it up in the air.””

    The Sun Devils ended up being offered the remaining Hawaii Bowl bid after Cavalli and four other members of a selection committee opted late Monday night to have UCLA meet the Seminoles for what could be legendary FSU head coach Bobby Bowden’s final game.

    NCAA regulations typically prevent a potential 6-6 team like the Bruins, who would have that record if they lose to No. 2 USC Saturday, to be placed in a higher bowl game than a 7-5 team like ASU.

    But the Emerald Bowl could choose UCLA, who is 4-4 in the conference, because the school entered this week in sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-10, Cavalli said.

    The NCAA permitted the Emerald Bowl to offer a bid to the Bruins because the Sun Devils still had a conference-affiliated bowl-game slot available to them, he said.

    Hawaii Bowl executive director Jim Donovan said in a phone interview last night that he was ready to call Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood yesterday and offer the Wildcats a bid in his bowl if they, rather than the Sun Devils, had qualified at 7-5.

    After the Emerald Bowl took UCLA, however, Donovan said the Pac-10 office called and told him to contact ASU athletic director Lisa Love, who accepted the Hawaii Bowl bid at 2 p.m. yesterday.

    “”Arizona had a great season and finished really strong,”” Donovan said. “”I said that before, and I meant it. We weren’t choosing between three or four teams.””

    Cavalli said UCLA was chosen for the Emerald Bowl before Saturday because he wanted to have more time to advertise the game.

    Livengood and the UA football coaching staff were out of the office yesterday. They were not available for comment last night.

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