Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sun Bowl chair speaks about UConn

UConn's bowl scenario is pretty clear with a win -- it's either the Orange or Fiesta Bowl. Orange makes sense if Virginia Tech wins the ACC crown Saturday. If it's Florida State from the ACC, the Huskies might wind up at Fiesta Bowl. It'll come down to whether the guys in the orange sports jackets and plaid pants want a very good Stanford team (and it's apathetic fan base) that must travel across the country.

A loss to South Florida muddles things, and it depends on how the selections unfold. Will the Champs Bowl take Notre Dame? Will the Pinstripe Bowl go with Syracuse? (Yes. That will be announced shortly, sometime today). Will Louisville lobby for the Bowl Nobody Wants (formally known as the Beef O'Brady's Bowl) because its basketball team is playing Kentucky on New Year's Eve? Will UConn ask out of the beefarino bowl because its women's basketball team is playing at the exact same time against Florida State with a chance to win its record 89th straight game? Will anyone want Pittsburgh, especially if it loses to finish 6-6?

When it's all said and done, UConn may wind up at the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, a game with history, prestige and a $2 million payout. I spoke to John Folmer, the Sun Bowl chairman, today to gauge where his committee stands on UConn. Folmer said that if Notre Dame isn't available, his committee will indeed take a Big East team.

"We've been talking to the Big East all week," Folmer said. "If we come up short in the Pac-10, and we expect to come up short, we have to do something different. We've thought about UConn; we've thought about Louisville; we've thought about South Florida. We've thought about all of them, really."

The Sun Bowl is different from most bowls in that ticket sales aren't an issue. They have full support from the El Paso, Texas community. Folmer said television is the difference-maker. The bowl has a long-standing contract with CBS, and the goal is to present the best-possible matchup to keep eyeballs on the TV set.

Should UConn lose to South Florida, the Sun Bowl may well choose between the two schools. The Bulls, by virtue of what would be an 8-4 overall record, would most likely be the Sun's first choice. If they're available.

"A lot of it depends on what South Florida does," Folmer said. "If (South Florida) gets bumped up, and (UConn) ends up with the same record as Pitt, Connecticut looks a lot better. It's an awful good conference, but there's a big difference between 8-4 and 7-5."

Folmer and members of the Sun Bowl selection committee are heading to Charlotte Friday for Saturday's ACC title game. They return to El Paso and will convene at 11 a.m. to begin making their choice.

There's so much that could happen. But, if UConn loses, here's how things just might shake out.

BCS: West Virginia

Champs Sports: Notre Dame

Meineke: South Florida

Pinstripe: Syracuse

Birmingham: Pittsburgh

Beef O'Brady: Louisville

Sun Bowl: UConn


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear of any potential matchups in Fiesta/Orange Bowl if we do win Saturday? Orange Bowl sounds like ACC Champ but what is the tie in with Fiesta?

December 02, 2010 4:31 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Orange Bowl is ACC champ, either Virginia Tech or Florida State.

Fiesta Bowl is tied in with the Big 12, so either Oklahoma or Nebraska will be the opponent.

December 02, 2010 5:03 PM 

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