Bowl forecast: Utah, BYU football teams are top choices for Poinsettia and Vegas bowls

first_img BYU football: Unga resting to heal Y.’s Hall, U.’s Dale earn accolades BYU and Utah football players, coaches and fans can plan on their seasons being finished before Christmas this year.With TCU all but certain to be playing in one of the five BCS bowls in early January, the Cougars and Utes will be filling the Mountain West Conference’s first two bowl choices, the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, which will be played on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, respectively.Both Las Vegas Bowl executive director Tina Kunzer-Murphy and Poinsettia Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski confirmed Monday that those are the only two schools their bowls are looking at to fill the MWC’s spots.The Las Vegas Bowl gets first choice, but which bowl each school will be playing in won’t necessarily be determined in Provo Saturday and an announcement may not come until Dec. 6, after the BCS bowls are determined.One local sportscaster said this weekend that the winner of the BYU-Utah game will be going to the Las Vegas Bowl, while rumors have been floating around Salt Lake that short of a blowout loss, the Utes will be headed to Las Vegas this year for the first time in eight years.However, Kunzer-Murphy, whose bowl has the first choice out of the MWC, says nothing has been decided and that it will be up to a 32-person committee to vote on the participating teams. The committee is meeting later this week to discuss the situation and will make a decision after this week’s game.”We’re going to look at it pretty carefully,” Kunzer-Murphy said.When asked specifically if the Las Vegas Bowl could take the loser of Saturday’s game, Kunzer-Murphy said, “Anything can happen. We’re going to select based on what’s best for the matchup and what’s best for the city.””Utah has not been in our game for a long time and there is a mindset that a fresh team is exciting,” she continued. “We like BYU and they’ve been a great partner over the years. We feel we have great options.”She didn’t want to leave out TCU, either, saying, “if something happens and they come back to us, that would be great also.”That “something” would be a loss at home to 1-10 New Mexico Saturday. Assuming TCU does beat New Mexico to stay unbeaten, the Horned Frogs are likely headed to a BCS bowl unless Boise State moves ahead of them in the BCS standings.However, MWC associate commissioner Javan Hedlund said the bowl announcements will all have to be put on hold until after the final BCS standings are revealed on Dec. 6 in case Boise State was to leapfrog TCU and get the “automatic” non-BCS berth. However, he said if Boise State were to lose to Nevada this week, then perhaps the other MWC bowl announcements could be made this weekend.While both the Las Vegas and Poinsettia bowls are in desirable locations for holiday games, there is a big difference in the payouts. The Las Vegas Bowl pays $1 million per school, while the Poinsettia Bowl only guarantees $500,000 per participant with sharing of revenue based on attendance.As for opponents, it looks like the Utes and Cougars will most likely be playing a team from a group that includes Stanford, Cal, Arizona and Oregon State, with USC an outside possibility.The Las Vegas Bowl gets the No. 5 pick from the Pac-10 this year, behind the Rose, Holiday, Sun and Emerald bowls. The Poinsettia Bowl gets the Pac-10’s No. 6.The winner of the Dec. 3 game between Oregon and Oregon State will be headed to the Rose Bowl. If Oregon loses, it will end up in second place and go to the Holiday Bowl. If Oregon State loses, it gets complicated.The Beavers would likely end up in a three- or four-way tie for second, but because the Sun Bowl has a no-repeat clause, they wouldn’t be invited back and could fall to the Emerald or Las Vegas bowls if the Holiday Bowl doesn’t take them.If USC beats UCLA and Arizona, it will most likely be grabbed by the Holiday Bowl, which gets the No. 2 pick. The Sun Bowl could take Stanford or Cal and San Francisco’s Emerald Bowl would love to have either of those two Bay area schools.That would leave Oregon State for Las Vegas and Arizona for San Diego. UCLA could also sneak into the picture if it upsets USC this week.”It’s safe to say that for sure, we’ll have Utah or BYU,” said the Poinsettia Bowl’s Binkowski.Binkowski also said that the three most likely teams from the Pac-10 for his bowl are Arizona, UCLA and USC. For USC to be available, it must lose to UCLA this week and to Arizona the following week, while UCLA won’t be available if it loses to USC.Because the Pac-10 has enough bowl-eligible teams, there is no chance of a matchup like last year when Boise State filled in for a Pac-10 school, Binkowski said.e-mail: [email protected] PAC-10 scheduleNov. 28Arizona (6-4, 4-3) at Arizona State (4-7, 2-6)UCLA (6-5, 3-5) at USC (7-3, 4-3) Notre Dame (6-5) at Stanford (7-4, 6-3) Dec. 3Oregon State (8-3, 6-2) at Oregon (9-2, 7-1) Dec. 5Cal (8-3, 5-3) at Washington (3-7, 2-5)Arizona at USC Hall vs. Dale part II Expect epic clash on the line BYU would like friendlier rivalry Relatedlast_img