Beavers making the best out of their Holiday

TOM HANSEN has been oft criticized the last several years, the Commissioner of the Pac-10 being the preferred lightning rod for fans upset with a perceived lack of respect paid the "Conference of Champions" when it comes to bowl season and BCS berths. Given what happened to Oregon State and Arizona State on Sunday, the criticisms don't look to subside anytime soon.

Someone is always going to be left out in college football. It happens every year. But the Pac-10 does seem to make the most appearances in the category of have-nots when the calendar turns to December.

The 2007 Pac-10 football season's entry is two fold -- Oregon State and ASU. Because the Sun Devils were passed over for one of 10 BCS bowl spots, ASU goes to the Holiday Bowl. The Beavs, who had hoped to be in San Diego, won't even be going to the Pac-10's third place bowl -- the Sun Bowl in El Paso selected Oregon rather than host the Beavs for the second straight year.

So the Beavs head to the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. Word out of Corvallis is that's just fine with many of the Beaver players. El Paso has been panned by Pac-10 fans over the years and several Beaver players apparently hold the same sentiments based on player quotes in the Monday morning newspapers.

The California players on the OSU roster are excited to head back to their home state. But not everyone is thrilled.

John Follmer, the chairman of the Sun Bowl selection committee said OSU athletic director Bob De Carolis was upset with the vote to bypass Oregon State. The Sun Bowl's payout is $1.9 million. The Emerald Bowl dishes out somewhere between $750,000 to $825,000. The Holiday bowl payout is $2.2 million.

Which brings us back to Hansen. Why is it for the 10 seasons the BCS has been around, the Big Ten has had double entries seven times while the Pac-10 has had two?

And why is the Pac-10 about $5 million dollars lighter in the pocketbook today? The Big Ten officials reportedly lobbied the Rose Bowl selection committee hard for Illinois, playing on the nostalgia of the old Pac-10/Big-10 relationship that has been weakened by the invention of the BCS.

One veteran newspaperman who has covered the league for years doesn't buy into the Fire Tom Hansen movement that seems to pop up every year around this time. He points to the lack of bowl games in the West, the larger television market in the Big Ten versus the Pac-10 and that Pac-10 schools generally don't travel as well as their counterparts do in other conferences.

Still, it's difficult to look at the Pac-10 bowl tie-ins and come away thinking the league enjoys an advantageous position.

From a competitive standpoint, the Emerald and Sun are like the other Pac-10 bowls -- with the Pac-10 team being the prize for the opponents. This year, that means the fourth place bowl for the Pac-10 will match the team finishing third in conference going against Maryland.

Maryland is one of three teams who tied for eighth place in the 12-team ACC.

The Sun Bowl customarily matches the third place Pac-10 team against a lower placing team from the Big 12 or Big East. The Holiday Bowl, the No. 2 Pac-10 team against the No. 3 team from the Big 12.

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