What's next for Beavs?

MANY WILL ARGUE the Beavers should be going to the Holiday Bowl, but that scenario doesn't look to be in the cards. What does look most likely is a trip to Las Vegas. And if that's the case, who might the Beavers play?

Either BYU (10-2) or Utah (9-3) will play in the Las Vegas Bowl against the Pac-10 representative, with the Utes appearing the most likely -- even though the Las Vegas Bowl has the first pick of MWC teams, and that BYU is ranked (No. 13, No. 16) while Utah is unranked.

Huh?

Why would a bowl selection committee deliberately select a lesser rated opponent, one who has more losses and who got beat just last week by the other team in their head to head matchup?

Because Las Vegas has apparently seen enough of BYU -- and it's understandable. BYU has gone to the Las Vegas Bowl the last four years in a row, compiling a 2-2 record against Pac-10 teams during the span.

AND SO THE way most handicappers see the selection process turning out is that The Las Vegas Bowl, with first pick of the MWC to match up against the Pac-10, will take Utah even though BYU has the better record and is ranked.

That would mean the Poinsettia Bowl would pick BYU, potentially matching them up against Arizona, unless the Wildcats beat USC in Los Angeles this weekend.

Oregon State will almost certainly not go the Sun Bowl again. The Beavers went to El Paso last year, and two of the past three postseasons.

The Sun Bowl has a no-repeat clause, meaning they don't have to select the same team two years in a row -- the reason the Beavs played in the Emerald Bowl in 2007 despite having a better record than the Ducks that year is because the Sun Bowl didn't want OSU in El Paso two years in a row, with the Beavers having played there in 2006. So Oregon went to El Paso instead in '07.

The Emerald Bowl, played in San Francisco, strongly prefers one of the California teams, and therefore a team that will "travel" well. The Executive Director of the Emerald has said Stanford is their most likely option.

YES, FOR THOSE who want to hold onto seemingly the slimmest of hopes, The Holiday Bowl could conceivably still select the Beavs if they wish -- they have to take the second place Pac-10 team but when there is a tie for second, they can choose from any of the second place teams because there are no tiebreakers, head-to-head or otherwise, in the bowl selection procedures. And there will be a tie, perhaps between as many as four teams.

But the Beavs are considered quite a long shot for the Holiday since they could also select USC (if they beat Arizona), Arizona (if they beat USC), Cal (if they beat UW), or Stanford. With the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, all four are closer in proximity than are the Beavs, and the Holiday will probably take the winner of the USC-UA game.

So it looks like Vegas for Oregon State, and a matchup against Utah. Some Beaver fans will be hoping the Las Vegas Bowl changes their mind on the opponent for the Beavs -- Oregon State would have a chance to best the No. 13, 16 team in the nation if they were to go with BYU.

The Beavs could find out where they're going, and who they're playing, as soon as Saturday night but an official announcement will probably have to wait until Sunday afternoon, after the Holiday Bowl selection committee meets.


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