WAC goes shopping for new bowl berth

With the demise of the Silicon Valley Football Classic this week, bowl games from California to Alabama can expect calls from the Western Athletic Conference. WAC Commissioner, Benson, talks with Poinsettia bowl officials.

With the demise of the Silicon Valley Football Classic this week, bowl games from California to Alabama can expect calls from the Western Athletic Conference.

The San Jose bowl game was created so the WAC would have another guaranteed slot for one of its teams in the postseason. Without it, Commissioner Karl Benson indicated shortly after the NCAA killed the Silicon Valley game, the league will be in the market for another committed relationship -- even if it's in a backup role.

The WAC has guaranteed spots in the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, Idaho, and the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu for 2005. Benson said he expects to be contacting the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

Benson said the WAC already has been talking with organizers of the newly approved Poinsettia Bowl, which will become San Diego's second game this December.

``I'm sure that discussion will become more direct and serious now that we have a specific need,'' Benson said.

For now, Poinsettia Bowl organizers plan to match an at-large team with one from the Mountain West Conference.

``I'm not certain they're prepared to do a guarantee with the WAC,'' Benson said, ``but I believe the WAC is a league that could deliver a team to San Diego for sure.''

The WAC, of which San Jose State is a member, sent teams to four bowl games last year, but the Silicon Valley game was left out when Texas-El Paso, which was leaving the WAC, chose to play closer to home at the Houston Bowl.

Benson said he was disappointed to see the San Jose game rejected ``because it served the WAC well.''


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