<b>IN THIS ISSUE:</b><ul><li>Huskies turn down Sugar Bowl bid <li>Trojans to play Michigan for WBA title <li>Sooners against LSU for WBC belt <li>Sun shines on Ducks after disappointing season <li>Beavers head to Vegas <li>Cougars prepare to get long horned at Holiday Bowl <li>Legendary Husky coach is fired</ul>

Huskies stay home to study
Race Bannon

A remarkable bowl run that began at the 1978 Rose Bowl and saw the Huskies play in a bowl every year but 1978, 1988, and 1993-94 takes another brief time out this season as the Huskies turned down a 20 million dollar offer from the Sugar Bowl to face Oklahoma.

"Academics come first at Washington," said Athletic Director Barbara Hedges as she went over fund raising plans for the new Badminton Center. "We just felt it would be great to stay home for the holidays and study. I cannot be more thrilled with how this season went and give Keith Gilbertson a full vote of confidence."

Your intrepid reporter had a chance to catch up with the Husky coach and ask him a few questions.

DI: What is it like not to be preparing for a bowl this year? Are there any second thoughts about those NEVADA and ARIZONA games?

GILBS: Who made you coach? Aren't you that idiot that is always taking cheap shots at me?

DI: No coach, that is Dick Baird, he's always ripping you. Not me. We have always given you our full vote of confidence. Coach?........Coach?

GILBS: Get a real job Race. And quit following me around. It's embarrassing.

The Huskies are in the process of putting together another remarkable recruiting class despite the non-bowl season and the specter of Steve Winn buying Rick's Montlake Casino and moving it to NEVADA. We cover the recruiting season in depth in our recruiting spectacular after letter of intent day.

As a quiet year ends at the UW, we can only reflect and be thankful that the program is in such capable hands as our best in the country athletic office with the full support of the temporary, interim substitute President. Be sure to follow the winter sports on Court TV.
Wilson ousted in midnight coup
Hunter S. Thompson

The University of Washington fired legendary softball coach Theresa Wilson when she was out of state for the Christmas break. She received the news in a peyote dream and immediately filed a lawsuit at the Rick Neuheisel Justice Center in Seattle.

Ms. Wilson was the fall gal for the festering drug scandal that surrounds the university's most successful sports program. Former team trainer Jeff Spicoli is at the center of the storm.
Northwest Bowl Preview

Oregon returns to the site of their greatest glory in a rematch with Minnesota in the Sun Bowl. The Ducks hope to put a dismal season behind them with a big win over a non-descript opponent. The Ducks started in a blaze of glory with a huge upset over Michigan, which they followed up with a 55-16 loss to WSU at formerly feared Autzen Arena. The Ducks also lost 59-14 to 9th place ASU and were routed, embarrassed, and beaten severely for the second straight year by Washington. The Gophers are suspect in the passing game which should allow the fragile Oregon defense to focus on stopping the run. Look for Iron Mike Bellotti to put the blow out jobs behind him as the Ducks stand erect and bring home a win. Rumors that Bellotti will use new UTEP coach Mike Price's expense account while in the Red Light district in El Paso remain unfounded as this issue went to press.

UO – 23, UM – 21

Oregon State returns home to Las Vegas where most of their team was recruited from, to face New Mexico in the Las Vegas Bowl. Rick Neuheisel will take time off from his greeters job at Caesar's Palace to give a pre game speech to the team. OSU was another victim of the Huskies, falling 38-17 at home, but was able to wrest the bowl bid thanks to a stirring win over Sacramento State.

OSU – 38, NMU – 17

Washington State hopes to recover from its annual Apple Cup loss in time to get blown out by Texas in the Holiday Bowl. Young Vince Young will give Cougar fans a preview of the new stable of QBs at Washington as he runs and passes the Horns to a big win. Texas is 1-1 in their last two Holiday Bowls, both close classics with fantastic finishes. This one should be over by halftime.

Texas – 63, WSU – 22
Trojans look to restore Pac 10 pride at Pasadena
Troy "Cubby" Wadsworth III

The Pac 10 has performed poorly at the Rose Bowl in years that have anyone other than USC or Washington representing them. Only UCLA, USC, ASU, and Washington have won a Rose Bowl since the Plunkett / Bunce days at Stanford. The Pac 10 is winless since the Huskies back-to-back triumphs in 91 and 92 other than SC in 96 and UW in 2001. The moral of our story is that when you send pretenders like WSU you are sent home empty handed.

The Grand Daddy has a grand match up once again as the Trojans face Michigan for a share of the National Title. A dispute between Bob Arum and Don King has split the division, and the HAL 5000 computer could not let Troy play OU in the Sugar. HAL is sorry as always.

However, Trojans fans feel that something wonderful is going to happen, and as we have said all year right here, USC is the nation's finest team.

USC – 34, UM – 14

Best of the Rest: OU and LSU meet for the other half of the title in New Orleans...the Sooners got in a little jam in KC on their way to the Big Easy...look for the Sooners to wreak vengeance on Lou Saban's team...or is that Nick?...They're killing me Whitey, they're killing me...California is in a bowl for the first time since fish walked the earth...students plan to protest...UCLA rounds out the Pac bowl lineup as they face Fresno State in the Raisin Bowl...or whatever...found in Saddam's spider hole – the true story about tickets for rent at UO...look for a revamped and newly named Duckfighter Illustrated next year as we dodge creditors and search for a more worthy rival than the collapsing Ducks...Happy Holidays to the easily offended and Merry Christmas to the rest...See you at the recruiting banquet!

May this year die swiftly – Race Top Stories