All but official: Bulls will play Oregon
After five days of waiting, USF now knows its opponent for the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve in El Paso, Texas. The Bulls will take on Oregon, another team that peaked at No. 2 in the national ratings before slipping in the second half.
"In all probability, we're going to take Oregon," said John Folmer, president of the Sun Bowl selection committee. "All indications are it's going to be USF and Oregon."
The Bulls accepted the Sun Bowl's invitation on Tuesday, but had to wait for Saturday night's Pac-10 games to lock up their opponent. USC defeated UCLA to win the Pac-10 title and its automatic BCS berth, and whether Arizona State wins or loses against Arizona, whether the Sun Devils get a BCS at-large berth or not, the Sun Bowl is a match with Oregon. The Ducks ended their regular season with a 38-31 double-overtime loss Saturday to Oregon State.
Folmer's only hesitation in naming Oregon was the possibility that the Holiday Bowl would select the Ducks, but they're bound to take the team highest in the Pac-10 standings; Oregon State is 6-3, Oregon 5-4. And the Sun Bowl had Oregon State last season, so they have the right to not take Oregon State if the Beavers fell to their selection, leaving the Ducks as the next choice.
Oregon (8-4) has dropped three straight since losing Heisman Trophy candidate Dennis Dixon early in a loss to Arizona. The Ducks played well Saturday, rallying from a 21-7 deficit to lead the Beavers before falling in double overtime.
Folmer said he's been pleased with the calls and ticket sales this week from USF, which declined to release sales numbers Saturday. Folmer said if USF sells its allotment of 8,000 tickets, there would likely be more available, as both teams in last year's game returned part of their allotments.