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La. Tech's eyes get bowl-wide

It drove back from Alabama with a monumental win. Could Louisiana Tech's road lead to the Independence Bowl?

"We want to go to a bowl," athletic director Jim Oakes said. "That's our paramount interest. We would love to be in Shreveport. We would love to be in the Independence Bowl."

Tech, which beat the Crimson Tide 26-20, is 7-2. With games remaining at Alabama-Birmingham (3-5) and Southwestern Louisiana (1-8), the Bulldogs could be 9-2 in two weeks.

What's the chance Tech will be tapped to make the short drive from Ruston to Shreveport?

The Bulldogs have the nation's top quarterback-receiver combination in Tim Rattay and Troy Edwards.

They could be ranked by bowl time.

They are a local favorite that would bring "far more people than any SEC team," Oakes said.

There is one major drawback. The Bulldogs' program lacks the national renown of, say, Southern California, which is also under consideration.

And since the Independence Bowl is tied in with the Southeastern Conference, television appeal may be more important than the crowd. The winner of the Nov. 29 Mississippi State-Ole Miss game may be the SEC representative.

"If we had one of the Mississippi schools, we'll have regional draw to fill the stadium and we'll want to look for television audience," bowl chairman Ken Antee said.

There may be other options for Tech. The Las Vegas, Motor City and Sports Humanitarian bowls have open bids. And if the Big East can't get four teams with six Division I-A wins, the Liberty Bowl will seek an at-large team.

AUBURN: Freshman Herman Banks quit the team for the third time, and coach Terry Bowden said he won't be back. Banks last left the team two weeks ago because he didn't like playing defense. He rejoined the team when Bowden said he could return to wide receiver.

TENNESSEE: Freshman RB Travis Henry was suspended for at least the final four regular-season games for violating an unspecified team rule. Coach Phillip Fulmer did not say whether the suspension would extend to a bowl game or the SEC Championship Game, which the Vols will play in if they win their final three league games.

Texas Tech forgoes post-season

LUBBOCK, Texas _ Texas Tech announced it won't accept a possible bowl bid or a berth in the Big 12 title game, citing recent allegations of widespread NCAA rules violations in the athletic department. The decision came four days after Tech released a 57-page NCAA letter detailing alleged multiple rules violations in 18 areas.

IOWA STATE: Freshman WR Jamel Joyner and sophomore LB Shaka Jones were suspended from the team after they were charged with looting dormitory rooms after an evacuation for a fire.

CARQUEST BOWL: TBS extended its TV contract through 2000.

COPPER BOWL: The annual Tucson game renamed itself the Insight.com Bowl, reflecting the new sponsor, Arizona computer company Insight Enterprises.

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