Saturday, November 28, 2015         

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Hawaii's bowl opponent likely to be Tulsa or UCF

By Ferd Lewis


Tulsa and the University of Central Florida have emerged as the leading candidates to furnish the opposition for the University of Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24.

Both are 9-3, as are the Warriors.

UCF, the Conference USA Eastern Division champion, meets Southern Methodist, the West champ, on Saturday for the C-USA title.

A UCF victory would send the Knights to the Liberty Bowl and likely put Tulsa, the West runner-up, in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve, although the deal has yet to be made.

Hawaii Bowl executive director David Matlin said, "The situation remains fluid and nothing has been locked up yet. We're focused on finding the best caliber opponent for UH."

Matlin declined to discuss various options, but June Jones' SMU Mustangs appear to be a long shot for a second consecutive Hawaii Bowl appearance. The 7-5 Mustangs would likely go to the Armed Forces Bowl if they lose to UCF.

The Armed Forces Bowl is being played in SMU's Ford Stadium while Texas Christian's home field, the usual site of the bowl, is undergoing renovation.

UCF appeared in the 2005 Hawaii Bowl, while Tulsa has not been to Aloha Stadium since 2004 in its Western Athletic Conference days (1996-2004).

The Golden Hurricane would present an interesting offensive match for UH with the No. 12 scoring team in the country at 39.67 points per game compared to UH's 38.33 (13th in the NCAA).

Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne averages 275.58 passing yards per game to Bryant Moniz, who is the nation's leader at 354.08.

Tulsa is fifth in total offense (503.50) and UH (487.75) 10th.

UH is ranked 25th in this week's Associated Press poll, with both UCF and Tulsa among those getting votes.

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