POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 4, 2010
Today's Conference USA championship game will apparently dictate an opponent for the University of Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, matching the Warriors with Central Florida or Tulsa on Christmas Eve.
The UCF Knights (9-3), the C-USA Eastern Division champions, play Southern Methodist (7-5), the Western Division titlist, in Orlando, Fla., with the winner going to the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 in Memphis, Tenn.
Barring an 11th-hour change, the plan is that if UCF loses, the Knights would then meet UH in the Hawaii Bowl. But if UCF wins, then the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (9-3), the Western runners-up, would represent C-USA against UH on Dec. 24.
Hawaii Bowl officials declined comment yesterday but say they hope to have an announcement today.
June Jones' SMU team would play in the Liberty Bowl if it wins its first C-USA title; otherwise the Mustangs are earmarked for the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30 on their home field, Ford Stadium, in Dallas. The Armed Forces Bowl, which has been played at Texas Christian's Carter Stadium, was shifted to Dallas because the Horned Frogs' stadium is undergoing renovation.
Both UCF and Tulsa are on the verge of joining UH in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, having received votes the past few weeks.
In their only meeting, UH beat Central Florida -- and freshman quarterback Daunte Culpepper -- 45-14 in 1995. UCF appeared in the 2005 Hawaii Bowl, losing to Nevada 49-48 in overtime.
UH and the Golden Hurricane have not met since 2004, when both were in the Western Athletic Conference.
Meanwhile, David Matlin, executive director of the Hawaii Bowl, said "approximately 29,000" tickets have been distributed for the game.