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UH’s Hawaii Bowl opponent expected to be decided Dec. 4

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It will likely take until the Dec. 4 Conference USA championship game to decide an opponent for the University of Hawaii in the Christmas Eve Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, officials said.

"The reality, more likely than not, is that we’ll have to wait until the championship game," said David Matlin, executive director of the Hawaii Bowl.

The Hawaii Bowl will match the Warriors with a representative from C-USA on Dec. 24 at Aloha Stadium. The game gets the second choice — or a mutually agreed upon representative — to oppose UH.

The Warriors are 8-3 with two games remaining and conclude their regular season Dec. 4. Under certain conditions, the Hawaii Bowl could even end up with the C-USA champion.

"With C-USA having three teams receiving votes in the polls and the potential of a nine- or 10-win team, I’m excited about the possibilities," Matlin said.

Tulsa, Central Florida and Southern Mississippi are all 8-3 with one regular-season game remaining and in the running for the C-USA championship game, which matches winners of the East and West divisions.

June Jones’ Southern Methodist University team is 6-5 (5-2 C-USA) and needs to beat East Carolina 6-5 (5-2 conference) to clinch the West Division because the Mustangs defeated Tulsa (5-2) previously.

Although SMU has not been removed from consideration for a Hawaii Bowl return, organizers of the Armed Forces Bowl, which will be played in the Mustangs’ Ford Stadium, would like to keep the team home in Dallas. The Armed Forces Bowl is usually played in Fort Worth, Texas, but Texas Christian’s stadium will be undergoing renovation. The Armed Forces Bowl, along with the Hawaii Bowl, is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television.

Meanwhile, Matlin said whatever conference the Warriors find themselves in for the immediate future, "our objective is the same: to have a place for them in our game when they are bowl eligible."

If UH ends up in the Mountain West Conference for 2012-13, the Hawaii Bowl and UH would likely have to negotiate the terms with the MWC.

The game is contracted with the WAC and C-USA through 2013, but membership changes in either conference could open up options for the bowl.

 

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