Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Three bowls still eying Jayhawks


The phone lines are busy at bowl headquarters all over the country this week.

The Big 12 Conference football bowl picture -- a big traffic jam after Saturday -- might be starting to shape up a bit, with Kansas University's location still consistent: The Jayhawks probably are heading to the Fort Worth Bowl on Dec. 23.

Fort Worth Bowl executive director Tom Starr really has no input, since his 3-year-old bowl is last in the pecking order and essentially takes whatever's left. He said Monday he was no closer to knowing who's coming to his bowl, though he did reiterate that Kansas was an attractive choice.

It appears three bowls still are weighing the appeal of Kansas -- Fort Worth, Independence and Houston. Independence Bowl interim director Missy Setters said her office planned to meet Monday afternoon to weigh its options and is considering Missouri, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa State.

Setters said she was confident all four would be available after the BCS, Cotton, Holiday and Alamo bowls make their choices, though she added no choice would be made public until an invitation was extended.

Sources say, however, that the Independence Bowl is most interested in Missouri. Houston Bowl representatives have gone on the record gushing about the appeal of Iowa State, and the Champs Sports Bowl is likely to take Big 12 North champion Colorado over Kansas if it comes to that.

Final bowl announcements aren't expected to be made until after Saturday's Big 12 championship game between Texas and Colorado. That game is slated for a noon kickoff, meaning announcements could come as soon as Saturday night or Sunday.

¢ Still wondering: Starr, in fact, isn't sure of either of the teams that will play in the Fort Worth Bowl.

Conference-USA also will play a championship game this weekend between Tulsa and Central Florida, meaning no bowl bids will be public made until afterward.

The Liberty, GMAC, Hawaii and Fort Worth Bowls all are battling for the top four C-USA teams, though the Hawaii Bowl might take someone outside of the conference. Starr said Houston, Texas-El Paso and Tulsa remained the strongest possibilities to go to Fort Worth.

¢ Webb honored: KU sophomore kicker Scott Webb was named Big 12 Conference's special-teams player of the week Monday after booting three field goals -- including the game-winner -- in the Jayhawks' 24-21 victory Saturday over Iowa State.

For the season, Webb has hit 82 percent of his field goals, including all 11 from inside 40 yards.

¢ New 2006 opening: KU now has two open dates -- not one -- to fill on its 2006 nonconference schedule.

Florida International originally was supposed to come to Lawrence on Sept. 9, 2006, for a 6 p.m. kickoff. That was scratched, though, after FIU asked to push the game back to schedule a marquee opponent.

A 2007 matchup for FIU-KU is being discussed, but hasn't been finalized.

For 2006, KU has Northwestern State penciled in for Sept. 2 and a road trip to Toledo on Sept. 16. Games for Sept. 9 and Sept. 23 have yet to be filled.

¢ Toledo at midweek?: There's a chance ESPN, which has a contract with the Mid-American Conference, will want to televise next season's Kansas-Toledo game and move it to a weeknight. Associate athletic director Larry Keating is aware of the possibility, but said nobody had contacted KU regarding it yet.

The Rockets have played five weeknight games this season to get on the national-cable network.

"That's always a possibility with them," Keating said. "I'm assuming ESPN is going to want the game."

Toledo accepted an invitation Monday to play in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Big 12 Bowl tie-ins

Friday, Dec. 23 Fort Worth (Texas) Bowl Payout: $750,000 C-USA vs. Big 12, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Tuesday, Dec. 27 Champs Sports Bowl At Orlando, Fla. Payout: $862,500 ACC vs. Big 12, 4 p.m. (ESPN) Wednesday, Dec. 28 Alamo Bowl At San Antonio Payout: $1.65 million Big Ten vs. Big 12, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Thursday, Dec. 29 Holiday Bowl At San Diego Payout: $2 million Pac-10 vs. Big 12, 7 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Dec. 30 Independence Bowl At Shreveport, La. Payout: $1.2 million Big 12 vs. SEC, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Dec. 31 Houston Bowl Payout: $1.2 million TCU (10-1) vs. Big 12, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Monday, Jan. 2 Cotton Bowl At Dallas Payout: $2.5 million SEC vs. Big 12, 10 a.m. (FOX) Plus BCS (Fiesta, Sugar, Orange or Rose)


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