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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Monday, October 18, 1999



Cal would be a nice
Christmas Day present

EVERYONE'S picking on the Pac-10 Conference these days and rightly so.

Well, maybe not Lenny Klompus, CEO of Bowl Games Hawaii, who is committed to bringing in two Pac-10 teams here for a postseason doubleheader on Christmas Day.

But it has certainly been the Pathetic-10 so far this season.

It doesn't have a single team in the AP Top 25. And conference front-runner Stanford was drubbed by Texas, 69-17, and even lost to the WAC's San Jose State, of all teams.

Figure on the Cardinal to stumble in the run for the Rose Bowl with road games at Southern Cal, Washington and Arizona State in their next three games.

But somebody's got to win the title and don't be surprised if it's Washington, even if the Huskies lost to two former WAC teams - BYU and Air Force - and fumbled away its game to Arizona State.

Or maybe even Arizona, the only team in the conference yet to make it to Pasadena.

Meanwhile, UCLA and USC - the Pac-10 glamour boys - are playing mediocre football at best.

The Trojans blew a 21-point lead in losing to Notre Dame Saturday. That coming off a loss to Arizona in which USC rushed for negative 20 yards. Where have you gone, O.J. Simpson?

No wonder some wags on the USC website comically referred to Trojan coach Paul Hackett as Buddy Hackett.

UCLA? The Bruins were shut out by California, 17-0. Holy Toledo, Bob!

"It's obviously a down kind of year, I guess," the Bruins' coach told the Associated Press. "I don't know how to explain it, other than to say it's just one of those years - crazy.

ALL of which isn't helping Klompus, squirming that at least two teams can qualify for the Aloha Bowl and Oahu Bowl at Aloha Stadium.

At this point in the season, it's a real crap shoot who will finish fourth and fifth in the Pac-10 since it's so mediocre a season for the league.

Actually, when you look at it, the pool of Pac-10 teams Klompus can select from is shrinking quickly.

Take away the top three teams, who'll probably go to other bowl games, and that leaves seven to pick from.

He can just about scratch Washington State, since the Cougars will finish their season against Hawaii, and who'd want to see them again here in less than a month? More so, if the Rainbows knock them off.

So what kind of Christmas package can Klompus come up with? If nothing else, and judging by the way their seasons are going, Honolulu could be Los Angeles West if both UCLA and USC are here on the same Christmas Day card.

Hawaii fans would probably like to see Arizona, which has a dozen players from the islands. But I wouldn't wish that on Dick Tomey. I'd rather see him finally making it to the Rose Bowl.

California would be an intriguing Pac-10 representative for the Aloha or Oahu bowl.

Not one, but two running backs from Hawaii starred in Cal's shocking win over UCLA.

Freshman Joe Igber, the former Iolani standout, had his second consecutive 100-yard game. He drew raves on ABC's regional telecast, which was seen locally.

Josh White, the former Farrington star, broke off a 62-yard run to set up the Golden Bears' game-clinching field goal.

Seeing Cal with Igber and White showing their stuff at Aloha Stadium on Christmas Day wouldn't be bad at all.



Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.
bkwon@starbulletin.com



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