Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, December 23, 1999

Aloha, Oahu coaches
like bowl system

OREGON State coach Dennis Erickson has the right perspective on postseason bowl games.

Erickson should know best. He has been to a bowl game before when a national championship was riding on it and to one where it's just a free ride as a reward to players and coaches for a winning season.

"They're both great experiences,'' said Erickson, who has led the Beavers to their first bowl appearance in 34 years.

The Beavers will be playing in the Jeep Oahu Bowl against Hawaii, another bowl-deprived team over the years.

The bowl system now in place shouldn't be discarded, according to Erickson, who won two national championships at Miami.

"For the upper-tier teams like Florida State, the playoff system is pretty good. But only eight teams are going to be involved," Erickson said.

"Other teams deserve the same kind of reward. That's what it's all about. They are close to that with the system they have right now. You'll find out who the best team is before it's all over.

"The only reason for a playoff system is finances. And if they split the money among us, then I'd be in favor of it," Erickson said. "Otherwise, I like the system the way it is."

THE other coaches in the Christmas Day doubleheader at Aloha Stadium concur.

"The bowl system has been really good to college football over a lot of years," said Arizona State's Bruce Snyder.

"The real positive thing about it is that more teams can go home at the end of the season feeling good about themselves. When you have a playoff system, only one team will go home happy. That's it.

"The other part is that the players are in college athletics for fun, reward and positive experiences and this gives that to them. So I think that as many bowl games we can have, we should have."

Wake Forest coach Jim Caldwell said bowl games should be viewed as a reward for a winning season. "And it's a positive experience for all of those involved."

Like Wake Forest, Hawaii isn't a major player on the college football scene. So, the more bowl games, the merrier for the Rainbows.

"Schools like us have the opportunity to go to a bowl game where we might not under a different type system," said UH coach June Jones.

"I personally think the system we have right now is working. There really isn't any indecision as to who is No. 1," Jones said.


HELLUVA CHRISTMAS: If nothing else, the Aloha Bowl game between Arizona State and Wake Forest is a match made in hell: Sun Devils vs. Demon Deacons.

"Yeah, there are a bunch of Lucifers walking around town, waiting to play against each other," said Sun Devil cornerback Courtney Jackson. Kiddingly, of course.

"I'm sure the players on both teams are all God-fearing. They just happen to play on teams with messed-up names."

In the case of Wake, maybe a little more messed-up than usual. The school's teams were once called the "Baptists" and "Old Gold and Black."

After a devilish victory over Trinity (now Duke) in the 1920s, the editor of the school paper came up with a snappier nickname - Demon Deacons.

No one knows for sure about the origin of Sun Devils, but it's definitely an improvement over ASU's original nickname, the Bulldogs.

"If we can get them to change the name to the Sun Angels, we wouldn't be too scary a team, but we'd get a better chance to get to heaven," Jackson said.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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