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Ducks shopping for bowl, but first need win

For University of Oregon Athletic Director Bill Moos, it's become a predictablescenario during Civil War week.

For the fourth year in a row, Moos is spending up-close-and-personaltime with representatives of several college football bowl committees. He'ssaid to be on a first-name basis with officials from the Aloha Bowl, CopperBowl and Las Vegas Bowl going into Oregon's final game of the regular seasonon Saturday against Oregon State (3-7) at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Oregonhas a 5-5 overall record and a 2-5 mark in the Pacific-10 Conference. OSUis 0-7 in the Pac-10.

I think we're a very attractive team for bowls, said Moos,who was in Medford Wednesday to speak at the Southern Oregon Civil War Luncheonat the Reston Hotel. We have a lot to offer, including an excitingoffense and a tradition of our fans traveling to bowls in large numbers.

Kickoff for Saturday's game is — p.m. at Autzen Stadium. All ticketsfor the game have been sold.

Southern Oregon Beaver and Duck fans can watch the game live at The RockN' Rodeo lounge inside the Reston Hotel in Medford. There will be a no-hostbar, free snacks and raffle prizes offered during the game.

For more information or to make reservations, call Suzanne Daniel at779-1550.

Even with a superlative performance and a win over Oregon State, theDucks have no guarantees of a bowl bid. That was the case in 1996 when Oregonwent 6-5 and finished strong with three straight wins, including romps overCalifornia andOSU. But California got the bid to play in the Aloha Bowl.And the Ducks stayed home for Christmas.

There are too many television sets in California, said Moos.That's why we didn't get to go last year. I had a real problem withthat.

Representatives from the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu, Copper Bowl in Tucson,Ariz., the new Humanitarian Bowl in Boise and Las Vegas Bowl are expectedto be in Autzen Stadium to watch the Ducks play the Beavers.

We think we're still in the picture to get into any of those bowls,but we need to play well and hopefully win impressively on Saturday to havea chance, said Moos. If we do that, I think we're in good positionto go to a bowl game, probably the Aloha Bowl (Dec. 24 at Honolulu.).

Christmas in Hawaii has to sound good to Duck fans.

We should have been there last year, says Moos. It'sour turn this year, if we can beat the Beavers. Our fans would love to goto Hawaii for Christmas.

Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, speaking by telephone at the luncheon, saysthere is more than a possible bowl bid at stake for his players and coaches.

This is a big game for us in a lot of ways, said Bellotti.It's important to all of us that our seniors go out as winners.

If Oregon wins, it would be the first time it has had four straight winningseasons since 1935.

It's a game that truly splits the state, said Bellotti. That'sgood. It leads to a lot of state pride.

Moos says Oregon has several ingredients that could help the

Ducks be slected to a bowl game. First and foremost, the ability to scorequickly and often.

Quarterback Akili Smith, wide receiver Pat Johnson, tight end Blake Spenceand tailback Saladin McCullough offer the bulk of the offensive firepower.McCullough ranks third in the Pac-10 in rushing with an average of 103.7yards per game.

Medford's Fitz Brewer, known among statewide Oregon fans as SuperDuck, will attend his 30th Civil War game on Saturday. Brewer, a formerOregon player (1956), served as one of Oregon's unofficial team captainscaptains on the field against Fresno State.

Oregon won the game, 43-40. I'm — and 0, said Brewer. I'mnot sure why they picked me, but it was an honor to be down there.

Oregon State interim athletic director Lee Schroeder said the Beaverswill show up Saturday determined to spoil the bowl party for the Ducks.

Schroeder says first-year OSU coach Mike Riley has already turned someheads with his coaching and teaching, which Schroeder believes has starteda reversal of fortunes for an OSU football program that hasn't had a winningseason since 1971.

Mike Riley is a hero at Oregon State right now, said Schroeder.The players love him. That's why they are so receptive to his teaching.

He's already proven to be an outstanding coach and a great recruiter,said Schroeder. I'm happy to say we got the real deal in coach Riley.

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