Miami to MPC; Big 12 runner-up goes to Cotton Bowl

Wednesday, November 29th 2006, 8:27 pm
By: News On 6

Miami's going north for the bowl season _ far north _ and the consolation for the loser of the Big 12 championship game will be a Cotton Bowl bid.

The Hurricanes accepted an invitation Wednesday to the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, Idaho, where they'll meet Nevada (8-4) of the Western Athletic Conference on Dec. 31. It'll be the first meeting between the programs, plus Miami's first appearance in that bowl.

Boise State's Bronco Stadium is famed for its blue turf, something the Hurricanes have never seen, but their biggest shock on game night may be the climate. The average high in Boise on New Year's Eve is around 35, with a low of 22 _ figures about 40 degrees less than the norms in South Florida on the same date.

``It really doesn't matter,'' center Anthony Wollschlager said. ``What matters is we've got another game to play.''

It also will be coach Larry Coker's 75th and final game at Miami; he was fired last week after a 6-6 regular season, one that dropped his six-year record with the Hurricanes to 59-15 with one national championship. The school retained him for the bowl game, while it conducts a search for his replacement.

``We have a lot of young players, and I think a bowl experience will be very good for them,'' said Coker, whose team will resume practice in mid-December after finals.

The loser of the Big 12 championship game between Oklahoma and Nebraska will play in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day, the conference announced Wednesday.

The winner of the Big 12 title game receives a Bowl Championship Series bid to the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 1.

The Cotton Bowl will match the Big 12 runner-up against a team from the Southeastern Conference. Boise State is the likely opponent for the Big 12 champ in the Fiesta Bowl.

Texas A&M received an invitation to the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday to face California.

The Gator Bowl notified the Big 12 that it will wait until Sunday to choose either a Big East team or a Big 12 for its game. Texas and West Virginia appear to be the most likely options.

Ohio accepted a bid to play in the GMAC Bowl, its third bowl appearance and first in nearly four decades.

The Bobcats (9-3) will play the loser of Friday's Conference USA championship game between Houston and Southern Mississippi on Jan. 7 in Mobile, Ala.

Ohio has never won a bowl game, losing 49-42 to Richmond in the 1968 Tangerine Bowl and 15-14 to West Texas State in the 1962 Sun Bowl.

The Bobcats, winners of seven straight games, will play Central Michigan on Thursday night in the MAC championship game at Ford Field in Detroit

Miami became bowl-eligible with a 17-14 win over Boston College on Thanksgiving night, and its postseason berth was guaranteed when Virginia lost to Virginia Tech two days later. The Atlantic Coast Conference has affiliations with eight bowl games; Virginia's loss meant the ACC had only eight eligible teams for those spots.

Getting a shot at Miami is a treat for Nevada.

``We've never played a team of that caliber. It is a good challenge for us and we are going to be up for it,'' Nevada quarterback Jeff Rowe said.