Freedom Bowl Sticks With Huskies, May Wind Up With Backup Colorado

Times Staff Writer

The Freedom Bowl officially extended an invitation to the University of Washington Saturday, even though the Huskies lost their regular-season finale to Washington State, and even though USC, which can still finish with a winning record, has not committed to any bowl.

Tom Starr, executive director of the Freedom Bowl, was in Seattle to watch Washington’s 21-20 loss to Washington State, which dropped the Huskies’ record to 6-5. Despite the fact USC can match that record with a victory over Oregon next week, Starr presented Washington athletic director Mike Lude with a bid, as had been expected for the past week. Lude accepted.

Like most bowl directors, Starr hadn’t figured that USC would upset UCLA. Even with Saturday’s victory, the Trojans are only 5-5 and could still finish below .500 if they lose to Oregon. NCAA rules prohibit teams with losing records from appearing in postseason bowl games.


Starr also received bad news from the Southeastern Conference, where Tennessee routed Kentucky, 42-0. Tennessee is the Freedom Bowl’s No. 1 choice to face Washington, but Starr needed the Volunteers to lose one of their final two games. Otherwise, Tennessee would go to the Sugar Bowl and Colorado, Starr’s backup team, would come to Anaheim Dec. 30.

Now, Tennessee must only beat Vanderbilt (3-6-1) to advance to the Sugar Bowl.