Oregon will play Big Ten opponent

Updated: December 4, 2003, 6:11 PM ET
Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas -- Oregon on Tuesday accepted an offer to play in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 against either Minnesota or Michigan State.

Sun Bowl selection chairman John Folmer said the decision on which Big Ten team will play is expected to be finalized on Sunday. He said the Sun Bowl has to wait until the Bowl Championship Series teams are firmed up before either team will commit.

It's the seventh straight bowl game for Oregon (8-4), which finished tied for third in the Pac-10.

Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti said he hadn't studied Minnesota (9-3) or Michigan State (8-4) closely.

"They both are very explosive offenses," he said. "They would both be great challenges for us."

Oregon beat Minnesota 24-20 in the 1999 Sun Bowl. This year's Sun Bowl pays $1.425 million.

"Our memories are still fresh of the great game we had there when we came from behind to win," said Oregon Athletic Director Bill Moos. "We still have some 5th-year players that were a part of that experience."

Moos said the millennium scare on New Year's Eve kept some Ducks fans from traveling to El Paso for the 1999 game, but he didn't think there would be any such problem this year.

"It's great to leave your umbrellas at home and go to a destination where you can be in your shirt sleeves," he said.

In 1963, Oregon beat SMU 21-14 in the Sun Bowl. Michigan State has two previous Sun Bowl appearances. The team lost to Stanford 38-0 in 1996 and beat USC 17-16 in 1990. Minnesota's only appearance in the Sun Bowl was its 1999 loss to Oregon.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press