USC's Gift for BYU & Poinsettia Bowl Turns to Lump of Coal With Cal Loss

Mark WellingCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2009

For BYU, it seemed as if the best place for BYU this bowl season would be the Poinsettia Bowl.  The Las Vegas Bowl hinted that they didn’t want the Cougars this season, and BYU always had a better shot at getting a better bowl match-up in the Poinsettia Bowl.  Everyone was happy. 

USC’s losing to Arizona really helped out BYU.  It meant barring a Washington upset over a ranked Cal team, the Trojans would be playing BYU in San Diego. 

Well, former BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian played the role of Grinch for BYU fans.  Sark’s unranked Huskies beat No. 19 California 42-10. 

If there is one sure thing in the Pac-10 this season, it is not to assume anything is a sure thing. 

This means USC finished fifth in the Pac-10 officially, and they are headed to the Las Vegas Bowl.  To make matters worse for BYU fans, they will most likely face off against Utah. 

The only hope for BYU fans is that Vegas will reconsider selecting the Cougars for the Vegas Bowl now that they have a chance to pair them with USC. 

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The Vegas Bowl has only hinted that they will take Utah.  Their reasoning for taking a lower ranked Utah over BYU was economic.  BYU fans are known for being frugal and for their lack of gambling.  Utah fans would travel just as well to Vegas as their BYU counterparts.  The Vegas Bowl also has hinted it wants to become something more than simply the “BYU Bowl.”

The reasoning of the Vegas Bowl Committee didn’t take into account the chance of getting such a marquee team from the Pac-10 as USC.  The chance of putting together a BYU versus USC match-up might be too good for the Vegas Bowl to resist. 

BYU will be ranked in the top 15 going into whatever bowl game they play.  USC could still be ranked after losing to Arizona this week, but even if they aren’t the USC brand will attract a national television audience. 

BYU won’t find out what bowl game they are going to until after the BCS bowl selection tomorrow.  Why?  The BCS still hasn’t released BYU from consideration—even though there is no possible way BYU will get a BCS bowl bid. 

If the Vegas Bowl selects Utah as it is rumored to tomorrow it will be a very bitter moment for BYU fans.  The Utes will get the chance to take on the talented, although under-performing Trojans. 

USC’s loss to Arizona really appeared to be an early Christmas present for BYU fans, but it really did turn to a lump of coal when California was upset by Washington.  

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