BGSU appears to be choice of GMAC Bowl


BOWLING GREEN - An announcement could come today stating that Bowling Green State University will play in the GMAC Bowl.

The bowl's 17-member selection committee met last night to discuss which teams will play in the Jan. 6 game in Mobile, Ala., according to executive director Frank Modarelli.

Modarelli hoped a decision would be made during the meeting.

"You can't sell tickets without teams," Modarelli said. "My job's a lot easier when they pick a team."

BG (8-4) is one of three, and perhaps four, Mid-American Conference teams eligible to play in the game, which is also represented by Conference USA.

The GMAC Bowl has first choice over the two other bowl games affiliated with the MAC - the Motor City and International.

Miami (6-6) and Central Michigan (7-5) will play in the MAC championship Saturday in Detroit and the GMAC might be interested in extending an invitation to the winner. But neither team has performed particularly well in recent weeks, meaning the Falcons, whose eight wins are most by a MAC team, might be the most attractive choice. Ball State (7-5) is also an option, although that prospect seems unlikely.

Miami will only play in a bowl if it beats Central Michigan, which has already clinched a bowl berth. With a loss the RedHawks would have fewer wins than three MAC teams, thus eliminating them from playing in one of the MAC-affiliated bowls. But should Miami beat Central Michigan, the RedHawks would be guaranteed a bowl bid, and BG and Ball State would be available for the third bowl game.

A scenario exists that four MAC teams could go bowling because of at-large possibilities in the Armed Forces and Texas bowls.

Ken Hoffman, executive director of the Motor City and International, said a formal announcement regarding either bowl will not be made until after the MAC championship game, at the earliest.

BG is 2-0 in recent bowl games, winning the Motor City in 2003 and the GMAC in 2004. The Falcons crushed Memphis 52-35 in the GMAC Bowl, which helps BG's chance for a return trip.

"There would be no hesitation at all to have them back if the selection committee picks them," Modarelli said. "I cannot tell you one negative thing about Bowling Green when they were here."

WANTS EXTENSION: Coach Gregg Brandon said yesterday he will seek a contract extension this offseason. Brandon's current deal expires after the 2008 season.

"Absolutely, and that's something I'm sure we'll sit down and talk about here in the not too distant future," Brandon said.

Brandon is 38-23, including two bowl wins, in his five years at BG. He makes a gross salary of $150,000 - third lowest among NCAA coaches, according to a study released last November by USA Today. Brandon will receive $5,000 if the Falcons make a bowl game and $2,000 more if he is named MAC coach of the year.

MAC VOTING: The results of the MAC postseason awards are expected to be released today and several Falcons could be represented on the first or second teams. Offensive linemen Kory Lichtensteiger will almost surely be honored, as could fellow linemen Drew Nystrom and Kevin Huelsman. Freddie Barnes, Tyler Sheehan, P.J. Mahone, Erique Dozier, Kenny Lewis and Sinisa Vrvilo have a shot as well. Brandon is a possibility for coach of the year.

Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour is the frontrunner to be named offensive player of the year. The sophomore threw for 3,175 yards and ran for 838.

ON THE ROAD: Brandon's entire staff was on the road recruiting yesterday while Brandon stayed in BG and evaluated film. Brandon expects to sign 14 players this year, a smaller number than usual.

"We can be selective, which I like to be every year. But we can be a little more [selective] this year," Brandon said.

MAHONE HONORED: Sophomore safety P.J. Mahone was named MAC East defensive player of the week for his role in BG's 37-10 win over Toledo. Mahone had two interceptions and 10 tackles in the game. His seven interceptions are tied for most in the MAC.

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