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Published: Thursday, 11/30/2000

Vegas Bowl re-thinks UT


Gary Pinkel probably won't be around to coach the University of Toledo football team if it secures a bowl berth Sunday.

Pinkel will be named Missouri's coach today and is expected to begin his duties with the school almost immediately after the 3 p.m. news conference in Columbia, Mo.

Meanwhile, Rick Chryst, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, UT athletic director Pete Liske and associate athletic director Mike Karabin are scheduled to fly to Las Vegas today to meet with officials from the Las Vegas Bowl.

The Las Vegas Bowl became interested in UT (10-1) as an at-large team after it moved into the Top 25 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls this past weekend.

Asked last night if he would be making the trip, given Pinkel's pending departure, Liske was uncertain.

“It would all depend on what happens,” he said. “Right now, my only thinking is to do all I can do to get a bowl game for this football team. These kids deserve it.”

The Las Vegas Bowl will be played Dec. 21 and pits an at-large team against the Mountain West Conference runner-up. Chryst had tried to sell MAC to the Las Vegas Bowl officials last month. At the time, interest was minimal.

The Las Vegas Bowl pays the NCAA minimum of $750,000 per team.

The Rockets also have an outside chance to land an at-large berth in the Silicon Valley Football Classic, to be played Dec. 31 in San Jose, Calif.

UT, though, needs some help to qualify. If UNLV wins its finale at Hawaii Saturday, the Rebels would become bowl eligible and qualify for the Las Vegas Bowl. Meanwhile, Air Force would qualify as the Mountain West's third-place team and would battle the Western Athletic Conference runner-up.

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