Brut Sun Bowl logoWhile just about everyone is predicting that the UConn Huskies will end up in Toronto playing in the International Bowl, a win over the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday afternoon could change things a little bit. Of course if Pittsburgh wins, they will represent the Big East in the Sun Bowl.

Chip Malafronte of the New Haven Register was able to talk with John Folmer who is the chairman of the Sun Bowl. Folmer said if UConn can win on Saturday, it’s quite conceivable the Huskies could receive a bid to play in El Paso on New Year’s Eve.

If UConn knocks off Pitt AND West Virginia loses to South Florida, it becomes a three-way race for the Sun Bowl bid. The three? Pitt, West Virginia and UConn, who would all be 4-3 in the Big East. Rutgers, despite a potential 5-2 conference mark and second-place all to itself in that scenario, is apparently already out of the picture.

“I don’t think Rutgers would be the best choice,” Folmer said. “A 6-6 Rutgers team is kind of hard to take, especially over teams that would be 8-4.”

Should Rutgers, UConn and South Florida all win, Folmer said, he and Olivas would scrap the post-game ceremony and retreat to their hotel room to initiate a conference call with the bowl committee. Whoever gets the majority vote gets the invitation, and Folmer and Olivas would inform the Big East that evening.

“We’d have to decide on a head-to-head basis to see who would be best,” Folmer said. “Connecticut brings a lot to the table; the New York (television) market and the eastern market, which is important.”

Based on what Folmer said, overall records play a large factor in the choice. UConn and Pitt may have the edge because both will be 8-4 overall while West Virginia would be 7-5. Plus, UConn will have beaten the Panthers (as well as conference champ Cincinnati). All three teams have some star power, with Shady McCoy of Pitt, Pat White of West Virginia and Donald Brown of UConn (though White has the most name recognition right now, and will certainly keep the Mountaineers in the discussion despite a possible 7-5 record).

“With UConn, you get a team that has won their way into a bowl game as opposed to a team that has lost their way into a bowl game,” Folmer said. “It makes a big difference on attitude (with the committee). Quite frankly, all these bowls are concerned with how many tickets they can sell. We don’t have that problem in El Paso. We sell all the tickets we can sell locally and usually ask the teams to take a little under 8,000. If they can’t sell all of them, that’s not a problem because we can certainly get rid of them.”

Personally, I think no matter what, UConn ends up in the International Bowl. Although it will be nice to muddle up the picture just a little bit.