Maturi, Fox yet to meet regarding Alamo snub

by Brett Angel

The question of exactly why the Alamo Bowl decided to select Michigan State over Minnesota will remain with Athletics Director Joel Maturi for at least one more day.

The discussion between Minnesota’s athletics director and Alamo Bowl President Derrick Fox, scheduled to take place Monday, was delayed as Maturi traveled to New York for a College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

“I e-mailed him earlier (Monday) morning when I got into the office and it’s my understanding that he’s anxious to talk,” Maturi said.

It’s no secret that a traditionally poor fan-following was Minnesota’s weakest link when it came to the selection process, and Fox said “there’s no doubt” attendance numbers played an integral part in the decision.

Minnesota averaged about 30,000 fewer people per home game this season than Michigan State.

But rather than hear the same criticism he has listened to since the bowl speculation began after the Gophers’ season-ending loss to Iowa three weeks ago, Maturi hopes to receive a little more insight from Fox.

“We just need to find out what we need to do to change that image,” Maturi said.

Fox, meanwhile, had nothing but praise for Maturi and the Minnesota administration for the way they handled themselves in their own marketing campaign.

“There’s a new regime in charge at Minnesota,” Fox said. “They’ve done a tremendous job in getting the program to where it is currently, and I think you’ll see it continue to grow and continue to be in the bowl picture.”

Fox declined to elaborate on the specifics of the Alamo Bowl selection committee’s decision to pick the Spartans, saying the final choice wasn’t made until about 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

“This was one of the more difficult choices we’ve had to make in the 11 years I’ve been here,” Fox said. “Unfortunately we can only take one of two teams in that scenario but both are very deserving.”

Hamilton out

Glen Mason confirmed Friday that wide receiver Paris Hamilton will not play against Oregon in the Sun Bowl.

Hamilton, a junior college transfer originally slated as starting wide receiver opposite Aaron Hosack this season, suffered a knee injury shortly before fall camp and did not play a snap all season.

Coaches hinted in recent weeks that Hamilton might be able to play in the team’s bowl game, but Mason said Friday that Hamilton is not fully recovered and will not play against the Ducks on Dec. 31.

Big Ten teams set record

For the first time in Big Ten history, eight schools will represent the conference in bowl games.

The Big Ten has sent seven teams to bowl games five times in the past 10 years.

Conference champion Michigan and Ohio State earned slots in the Bowl Championship Series. The Wolverines will play top-ranked Southern California in the Rose Bowl.

The Buckeyes return to where they won the national championship a year ago – Tempe, Ariz. – and will face Big 12 champion Kansas State.

Purdue and Iowa are the other Big Ten teams playing New Year’s Day. The Boilermakers accepted an invitation to play in the Capital One Bowl against Georgia. The Hawkeyes will play in the Outback Bowl against Florida.

Wisconsin (Music City Bowl) and Northwestern (Motor City Bowl) are the final two teams that earned bowl invitations besides Minnesota and Michigan State.