Senior College Football Columnist

La Tech AD explains why Bulldogs aren't going bowling

Best team staying home for the bowl season? Try 9-3 La. Tech. The Bulldogs have the nation's No. 1 offense, but they will get no postseason bowl game.

The reason why is where things get a bit murky.

It was reported by Yahoo! Sports that Tech turned down a chance to play in a bowl game because it didn't want to face rival Louisiana-Monroe, but La. Tech AD Bruce Van De Velde told CBSSports.com that's not accurate.

"We asked the Independence Bowl to let the games play out because we were told by the Heart of Dallas Bowl and the Liberty Bowls that they were very interested in us," said Van De Velde Sunday night. "They (the Independence Bowl reps) called us on Saturday and put a deadline on us. We thought there would be a spot open for us in one of those other bowls. We asked them to wait so we could vet out these other options, but they wouldn't."

Van De Velde says the Bulldogs got squeezed by a trickle down factor because NIU was going to the Orange Bowl, meaning Oklahoma got knocked out of a BCS Bowl and then the Big 12 was going to be able to fill more bowl slots. And, in the end, the Liberty Bowl selected 6-6 Iowa State over 9-3 La. Tech, he says.

"It wasn't not only a failure of the bowl system but it's also because our league, the WAC, has disintegrated," he says. "It's very much like being an independent. We thought we were in good position but it didn't turn out that way when they took Northern Illinois and it just filtered all the way down."

Asked about the report that Tech didn't want to face ULM being at the root of the Bulldogs ultimately staying home, Van De Velde said, "that was not a factor at all. We would've liked to be in a bowl."

Even if it meant playing ULM?

"Absolutely."

In hindsight, would the AD have told the Independence Bowl to wait had he known this might happen and his team could miss out on a bowl opportunity, he says he still would've done the same thing again. Van De Velde says because the program had played in the Independence Bowl in 2008 and then the Poinsettia Bowl last year, one of those bigger bowls seemed like the progression. "I think we still would've waited because we felt like that's what was best for our university."

Later Sunday night Tech coach Sonny Dykes tweeted: "I'm heartbroken for our 31 seniors that have given so much for Louisiana Tech. They deserve to finish their careers in a bowl game."

Van De Velde says he doesn't expect La. Tech to be in a similar predicament in the future since the school is moving on to Conference-USA, where it has five bowl tie-ins.


Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for CBSSports.com and college football commentator for CBS Sports Network. He is a New York Times Bestselling author, who has written books including Swing Your Sword, Meat Market and Cane Mutiny. Prior to joining CBS, Feldman spent 17 years at ESPN.
 
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