Will a Pack of Trojans Descend Upon San Francisco?

Categories: Sports

You aren't going to snag Brittney Spears -- she of the new, bionic body -- for a date. But after she shaved her head and tossed detritus at passers-by? That was the time to ask.

That's sort of how Gary Cavelli sees things. The chairman of the Emerald Bowl, to be played Dec. 26 at AT&T Park, Cavelli never dreamed he'd have the chance to offer a command invitation to the mighty USC Trojans. And yet that's just what he did; the 8-4 Trojans will face off vs. Boston College right here in the city by the bay.

"We never thought we'd have the chance to pick 'em," said Cavelli -- who notes that, once his bowl offered a bid to USC, the school was essentially mandated to accept. "Having said that, we love Cal. It was not an easy choice; we were agonizing all night. And Oregon State was also in the picture. But the Trojans are a national brand. We went with the once in a lifetime opportunity to pick USC."

The big question is, will USC fans show up for a low-on-the-totem-pole bowl after a terrible year by school standards or simply stay home and do whatever it is USC people do while concentrating on next year? Cavelli, obviously, is pining for the former (so are area merchants). And he thinks history may prove his optimisim is well-founded.

When a thoroughly mediocre UCLA team played in the Emerald Bowl in 2006, the game sold out. Two years ago, 33,000 tickets were sold for the thoroughly "huh?" matchup of Oregon State and Maryland. And last year's Cal-Miami matchup, not surprisingly, required the addition of extra seats into the stadium. With UCLA as a precedent, Cavelli believes it's not far-fetched for hordes of Trojans -- and transplanted Trojans -- to descend upon Mission Bay.

"UCLA brought about 16,000 or 17,000 up from L.A. We're hoping for a similar draw from SC this year," he said. "Our expectations are 10,000 and maybe even 15,000.

"What else are you doing on December 26?" he implores. "Returning gifts at Macy's?"

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