Jones returns home
Nov 27, 2012 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Southern Methodist University football coach June Jones was on the road outside of Dallas when the 808 area code popped up on his mobile device.
"Aloha!" Jones said.
Yes, you could say the former University of Hawaii head coach is looking forward to his return for the Dec. 24 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium.
"I'm excited about coming home," Jones said.
Monday, the Mustangs, who won four of their final six games to finish 6-6 and become bowl eligible, accepted an invitation to play a Mountain West Conference representative in the Christmas Eve game.
At 5-3, SMU finished second to Tulsa in the Conference USA West Division.
Fresno State (9-3, 7-1 MWC) is the most likely opponent for the Mustangs, although confirmation could come as late as Saturday.
The Bulldogs and Boise State (9-2, 6-1) are the only bowl-eligible MWC teams that have yet to get their bowl assignments.
The Broncos, who close their regular season against Nevada on Saturday, have an outside shot at playing in a Bowl Championship Series game.
Should Boise get placed in a BCS slot, Fresno State would replace the Broncos in the Las Vegas Bowl and San Jose State (10-2), the Western Athletic Conference runner-up, could emerge as the Mustangs' opponent here.
Jones didn't focus on an opponent, saying, "I'm just excited to come home."
Jones spent nine seasons (1999-2007) as UH head coach, departing in 2008 for SMU as Hawaii's winningest head coach (76-41).
During his tenure, Fresno State was one of UH's fiercest rivals. If SMU plays Fresno State, Jones joked, "I know there won't be any screwdrivers (thrown)."
Allegations of a 2002 screwdriver-throwing incident at Bulldog Stadium spiced the rivalry.
Jones said the Hawaii Bowl was the Mustangs' preferred destination for the postseason early on.
"We talked about it earlier in the year," Jones said. "It was where we wanted to go. We thought that even if we won the conference they (ESPN) would want us in Hawaii. So, we're excited about coming."
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