Despite a five-game losing streak, the Oregon State football team will be spending Christmas in Hawaii as the Beavers accepted a bid to take part in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24 on Sunday.
The Beavers (6-6) will take on Northwest rival Boise State at 5 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN.
This will be the Beavers’ eighth bowl game under coach Mike Riley. OSU is 5-2 in the previous seven but has lost the last two — 2009 to BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl and last year in the Alamo Bowl to Texas.
“I am thrilled that our football team has an opportunity to play another game at an exciting destination against an outstanding opponent in Boise State,” Riley said in a statement. He was recruiting and unavailable to the media on Sunday night.
“The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl has a great tradition and we are excited to bring our team, which features several natives of the great state of Hawaii, to represent the Pac-12 Conference.”
It will be a homecoming for several OSU players, including defensive end Titus Failauga from Waipahu, linebacker Manase Hungalu from Kailua-Kona, defensive end Devon Kell from Hilo, defensive tackle Ali’i Robins from Ewa Beach and starting defensive tackle Mana Rosa from Haiku.
Defensive line coach Joe Seumalo, graduate assistant coach Tavita Thompson and administrative assistant Aaron Nichols are from Honolulu. Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh served in the same role for the Rainbow Warriors from 1999-2004, wide receivers coach Brent Brennan was a graduate assistant at Hawaii in 1998 and his cousin Colt Brennan was a record-setting quarterback at UH. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker was Hawaii’s outside linebackers and special teams coach in 1995.
The Beavers will be playing in the postseason in Hawaii for the fourth time. OSU lost to Hawaii, 23-17, in the 1999 O’ahu Bowl and defeated UH in the non-NCAA sanctioned 1949 Pineapple Bowl, 47-27, and in the 1940 Pineapple Bowl, 39-6.
Boise State, which finished the regular season 8-4, will be without coach Chris Petersen, who on Monday became the head coach at Washington. Linebackers coach Bob Gregory will serve as interim coach.
The Broncos have several connections to OSU on their coaching staff including associate head coach Chris Strausser, who was OSU’s wide receivers coach in 1990-91, and quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith, who led the Beavers to an 11-1 season and Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame in the 2000 season.
The Beavers and Broncos have met seven times with OSU holding a 4-3 advantage. The Broncos won the last game — Sept. 25, 2010 — in Boise, 37-24, and are scheduled to travel to Corvallis for the next regular season meeting Sept. 24, 2016.
The Beavers will return to Aloha Stadium on Sept. 6 for Game 2 of the 2014 season against the Rainbow Warriors.
Fans attending the bowl game can also catch the OSU men’s basketball team in action as the Beavers take part in the Diamond Head Classic at the University of Hawaii from Dec. 22-25.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Oregon State football program to represent the Pac-12 Conference at a region this university has strong ties to,” OSU athletic director Bob De Carolis said in a statement. “The state of Hawaii has a strong presence on the OSU campus and this presents another opportunity to strengthen that relationship. Beaver Nation is excited for the opportunity and I anticipate a strong showing of orange and black during the bowl week festivities and at the Diamond Head Classic where coach (Craig) Robinson’s team will be playing during the same time frame.”