Citing West Virginia’s strong ticket sales in their prior Gator Bowl appearances, the Austin American Statesman’s Suzanne Halilburton reported this afternoon the Mountaineers will travel to Jacksonville to face Georgia Tech instead of Texas.

After last night’s triple OT loss to West Virginia, Rutgers (10-2) is expected to play in the first-ever Texas Bowl, December 28 in Houston, versus either Oklahoma State or Texas Tech.

The Longhorns, writes Halliburton, will receive their official invite to the Dec. 30th Alamo Bowl later today, where they’ll take on Iowa (6-6).

Though the following excerpts from today’s column by Newsday’s John Jeansonne are about as revelatory as saying water is wet, some educators deserve a super-soaking just the same.

Though the nation’s top-ranked team, Ohio State, will be required to share its $14 million-to-$17 million bowl payday with its conference members, that school’s football operation already is working with a $22.2-million surplus for fiscal 2004-05. And Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist said he is confident that money will remain in the Ohio State athletic department – likely all in football.

“The NCAA, in effect, is a trade association for coaches and athletic directors,” said Zimbalist, one of the nation’s premier sports economists whose most recent book is “The Bottom Line: Observations and Arguments on the Sports Business.” “It’s true that just a handful of schools have a surplus, and the successful football programs that do generate a surplus, since there are no stockholders involved, find a way to spend it by adding to their tutoring budget or adding a new wing to their workout facility or putting in a bonus for this person or that.”

There are occasions when some football funds find their way into supporting other athletic programs, Zimbalist said, but even those bucks stop far short of the library or sociology department. And on the more common occasions when football programs lose money, athletic departments typically rein in budgets for other sports rather than trimming football.

Rutgers, for instance, is facing university-wide cuts and is eliminating six so-called non-revenue sports – such as tennis, swimming, crew and fencing – so that the suddenly bowl-bound football team, which is operating in the red, can maintain its current spending ($13.2 million in 2004-05).

“I don’t think anybody in his right mind,” Zimbalist said, “would say this does anything to fulfill the educational purpose.”