74th Sun Bowl: Oregon (8-4) vs. South Florida (9-3), 11 a.m. Pacific time today, Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas, KXL (750 AM), KOIN (6)

• Coach Mike Bellotti is optimistic that QB Dennis Dixon, who had knee surgery two weeks ago, can return for workouts for NFL teams and still be selected high in the April NFL draft. Kellen Clemens suffered a broken ankle and torn ligaments in November 2005 and went in the fourth round of the '06 draft. 'It was a six-month deal' like Dixon's, Bellotti says. 'The ACL reconstruction is different than an ankle reconstruction, to a degree, but both are serious injuries. Kellen did it. Everybody is going to wait and see on Dennis.'

• The Ducks had the 18th strongest schedule in the country, based on 2007 winning percentages. … Center Max Unger and rover Patrick Chung will start their 38th consecutive games in the Sun Bowl. … Coach Mike Bellotti is 23-23 against top 25 teams heading into the matchup with South Florida, which was ranked No. 23 by the Associated Press.

- Jason Vondersmith

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