KNOXVILLE, TENN., Dec. 1 (UP) -- Tennessee clinched an automatic Gator Bowl invitation by beating Vanderbilt, but Texas A&M may have slipped into the Jacksonville, Fla., classic by dint of a smudged phone number.
Joe Livingston, a member of the Gator Bowl selection committee, said chairman Sam Wolfson wrote down the numbers of Aggie coach Bear Bryant and Texas athletic director Ed Olle on a slip of paper.
When Wolfson started placing his calls Saturday afternoon, he intended to call Olle first and offer an invitation to the Gator Bowl on Dec. 28. He and the rest of the 11-man committee were convinced that the Sugar Bowl already had a commitment from A&M.
He could not read Olle's number, which was smudged, and placed a call to Bryant in Houston, Tex. Bryant, whose Aggies had a better season record than the Texas Longhorns, accepted.
"Bryant appeared to be miffed at the Sugar Bowl for some reason," Livingston said. It may have been that the Sugar Bowl officials kept both Texas and Texas A&M dangling until the last minute.
Postscript: The Aggies lost 3-0 to Tennessee in Bryant's final game at A&M. Ole Miss pounded Texas 39-7 in the Sugar Bowl.