The Bluebonnet Bowl folks broke out smiling yesterday over a much more attractive matchup than anticipated for the Dec. 31 Houston Astrodome date. Pending final clearance from the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, the Bluebonnet had the Irish accepting (if they beat Air Force this week) an engagement with the Southwest Conference runner-up (SMU or Arkansas) . . . Also new: Texas as North Carolina's opponent in the Sun Bowl; Tulsa vs. Saturday's Miami-N.C. State victor in the Independence Bowl . . .

Oklahoma has extra reason to be glad of its week off before its Big Eight title go with Nebraska. Sensational freshman tailback Marcus Dupree hospitalized with a heavy chest cold; fullback Stanley Wilson trying to shake off a mild concussion . . . Atop the Harvard-Penn flap, this from Texas Tech, after SMU's last-minute, 34-27 victory: Tech's athletic director, John Conley, says, "I've been in this conference 21 years and I've never complained to the media about officiating. After being around football as long as I have you learn to expect it (poor officiating) when you are on the road or you are not in a position to win a championship. But it's a crying shame when a great football game is decided by an official's bad call or lack of call." Conley says the SWC has "some old, incompetent officials who need to go." Conley is chairman of the SWC officials committee.