Blog Entry

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Posted on: December 7, 2009 3:07 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2009 4:43 pm

I want to believe the Fiesta Bowl is breaking new ground with matching TCU and Boise against each other. It has more than a 35-year history of thinking out of the box.

Remember Miami-Penn State in 1987? That was a Fiesta-arranged meeting between No. 1 and No. 2. Right or wrong, Louisville filled a void in 1991 when the Martin Luther King holiday controversy raged.

So what are we supposed to make of TCU-Boise State? The bowl says the game is a ratings winner for TV. The stats say that last year’s Poinsettia Bowl between the same two teams was the 15th highest rated bowl.

The bowl says it’s a chance to match up a couple of unbeaten non-BCS teams. In that sense, Orrin Hatch, the schools, the Mountain West and Congress can’t complain. The alternative was playing a two-loss team from a major conference.

That’s what TCU and Boise probably wanted but neither school can complain either. They are playing the highest ranked team available -- except that they aren’t. The ideal matchup would be TCU vs. Cincinnati. But as executive director John Junker explained Cincinnati is like a long-distance girlfriend, not very geographically desirable.

OK, so this isn’t the best matchup. It isn’t particularly a TV ratings winner either, although TCU-Cincinnati would be worse.

Here’s a working theory based on nothing but conjecture …

 There was some low-level pressure from spin doctor Ari Fleischer, the BCS’ p.r. king, to keep the kids away from the adult table. That’s assuming that Fleischer knew enough about the system to suggest a Boise-TCU game. (Nothing personal, Ari. Ninety-nine percent of the country doesn’t get the BCS.)

The point being, that such a game would reduce the yelp from critics to almost zero.

 The four BCS bowl directors “colluded” to dump TCU and Boise in the desert. That keeps the embarrassment factor for all the BCS bowls to a minimum.

 With Cincinnati, Boise and TCU in separate bowls, the possibility exists of three unsettling upsets by non-traditional programs. Now the number is down to one, if Cincy beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

I don’t give the BCS bowl honchos that much credit. They’re in this for the individual gain of their bowls. If they’re in the business of helping other bowls, this instance would be the first time ever.

On the other hand, the Fiesta wasn’t exactly crowing (privately, that is) about having to take Utah in 2004 and Boise in 2006. Suddenly, a school with 40,000 living alumni (TCU) and one from the Idaho hinterlands (Boise) are appointment television?

Something doesn’t fit here.

Final verdict: We’ll have to take the Fiesta at its word. At the end of the day, it’s trying to get as many people in the Valley of the Sun for as long as possible to spend a lot of money.

As a fan, the alternatives – Iowa-Boise, Iowa-TCU – don’t do much for me. We already know that Boise and TCU are probably better than Iowa.

Now if one of those schools were matched up against Florida in the Sugar Bowl?

Category: NCAAF

Since: Jul 5, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:39 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Iowa vs. GT is going to be the lowest rated bowl this year. Nobody outside of the squakeye state wants to see this boring team get stomped. Iowa isn't that good (ask the perennial powers that are Northern Iowa and Arkansas State). They were a product of a weak big 10. If they would've played Ohio State at the beginning of the year, nobody would've payed attention to them afterwards. Nobody outside of the state of Iowa cares about Iowa. To think they could demolish a TCU or Boise is completely ridiculous. TCU has been dominating teams on both sides of the ball all year long and Boise took down Oregon when both teams were at full strength (Oregon would beat Iowa by 3 td's).

Will someone please send all of the Iowa fans back to the corn fields and take away their internet access.

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:36 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Those of you who say Iowa would have no chance against TCU or Boise State know nothing about Iowa.  Let those teams play a grueling BIG 10 schedule plus Arizona plus Iowa State and lets see what their record would be then.  
I bet either team would be no better than .500.    Iowa will give a good game to anyone they play.  They haven't been clobbered by anyone in the last 2 years plus they were the only Big 10 team to win their bowl game last year against a favored SEC opponent I might add.  I'm tired of all the Iowa bashing on here.  Let them play the game and then come here and talk smack otherwise you might be eating a lot of crow like so many others before you. 

Since: Dec 5, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:36 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Who knows if Cincinnati is better than TCU is better than Iowa is better than Oregon?  They hardly ever play any common opponents - they live in their conference box - so it's all conjecture.Finally some intelligence.

Since: Dec 5, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:34 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Meanwhile, the people who say "Iowa would destroy TCU," or whatever was said above...that's pretty funny.  Comments like that just make no have no reason to say that. Just like I really have no reason to say TCU would throttle Iowa up and down the field.  Why? Because we won't see them play.Braves... Iowa fans (not I) probably say this crap because of the vomit spewed from others who are supposed to be prominent sports writers ie:
As a fan, the alternatives – Iowa-Boise, Iowa-TCU – don’t do much for me. We already know that Boise and TCU are probably better than Iowa.

Since: Feb 10, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:31 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

I couldn't agree more.  Every year we have to endure too many non competitive Big Ten teams in bowl games due to tradition.  The conference sucks. 

Since: Mar 23, 2007
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:30 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

As a college football fan, this has been the worst year I can remember for evaluating teams.  Nobody in this year's BCS schedule played anyone out of conference besides Ohio St. (lost to USC) and Boise St./Oregon (Boise beat Oregon).  So we're left with a bunch of conference homers arguing a point that's impossible to make: their conference is the best, so their schedule is the toughest, and nobody outside their conference could possibly have a good record if they played the quality opponents that we play every week.  It's a tired and silly argument because teams from the Big 6 rarely ever venture out of conference during the regular season to face difficult opponents.  I give credit to Ohio St., because it's not unusual for them to open the season against a quality out of conference school like USC or Texas.  But because these games are so rare during the regular season, it's incredibly difficult to accurately rate the teams, especially if you never actually see them play.  The BCS scheduling is a complete crapshoot.  Who knows if Cincinnati is better than TCU is better than Iowa is better than Oregon?  They hardly ever play any common opponents - they live in their conference box - so it's all conjecture.  And that so much rides on preseason ranking, which is based on what people expect from a team rather than what they've done, makes it all the more ludicrous. 

A playoff is the only viable solution, because teams are so unwilling to play difficult games OOC. 

As for the BCS pitting Boise St. vs. TCU - every decision they make is based on money, not conspiracy.  I would really like to see what each of these schools could do against Florida or Alabama, etc., but neither BSU or TCU travels well, and the ratings for non-Big 6 teams in the BCS in years past suggests they don't get the viewership the bigger schools get.  The BCS likely thought it was better to put them together to prevent 2 ratings bombs instead of 1.  And anyway, last year's Poinsettia Bowl was a great game, so I expect this matchup to be very entertaining. 

Since: Feb 10, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:29 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Have you checked the Big Ten Bowl Records this decade??  It is safe to say these two teams are better than Iowa and PSU.

Sorry and I really like Iowa

Since: Dec 3, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:28 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

I agree that the Big-10 is down this year, but I think you will be surprised by how talented Iowa is. Before Stanzi got injured they were headed for an undefeated season. I wouldn't be surprised if the Hawkeyes pull off the upset in the Fiesta.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:23 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Instead of giving us your biased opinion, why don't you state who that team would be and why.  Then back up your answer with facts and statistics.  Would have given your statement a lot more if any credibility.

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:22 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

I was just discussing this same theory with a co-worker earlier, and then I read your article.  You wrote that the BCS bowl honchos are in it for the individual gain of their bowls.  Although I agree, in this particular instance they’re in it to protect the ridiculous BCS system.  How much ammo would non-BCS conferences have if Boise was pitted against Cincinnati and won, and TCU against UF and won?  Those match-ups are much more appealing, especially since TCU and Boise is a rematch from last year where TCU handed Boise their only loss.  Because of selective memory loss of the recent BCS “upsets” of Alabama and Oklahoma, BCS proponents still argue that non-BCS teams can’t compete against top BCS teams, much less the bottom dwellers.  This was another perfect opportunity to allow top non-BCS teams to put up or shut up against top BCS teams and the bowl selection committees blew it.  There are 5 undefeated teams, but only two are given the opportunity to play for the NC based on computer rankings where the top 2 teams had the advantage because they started higher in the early season subjective polls.  Further, this year is another failed year for the BCS because there will be at least 2 undefeated teams at the end of the season, possibly 3, which means no true NC; another perfect example of why there needs to be a playoff.  BCS proponents can argue all they want that non-BCS teams can’t compete, but even with Georgia’s blowout of Hawaii, non-BCS teams are 3-1 in BCS bowls against BCS teams.  Thanks to the BCS scheisters, we won’t find out if they can continue to compete against top BCS teams this year.  Remember, it’s about who is the best team this year, all previous years, conference affiliations, history, and tradition don’t and shouldn't matter.  I believe pitting Boise against TCU was done to minimize damage control and protect the BCS.    

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