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: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:21 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

But that's just it...they would rather have only one of these teams unbeaten; and they would definitely rather guarantee that by having them play each other, which will only lead to the critics saying, "See, we told you Boise (or TCU) wasn't good enough...they couldn't even beat TCU (or Boise)."  You know what I mean?  Otherwise, if TCU kills Iowa and Boise whips Ga Tech, or vice versa, you have them both unbeaten and coming off beating a BCS-conference team.  I think the powers-that-be would much rather take their chances with only one of these teams finishing unbeaten and being able to say that they "only" beat each other, "but see non-BCS schools DO get a chance."  Meanwhile, you'd still have the people out there who say "TCU didn't play anyone..."  I guess their selection to the Fiesta Bowl against Boise will also be their fault, just like their conference alignment.  Let's just ignore their talent...

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.
But I will ask...What is so great about Iowa? A team that beat Northern Iowa at home by 1 and Arkansas State at home by 3 and Michigan at home by 2 and an average Michigan State team on the road by 2...I see a bunch of games that could have gone either way; and if they did, the Hawkeyes would be an afterthought.
I am definitely not saying Iowa doesn't deserve a spot in a BCS bowl...frankly, I don't care. But, for some Iowa fans to claim that Iowa would destroy TCU, with nothing to base that on, is just ignorant.

Since: Nov 28, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:11 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

I'm sure when it comes right down to it, both TCU and Boise are unhappy with this matchup.  Their whole seasons were based on the idea that, if they went undefeated, they would get a BCS bowl bid and stack up against a high ranked BCS team.  To have to play each other is self-defeating...literally.  I'm sure the Fiesta bowl officials were well aware of what they were doing when they chose those two teams.  It will be interesting to see what the final BCS poll will look like, since an unbeaten non-BCS school is going to emerge from the fiesta bowl.  If Cinci loses, and one unbeaten emerges from the NCG game, there could be two (and possibly three) teams that could lay claim to the national championship, especially if the winner in Pasadena doesn't win decisively.  Does the BCS have the balls to rank a Boise or a TCU as number 1 at the end of the season?  We shall see.

Since: Jan 12, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:09 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

No conspiracy here, just more dumb thinking by bowl officials. What have been the greatest BCS bowls? How about those BCS championship games, with the rumored top two teams facing each other? Nah, other than Texas-USC. But these two games did more for college football than any other ever: Boise State beats Oklahoma in the Fiesta and Utah beats Alabama in the Sugar. Why? The great story line, of course: Underdog bites Big Dog. So, why didn't the BCS bowl officials see the obvious value of pairing Boise State and TCU against the big dogs from the SEC, ACC or Big Ten? Because they're bowl officials, that's why, and the pedigree for making wise decisions by these guys isn't exactly perfect. What would have been the two most-watched bowl games ... TCU vs. Florida and Boise State vs. Iowa ... never had a chance of happening. Too bad, because college football ... and its fans ... suffer as a result.

Since: Sep 24, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:09 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Is that a joke? Iowa would lose to TCU by at least two touchdowns.

Since: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:02 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

I don't think the spin doctors thought this all the way through. No matter which team wins the TCU-Boise State game , that team will remain undefeated and still say that they should lay claim to at least part of the Natl. Championship. And rightfully so, Bama and Texas were simply presumed to be better because they play in one of the big name conferences, the Big 12 and the SEC. Until there is a playoff sysytem for at least 8 teams, the BCS sysytem will continue to be a joke.

Since: May 6, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:00 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

You're joking, right?

Since: Dec 5, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 4:57 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

I agree with Dodd Yawn

Since: Aug 8, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 4:54 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

The BC$ knew exactly what they were doing. They wanted to make sure Cincy, TCU and Boise didn't all end up undefeated by beating "Power" BC$ conference teams and create more ammo against the cartel. Now TCU and Boise have to play at the "Kids Table". TCU or Boise will still be undefeated but the BC$ will say that they have no argument to be # 1 because they haven't beat anyone and their schedule is soft. 
This is what the Non BC$ schools get for playing by the BC$'s rules, Screwed, again.

Since: Dec 5, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 4:53 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

True to form RL, you have my respect.  Now go kill LSU and stop all this anti-Big Ten drivel.


Since: Dec 5, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2009 4:52 pm

The Fiesta Bowl situation

Because all the other teams looked sooo much better then Iowa right?  Especially Texas who should have lost to Nebraska.  Who did Nebraska lose to this year... Iowa State?  I remember Iowa trouncing them like 35 - 3.  If you are looking for an overrated conference look at the Big 12 before you start spouting the Big Ten sucks crap.  I would actually like to hear who you would propose to fill Iowa's BCS spot.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or