Blog Entry

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

Posted on: December 5, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 7:41 pm

The Sugar Bowl was actively seeking a trade of BCS teams with the Fiesta Bowl had Oklahoma beaten Oklahoma State, Sugar CEO Paul Hoolahan told on Monday.

Hoolahan said he was in contact with Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas about working the deal that would have brought Oklahoma to New Orleans in exchange for Oklahoma State. That would have relieved Oklahoma from so-called “Fiesta Fatigue” by taking the Sooners had they lost Saturday to Oklahoma State. Per BCS procedure, the Sugar would actually had to take Oklahoma State with the first overall pick then wait until the selection procedure was over before working the trade for the Sooners.

Oklahoma has been in the Fiesta Bowl three of the last five years. The Sooners have played in New Orleans once since 1972. That was the 2003 BCS title game against LSU. The trade, of course, was predicated on LSU and Alabama remaining 1-2 in the BCS. It is allowable per the BCS contract. 

The Sugar ended up with Michigan and Virginia Tech.

“I was working with Neinas throughout the week prior to selections on a possible Oklahoma trade …” Hoolahan said. “We had that greased and ready to go.”

“A lot of time was spent looking at that,” he added. “A lot of time was spent looking at similar situations regarding Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech’s name didn’t come in out of the blue.”

A second source from the Fiesta Bowl confirmed the trade talks. Neinas did not immediately return a call for comment. Because it lost both LSU and Alabama as SEC anchors, the Sugar had the first and third picks in the BCS process. Michigan was the first pick.

While the trade talk doesn’t directly address the reason why Kansas State was left out of the Sugar Bowl, it does begin to explain the Sugar Bowl’s thinking. It needed a so-called “anchor” team to pair with a second participant. Michigan became a worthy choice and the potential trade was off when Oklahoma State beat the Sooners.

The Wolverines return to New Orleans for the first time since 1984. If there are less than 10 automatic BCS qualifiers, teams ranked in the top 14 of the final BCS standings that have won at least nine games are eligible for at-large selection. That explains the leeway BCS bowls have in creating their best matchup. 

An Oklahoma win in Bedlam likely would have put a second Big 12 team (Oklahoma State) in the BCS.  

While ticket sales didn’t figure to be issue in either of the possible games involving Michigan -- Michigan-Virginia Tech or Michigan-Kansas State – there are always television considerations. It could have been that Virginia Tech was a slightly better TV draw.

Virginia Tech itself is suffering from its own “Orange Bowl Fatigue” having been to South Florida as the ACC champion three out of the last four years. Still, the college football world wanted to know Monday why Virginia Tech made it over the more accomplished and higher-ranked Wildcats.

The two-loss Hokies come to New Orleans fresh off a four-touchdown beatdown from Clemson in the ACC title game. Virginia Tech beat one team (Georgia Tech) ranked at the time in the top 20. Its own coach, Frank Beamer, barely voted the Hokies within BCS at-large eligibility on his coaches’ poll ballot at No. 13. At-large teams in the top 14 are considered.

Meanwhile, Kansas State is ranked higher (No. 8, BCS) guided by a national coach of the year candidate in Bill Snyder.

Without getting into specifics, Hoolahan said it was  a matter of familiarity with Tech. “A fond relationship,” he called it. The Sugar contributed $250,000 to the school after the tragic shootings in 2007. This is the third time since 2000 and fourth time since 1995 the Hokies have been to New Orleans.

The Sugar Bowl doesn’t have a large volunteer base (125) which could also play into the decision. Compare that to the Fiesta Bowl which claims a volunteer base of close to 3,000. The Sugar is double-hosting in this BCS rotation, responsible for two BCS games within seven days.

With SEC powerhouses LSU and Alabama in the championship game, it could be one of the biggest and busiest weeks ever for the Sugar Bowl infrastructure. Anything to make the job easier – i.e. selecting a known commodity in Virginia Tech – could help.

Hoolahan called it inviting a “long-time friend and partner.”

The Sugar could also feel it is owed the freedom to make such a pick. Since 2008, it has hosted non-BCS schools Hawaii and Utah as well as the Big East’s Cincinnati. Essentially, the Sugar Bowl may feel it shouldn’t be criticized when it has taken teams with ticket and TV draw issues in recent years.

Those are lingering consequences of the BCS that will start to be dealt with when the commissioners meet next Jan. 10 in New Orleans.


Since: Nov 29, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:21 pm

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

To everyone claiming KSU doesn't travel well enough:

Do some research.  KSU travels to bowl games better than pretty much any other school in the country.  We held the record at one time, when we brought 45,000 fans to the Cotton bowl (not sure if that's since been broken).

TV Market - fair enough, KSU is never going to do a lot there.  But if you look at the ratings for Va Techs bowl games versus KSU's, the ratings are actually pretty similar.  VT may have a slight advantage there, but it's very small.

And as far as winning consistently and proving we're more than a flash in the pan - oh, if only it were that simple.  KSU had 9-10 win seasons for about a decade in a row in the 90's, and we were still getting passed over for bowl games.  I agree that if we had won 10 games for the last 4 seasons, the Sugar might have felt a little more pressure to take us.  But history shows that they still probably wouldn't have.

Anyway, the Cotton bowl is a great bowl game, and actually provides a better opponent than the Sugar would have, so we shouldn't complain too much.

Since: Oct 4, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:09 pm

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

Michigan = FAIL..

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:21 pm


Just having a better record that year isn't enough to guarantee a BCS bowl.  Fair or unfair, a team's body of work over the last five or ten years is always taken into consideration.  Moreover, teams like Michigan and VT have been very good for a long time, and will get the nod over a "johnny-come-lately" with similar or slightly better credentials.  
Then, of course, there are considerations like how well a team "travels" and how compelling the matchup would be for television.  KSU loses in every department.  KSU needs to do three things if they want to be taken seriously:

1.  Bring a lot of fans to the Cotton Bowl.

2.  TCB and actually win the Cotton Bowl.

3.  Have a good year next year, too, proving that they are more than a "flash in the pan."

Until that happens, KSU won't get the elite slots.  That's just the way it is.   

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:23 am

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

Comment redux.  The Suga Bowl is a "long time friend and partner" of the OLD SOUTH- aka The Confederate States of America. Since 1951 there has been a school from the CSA in the Suga EVERY year. (yes...that includes the states of VA and Texas).  The Suga is the last bastion of the Old South. It seems "long time friend and partner" is PC code for cronyism.  Go figure.  My "BS fatigue" has worsened to "irritable Bowl syndrome".  

Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:01 am

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

This is why the BCS and the bowl system get so much bad press. An anchor team or better TV draw is why a team is selected to a BCS bowl game. ESPN and CBS Sports tell us it is about the best matchups but it is about teams without ticket and TV draw issues. So how can we have a playoff system when it is all about the money? I wish our sports news people would tell us the truth and stop trying to make us feel it is about competition.

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:51 am

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

This Hoolahan clown is keeping the BS in BCS.  I am suffering from "BS fatigue".  The Sugar Bowl is "OWED the freedom to choose" (unworthy schools)?  Hawaii, Utah and Cincy each played SEC schools- as I recall. And all sellouts.  And isn't TV $$ guaranteed? What is the Bowl's share of TV revenue and ad revenue? The avg price of a Bowl ticket is what...$100? Let's see the figures. I say OCCUPY SUGAR BOWL"!!!  I will NOT watch.  

Since: Nov 26, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:32 am

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

If the Sugar execs had any brains they would have invited WVU to face Michigan to set up a Rich Rod hate-fest bowl! Besides, wasn't WVU a good enough "partner" for them when they won the Sugar a few years back? I guess the Sugar didn't have "a fond relationship" with the Mountaineers.

Since: Dec 5, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:09 am

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

Interesting analysis.  Nowhere in your evaluation did I see your loss to Iowa? So you lost to average of 12 PLUS Iowa (ranking somewhere way outside the top 25) and beat 20 and 22.  KSU still has better numbers.  Let's look at the oddsmakers analysis of KSU this year: KSU was a dog in 8 of their last 10 and covered all but the OU game.  Won all but OSU and OU.  Does Bryan Power really know who should win?

As for the economic argument, KSU had huge crowds at the Fiesta bowl which is a longer trip than NOLA.  We may not have as big an alumni base as Michigan, but you can certainly argue that it would be  a better game.  All that said, I have less problem with Michigan than VT.  They beat nobody this year and are coming off an ass-kicking from Clemson for the second time.  We will see who has more fans at their bowl game.  I will come back and eat my words if VT has anywhere close to the number of fans KSU has.

Since: Nov 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:09 am

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

They wanted an easier opponent for michigan thats why they took VT instead of other better qualified teams.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:45 am

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

"The BCS is NOT, nor was it ever, intended to place the top 10 (or 8, back until a few years ago) teams in their 5 (or 4) games." So wrote Statalyzer, truly a wise man, who knows the obvious when he sees it, and can keep it in his head from one year to the next. (Those who do not learn history are condemned to repeat it.) The entire reality of the BCS, that so many rail against, arose DIRECTLY as a consequence of the NCAA's assumed monopoly of the TV rights of its member schools. It was the SEC, ACC, and SWC in particular that chafed under that reality. so they sued in Federal court, on grounds of antitrust and free trade. And won. And so here we are today. And not millions of perpetual malcontents, Coach Peterson, nor any number of camera-humping Congressmen is likely to make the AQ Presidents do their bidding. (Especially not so long as the Pac-12 and the B1G hold fast to their proud legacy relationships with the Granddaddy of All Bowl Games. And don't doubt that the other BCS venues are grateful for that special relationship, without which Texas and the SEC would likely find a way to just bulldoze whatever tatters of tradition remain outside of their own football stadiums.)

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