by Paul Grossinger
(Balt, Md )
This years' edition of the Fiesta Bowl was, in my mind, the worst BCS bowl game I have ever watched. Over a decade of watching college football, I have seen any number of terrible games. Truth be told, I even enjoyed some of them since, as a Michigan fan, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ohio State lay eggs in its three bowl games from 2006-8 and was looking forward to a fourth until Oregon disappointed me. That said, there have also been any number that were irredeemably awful but this year's “battle of the un-beatens” was the worst because it failed in all areas.
To begin with, the game itself was bad. Really bad. It was the worst kind of a snoozer since it was low scoring because of sloppy play rather than defensive efficiency. There were four penalties, six incompletions, and three punts in the first eighteen plays alone and it never picked up from there. Ultimately, I'm pretty sure I fell asleep and woke up just in time to get excited for a late TCU rally that ended, unsurprisingly, in an interception. All in all a horribly played game.
That said, there have been plenty of awful snoozers in the past. What makes this one exceptional is that it failed from its inception and its creation at the Bowl Selections was a travesty against all true fans of college football. In an age where pro sports are dominated, as Tim Donaghy revealed on 60 minutes, by greed and rigging, we love college football for the fantasy, however untrue, that we hold which allows us to believe that college sports are the pinnacle of genuine (unpaid) athletic competition. Every fan who still, however illogically, believes in that notion wanted the BCS to rise above itself and allow the fans to see TCU and Boise State, the unbeaten mid-majors, square off against big name teams in two separate BCS bowls and determine, once and for all, if the mid-majors were worthy of being ranked alongside and playing with the big boys. Instead, the BCS gave all college football fans the middle finger by placing the two squads against one another and, once again, denying everyone to see the true firepower of the non-BCS powerhouses.
Ultimately, the whole travesty was lackluster and sad. Neither team showed up to play and both looked like a pair of high school squads from Vermont. In the end, Boise State ended a historic 14-0 but, as intended, really proved nothing. And, while it is true that neither team looked like a contender Monday night, neither did Oregon (routed by OSU) or Cincinnati (gutted, spitted, and roasted by the Gators) so that doesnt really prove much. All we know is that, instead of being given the opportunity to watch something historic, fans were treated to a game that ought to have been blacked out after its eighteenth play.