This Fiesta Bowl business may have a political bent or two to it.
If you’re a left-winger, you’re more likely to believe what Keith Olbermann says than not. If you’re a right-winger, Rush Limbaugh probably often tells you what you want to hear.
And as in political commentary, the actual truth is usually difficult to locate. Especially when no one knows what it is.
Some will tell you Boise State is a Fiesta Bowl lock. Some will say Iowa is likewise. Others think Oklahoma State is Phoenix-bound if it wins at Oklahoma Saturday. Let’s look a potpourri of predictions and opinions.
Don Borst of Foxsports.com says Oklahoma State is a win in Norman from a trip to Glendale and Penn State will then surface in the Orange Bowl. Borst writes:
Cowboys have had a series of injuries to go along with the ineligibility of star wideout Dez Bryant, yet they’ve gotten all the way to the Bedlam game with a chance to finish 10-2. Beat the Sooners in Norman on Saturday, and they’ll almost surely get a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. If OSU beats Oklahoma, it will probably be tabbed for the Fiesta Bowl against TCU, while the Orange Bowl will get Penn State against the ACC champion . . .
An OSU defeat would leave the Fiesta to most likely snag Iowa or Penn State, but rather than TCU (which would be snapped up as the first at-large choice by the Orange), the game in Phoenix would probably have Boise State.
This is the “double BCS-buster” scenario that at one time seemed very unlikely, but given the way the Pac-10 and ACC beat up one another, the Fiesta would have few other reasonable options.
Mark Schlabach and Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com agree Boise State will play in the Fiesta. But Feldman says Iowa will be the Broncos’ opponent, while Schlabach says Penn State will get the invitation. Feldman sees the Hawkeyes playing Mississippi in the Capital One Bowl.
Both project Iowa State going to the Independence Bowl. Schlabach says the Cyclones will meet South Carolina. Feldman says Georgia.
But ESPN.com’s Big 12 blogger, Tim Griffin, sees Iowa State going higher up that conference’s bowl chain.
Griffin, who does excellent work, by the way, has the Cyclones playing in the Insight Bowl. He also has Oklahoma State in the Fiesta. I realize Oklahoma has fallen on hard times, but are the Sooners really expected to lose to their state-rivals at home?
Meanwhile, yet another ESPN.com writer weighs in. Adam Rittenberg predicts Iowa will go to the Fiesta.
Ted Lewis of the New Orleans Times-Picayune is forecasting a different scenario than any of the above. He is not only putting Iowa in the Orange Bowl, but against Clemson, which would have to upset Georgia Tech in the Dec. 5 ACC title game. Writes Lewis:
Fiesta officials were at the Oklahoma State-Colorado game and Cowboys Athletic Director Mike Holder reported that his team is looked on very favorably.
Iowa also is very attractive to the Fiesta because of the large number of Hawkeye state natives in the Phoenix area and has never played in the Fiesta Bowl.
Complicating matters is the fact the Orange Bowl’s at-large pick comes between the Fiesta’s two, and the Orange isn’t likely to pass on Iowa.
Think everyone concerned isn’t hoping for an upset or two over the last two weekends that might uncomplicated things?
Fiesta Bowl — TCU vs. Oklahoma State. Conference blood proves thicker than water, and with the Orange Bowl jumping on Iowa, the Fiesta opts for TCU over Cincinnati.
Let me repeat the lead to my Sunday column on the Fiesta Bowl’s likely pairings:
Nobody knows anything.
But that won’t stop me from bringing you another batch of bowl picks in the next 13 days.
Meanwhile, when it came to Minnesota’s 12-0 loss at Iowa Saturday, the Twin Cities media folks weren’t exactly charitable to Gophers Coach Tim Brewer. Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune went off on Coach Brew. Excerpts:
A year after Brewster dismissed (offensive coordinator Mike) Dunbar, scrapped the spread offense and hired Jedd Fisch and Tim Davis to install a pro-style, power-running scheme, the Gophers’ offense is a dumpster fire. . . .
Brewster has yet to win a Big Ten game in November, and his offense is getting worse by
the day. Against Iowa, a limited team that kicked a field goal on its first drive and spent the rest of the game trying to run out the clock, the Gophers took 78 snaps and gained 201 yards. That’s 2.6 yards per play. . . .
Brewster lost a deceptively close game to a ranked team on the road on Saturday, and he will take his team to a second consecutive bowl. Those are the facts that will probably persuade Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi to retain Brewster for at least one more season.
I think that’s a mistake.
Star Tribune blogger Darren “Doogie” Wolfson has called for Brewster’s firing, and he said he was a “huge Brewster backer from the moment he was hired.” From Wolfson:
30 straight possessions without scoring a touchdown to end the regular season is not a punchline. It’s reality. They have failed to score an offensive touchdown in 17 of the last 24 quarters. If not for a garbage-time score against Ohio State third-teamers, Brew’s bunch would’ve gone four games (Ohio State, Penn State, South Dakota St., and Iowa) without an offensive touchdown.
Brewster is now 0-9 in trophy games; 0-8 in games vs. ranked opponents. He also has yet to win a conference game in November and lacks a signature victory 37-games into his tenure. For a second consecutive year, his team will lead the Big Ten in penalties. Only twice all year did the Gophers not commit a personal foul penalty in a game. ESPN analyst Bob Griese used the word “undisciplined” when talking about the Gophers no fewer than five times today. That is embarrassing. Being the butt of jokes by Badgers and Hawkeyes fans has been getting old the last three years.
St. Paul Pioneer Press blogger Ben Ramsden made light of the whole situation. Ramsden wrote:
This season is now laughable. I could be mad right now, but I’m not. I’m just amazed that this football program is a joke. I mean, what top recruit would want to come to play at Minnesota where they have to bus to games? They could go to St. John’s and do that and win!
Coincidentally, that’s what Coe College did. The Kohawks bused to Collegeville, Minn., and upset the perennial powerhouse St. John’s Johnnies in the first-round of the NCAA Division III playoffs Saturday, 34-27.
That’s a great win for Coe, which will try to double up Saturday in St. Paul when it plays the St. Thomas Tommies in the D-III quarterfinals.
In big-time college football, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post isn’t fond of what Penn State is about to do to its season ticket-holders. Says Mushnick:
Tickets to Penn State football also may soon become a luxury item. According to the Altoona Mirror, where once the school extorted $100 per ticket, through the Nittany Lion Club, for the right to buy season tickets — a mini PSL — next year that privilege could cost, depending on seat location, $200-$600 per ticket, plus the cost of tickets.
Increases could run fans anywhere from double to 500 percent. Recession? What recession? Layoffs? Where?
Penn State’s home schedule next year includes Youngstown State and Kent State. Kinda like the NFL’s must-buy exhibition games.
And for something completely different, PGAtour.com picks its top 10 rounds of the 2009 season. No. 10 involves a guy from Iowa whose name and game you may know.
10. Zach Johnson shoots 60 at the Valero Texas Open. Johnson’s 60 came in the third round and put him in position to win, which he did in a playoff against James Dricsoll. Johnson left a birdie putt for 59 short on the final hole, but the 60 was the lowest round posted on TOUR all year.