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College Football Analysis: Status of Fiesta Bowl

As you may have heard, the Fiesta Bowl has recently found itself in some pretty hot water stemming from several instances of gross misconduct, the most prominent of which has been a scam in which the bowl reimbursed employees for making political donations to certain political candidates. You may have also heard that the Fiesta Bowl may lose its place as a BCS bowl game as a result of the, for lack of a better word, scandal.

The BCS is investigating the bowl and has appointed a special task force led by acting chair and Penn State President Graham Spanier. Well, Spanier told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the results of their investigation could come in about a month. “We do not expect to have this drawn out very long,” Spanier said. “There’s a lot at stake for everyone. It’s in everyone’s interest to move this discussion along quickly.”

So could this actually result in the Fiesta Bowl’s loss of its status as a BCS bowl game? Spanier was also quoted as saying, “Everyone on the review committee feels it’s important that the Fiesta Bowl be able to demonstrate they’ve cleaned up (its) act, that it’s going to operate at the highest level of integrity, efficiency and propriety in the future.”

Based on that and given the fact that the Fiesta Bowl has already taken a few steps to publically show it’s cleaning up its act, I doubt the task force recommends kicking the Fiesta Bowl to the curb. The bowl game has already fired CEO John Junker and has invoiced politicians who received gifts from the bowl, i.e. free tickets.

So what can we take from this? Probably that we have to wait a month for an announcement indicating how the Fiesta Bowl has successfully “cleaned up (its) act” and how the BCS is proud to have the bowl game as a part of its series.

Just for the general hell of it, though, what bowl games could be in the running to replace the Fiesta Bowl if it’s given the heave-ho?

Cotton Bowl: The most obvious choice and most likely to get an invite if the Fiesta is kicked out. The Cotton Bowl was once considered on the same level as the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose Bowls and has hosted some pretty memorable games in its 74-year history. The bowl game even explored the possibility of joining the BCS with the move to Cowboys Stadium once the BCS’s contract with the other bowls expired.

Capital One Bowl: Drawing the SEC’s number two and the Big Ten’s number two, this game has hosted some big names in years past. Formerly the Citrus Bowl, the Capital One Bowl is in a major metropolitan area and has a few tourist attractions to say the least.

Outback Bowl: This draws SEC #3 and Big Ten #3, one spot below the Capital One Bowl. It’s played in Tampa, so it has a similar draw in that it’s located in a major tourist spot with plenty to do in the area. What’s more, the host stadium, Raymond James Stadium, has hosted a couple Super Bowls.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Formerly the Peach Bowl, this game has drawn some pretty good matchups in the past. It currently takes the ACC #2 and SEC #5 and is located in Atlanta, another big city.

When it comes down to it, it’s unlikely any bowl game not named the Orange, Rose, Sugar or Fiesta will host a BCS game, and even if another bowl is given the honor, the Cotton Bowl is the most likely choice. Still, without accusing anybody, I’d bet the BCS does a thorough preliminary investigation into the past and present of the potential replacements before extending an invite. You never know what you might find.

Danny Hobrock, is our College Football Editor and NCAA Football On-Air Personality. Danny's writing on College Pigskin has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ or follow him on Twitter @DannyHobrock


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