I'm fully aware that the blog is living on borrowed time, but we need something to read about until the new Cyclone blog comes around, right?
So the Big XII is obviously a bit smaller this year, and each team has one more conference game to contend with. (Or really, one less potential MAC patsy to help the lower echelons of the Big XII eek out six wins.) But despite having two less teams, the Big XII still maintains agreements to field teams in eight different bowl games for the next few years at least. Unless Commish Beebe suddenly changes his mind about adding a couple teams to the league, we're likely to have a bowl surplus over the next few years. Might be a good time to take a look at where we are, and where we might want to go. And where better to start than the two God tier bowls, the Fiesta and Cotton?
FIESTA BOWL - Big XII Champion, Payout: $17 Million
Here's the sad truth of the Fiesta bowl: It's a corporate branded piece of shit bowl that up until last year was run by a complete douchebag named John Junker. He was fired last year in a financial scandal that threatened to get the Fiesta completely thrown out of the BCS ranks altogether. While the BCS fired Junker and replaced him with U of Arizona president Robert Shelton, and even appointed a bullshit oversight committee to make it look as though they're focused on something other than the insane amounts of money they're raking in.
But the truth is, the Fiesta belongs to the Big XII simply because the Big XII and the current BCS came into being within a couple years of each other. Despite the Big Eight champion having played in the Orange Bowl since 1968, the BCS gave the auto-bid for that game to the Big East. The Fiesta Bowl, who apparently blows all that tortilla chip money on junkets to strip clubs and cruises, was originally a game created for the WAC champion to play in. The Cotton featured the SWC champion and was considered to be one of the "major 4" bowls along with the Rose, Orange, and Sugar, but in 1995 the Bowl Alliance (BCS Precursors) decided to include the Fiesta Bowl instead of the Cotton, thus creating the current status quo.
But even past that bit of history, I think that the time may have come for the Fiesta to relinquish it's reign as a BCS power anyway. The Big XII's number two bowl started to make a power play to get into the BCS, but was shut down shortly after ESPN acquired the rights to the series. But considering that the Big 8 is all but swept away, and it will be the former SWC teams who will be the main contenders in the next few years, maybe it's time to drop the Fiesta Bowl from the Big XII's stable, and allow it to live out it's heritage and apparent destiny as a WAC affiliated bowl by becoming the post-season home for mid-major teams that go undefeated but who probably shouldn't be playing for the title. Remember, this is the bowl game in which lowly Boise State first bitchmade Oklahoma.
Cotton Bowl - 2nd Pick, Payout: $3 Million
In my opinion, the Cotton Bowl will become the 6th BCS game whenever ESPN doesn't renew their license and the BCS realizes that another storied bowl game can only make them more money. The game recently moved into Jerry Jones' Football Spaceship, has a solid corporate sponsor in AT&T who has experience with sponsoring BCS bowls, and has a ton of history with the SWC. Texas and Texas A&M have the most appearances in this bowl, and considering we all know who's really running this conference these days, it would almost make sense if the Cotton Bowl became the bowl for the Big XII champion tie-in. Still, that's a lot of hypotheticals.
Regardless, the Cotton Bowl is far and away the strongest #2 pick of any conference. It's a bowl game with good conference-related history, played in the largest monument to football yet built by man. With the dissolution of the Big XII championship game, this bowl game now becomes the major college football end-of-season bash at Cowboys Stadium. And it's a game that we're probably nowhere near as a team. But hey, there's something sort of poetic in the idea that the schools closest to the site of the bowl game have the best chances of actually playing in the bowl game, and in football-crazed Texas, that could mean a LOT of money. (I'm also guessing the Longhorn "Recruiting Deathlaser" Network will be showing old Cotton Bowl games that feature the Longhorns as between-season programming for the off-hours, but the ramifications of the Texas Broadcasting Channel are a whole different article in themselves.)
Next time: Mid-Tier Bowls. Or, "When the hell did the Insight get the 4th pick?"