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2011 Las Vegas Bowl Preview

Arizona State Sun Devils vs Boise State Broncos

The Boise State Broncos have been told by head coach Chris Petersen that if they worked hard and did what they were supposed to do on the field of play, things would work out for them.

That did not happen this year – no, not the working hard part, but the notion that things would work out the way their coach said they would.

For the Boise State football family, fatigue with the Bowl Championship Series has reached a tipping point. As the Broncos prepare to play the Arizona State Sun Devils in the 2011 MAACO Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, their coach has given up on the BCS system he had previously defended in public.

Petersen wasn’t much interested in Arizona State at a press conference on Monday. He lashed out at the BCS system, saying that everyone is “tired” of it and that a new system needs to be put in place. Petersen made these comments after his 11-1 team – the owner of an impressive win at Georgia in a season-opening neutral-site game played in Atlanta – was passed over for the Sugar Bowl by a Virginia Tech team that didn’t possess a single non-conference win that could begin to compare with Boise State’s triumph over Georgia. Moreover, Virginia Tech suffered two blowout losses to Clemson, whereas Boise State lost by one point to TCU on a touchdown and 2-point conversion in the final minute of regulation, followed by a missed field goal by the Broncos on the last play of the game. Clearly, on the merits, Boise State deserved the Sugar Bowl berth more than Virginia Tech, but the BCS reaffirmed the extent to which it rewards friendships and connections more than pure football resumes.

Boise State, for all it has given college football over the past four years, has received only one BCS bowl bid in turn. The Broncos have gone 22-2 over the past two regular seasons, but have now been sent to Las Vegas for two straight years. In 2008, BSU went 12-0 and was told to go to the Poinsettia Bowl to play TCU. Interestingly enough, TCU – as the Mountain West Conference champion – is being ticketed to San Diego this year to play WAC champion Louisiana Tech in a bowl game far below the Horned Frogs’ pay grade as well. Boise State will face 6-6 Arizona State (without a full-time coach) in a terribly unattractive pre-Christmas game. The Sun Devils must be thrilled with their opportunity in this game, but it’s the snub of Boise State by the BCS which overshadows this contest in Sin City.

The BCS did indeed give Boise State more access to premium bowls than previous systems did, and that much has to be acknowledged. In the same breath, however, it’s now painfully clear how limited and conditional that extra bit of access really is. Boise State paid an awfully big price for its only loss of the season. Virginia Tech – with its two losses – and a Michigan team that also lost two games are both laughing all the way to the Sugar Bowl bank, while Boise State once again sits in the cold, alone.

One doesn’t have to wonder why Chris Petersen, long a defender of the BCS system, finally couldn’t take it anymore. Boise State, 49-3 over the past four years, will play a non-BCS bowl for the third time in four seasons when it takes the field at the MAACO Bowl. This car repair bowl is sadly a broken-down product in 2011.

By: Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer

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