College Football Playoff: Fiesta Bowl Should Join Forces with Small Conferences
The ACC is back with the big boys, as they inked their deal with the Orange Bowl and retained the rights to market the game themselves. Now, with the "automatic qualifier" a thing of the past, it is time for the rest of the proverbial "little guys" to make a push into the top of college football.
Luckily, there is a partner who should be quite willing—the Fiesta Bowl. As Jeremy Mauss over at MWC Connection points out, the bowl in Glendale has a gaping opening as the Big 12 removes their champion to play in the newly minted "Champions Bowl" in Dallas or New Orleans.
With the Fiesta Bowl poised to take a step back, now is the time for the bowl game to make the same play they made following the 2009 season—building cache with the little guy. That was the year the Fiesta Bowl brought TCU and Boise State into the mix as the only BCS game to feature two undefeated teams that were not playing for a title.
Now, with the Orange, Champions and Rose Bowl inking deals to stay at the top of the heap, the ball is in the Fiesta Bowl's court. The folks in Glendale need some help and that's where a partnership with all of the little guys can help.
From the Mountain West side, as Mauss points out, improving their bowl tie-in would help so much. However, if you're the Fiesta Bowl, limiting yourself to just the MWC would be a mistake. Instead, the Fiesta Bowl should look to the MWC, BYU and at least Conference USA as a way to keep their bowl relevant and put good teams into the mix.
Should the Fiesta Bowl tie in with the MWC and C-USA?
Keeping one at-large spot and pairing with the smaller leagues to fill the opposite spot would give the Fiesta Bowl a unique feel. The same game that gave us Boise State upsetting Oklahoma would be able to continue to push that type of game by giving the little guy a platform.
Ideally, the MAC and Sun Belt would have a clause to send their worthy champion to the Fiesta Bowl, but as it stands now, the world of Conference USA and MWC, along with BYU, are the most likely candidates to get into the fray.
While the rumored C-USA and MWC deal may not come to true fruition, as Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports reported, working together to wrestle a deal out of the Fiesta Bowl is a solid play to help the bowl and help themselves. If the Fiesta Bowl plays it right, they can have a David-versus-Goliath scenario on a near yearly basis that sells itself to the little guy and makes for the upsets that the college football world is enamored with, when they occur.
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