No Reason for Arizona to Fear Boise State in Fiesta Bowl

As a proud University of Arizona alumnus, I couldn’t be more excited to watch my Wildcats win the Fiesta Bowl. They have an interesting history in that bowl game: from playing Dan Marino and Pittsburgh in 1979 to shutting out the Miami Hurricanes in 1994.

But so does Boise State. And unlike Arizona, their history is quite recent.

Boise State busted onto the BCS scene in 2006 with a memorable overtime upset win over Adrian Peterson and the Oklahoma Sooners. They then returned to upend TCU three years later.

Now it is Arizona’s turn to be victimized? It took three seasons for Rich Rodriguez to turn the Wildcats into the very program Michigan originally hoped he would do in Ann Arbor — and now what they hope Jim Harbaugh will do.

Before Rich Rod, Arizona scored a combined total of 10 points in the 2009 Holliday Bowl and the 2010 Alamo Bowl with Mike Stoops as the head coach. Arizona fans fondly remember Stoops as the guy who looked like either his face was going to pop or was in fact morphing into the Kool Aid man before our very eyes. With Rich Rod, the Wildcats scored a combined 91 points in his first two bowls. That type of change of pace has Arizona fans beaming with cocky confidence that was once reserved for the basketball team.

“I guess there’s a little bit of a culture change,” Rodriguez said.

This is not the Boise State that ran the table in the 2006 season and came into their first Fiesta Bowl ranked #9. This is not the Boise State that started the 2009 season beating Oregon and finished it with their second Fiesta Bowl victory. This is the Boise State that got throughly trounced by Ole Miss in the Atlanta Georgia Dome, out-paced by Air Force while tripping over themselves to the tune of seven turnovers and got lucky with the rest of the Mountain West.

Boise State is only in the Fiesta Bowl because someone from the other five conferences and Marshall blew their chances when they lost to Western Kentucky 67-66 in overtime. The prevailing rule in college football is if you’re going to lose, lose early. Nothing makes the committee forget about those losses more than a winning streak to finish the season.

A young offense made up of freshmen and sophomores defined by their head coach and a defense defined by Scooby Wright and Jared Tevis has Arizona in position to make the Fiesta Bowl a stepping stone to next year’s Rose Bowl. They lose Kadeem Carey to the NFL and bring in freshman Nick Wilson who is almost his equal. They go from having Rich Rod freaking out about not having a quarterback in August to having a staple in Anu Solomon.

Most people nationally will be rooting for Boise State to pull off a third Fiesta Bowl victory out of their asses because of how cool of a story it would be, but Arizona truly has home field advantage that 06 Oklahoma and 09 TCU didn’t have. The Wildcats will not fall to the Broncos.

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About: Tony Capobianco

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Sports Kave senior writer

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