Fiesta Bowl coming to Glendale this Holiday

New Years Day 2007 saw one of the most entertaining college football games take place here in the valley. It was an astounding tale of David vs. Goliath that saw underdogs Boise State take down powerhouse Oklahoma in astounding fashion. The game was won in overtime after a series of trick plays by the Broncos, culminating in a Statue of Liberty handoff to Ian Johnson to win the game, 43-42.

The Fiesta Bowl has been played in the University of Phoenix Stadium since that memorable game in 2007. Two top teams annually meet in Glendale to duke it out in one of the four Bowl Championship Series Bowls. This year, the Fiesta Bowl will not be played on New Year’s Day, but the day before. This year’s version will also be the first Fiesta Bowl under new sponsorship by television company Vizio. In contrast to most BCS bowls, the game will be played in the afternoon, and not at night.

Before the game kicks off, there will be a multitude of celebrations thrown by the Fiesta Bowl committee and the participating collegiate teams. On top of a Fan Fest held hours before kick-off, teams will host their own pep rallies in stadiums across the valley; much like Baylor and UCF did last New Year’s. Days before the game, on Dec. 27th, the 44th Annual Fiesta Bowl Parade will take place among various areas in central Phoenix. The parade is free to the public and can be viewed on ABC15 at home. Also starting on the 27th will be the Fiesta Bowl Art Walk in Downtown Scottsdale, and the 5th Annual Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout, an 8-team college basketball invitational tournament hosted by the Mesa CC Thunderbirds. Tickets are on sale now for a $35 pass to all games. There will also be a Fiesta Bowl 5k taking place Dec. 14th in the early morning, the 27th edition of the event.

The Boise State Broncos (10-2) could find themselves participating in the Fiesta for a third time should they win their upcoming Conference Championship game against Fresno State (6­-6). As a result of the newly implemented College Football Playoff, the top ranked team not from a “power five” conference automatically claims a BCS berth. Should Boise win on Saturday, it is likely they will face: Ohio State (11-1), who is without star quarterback J.T. Barrett after a season ending injury against Michigan, TCU (10-1), led by Heisman hopeful Trevone Boykin in a successful season for coach Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs, or Baylor (10-1), a playoff hopeful who beat TCU earlier this season 61-58, and who participated in last year’s game, losing to Blake Bortles and the UCF Golden Knights.

One thing is certain; whoever the teams turn out to be in Glendale on New Year’s Eve, the game will surely warm casual fans to the idea of tourists flocking to the valley, with the Super Bowl looming over the heads of sports fans in Arizona.