Game Time: 2010 Fiesta Bowl....Thanks For Coming, TCU

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The winner and NEEEWWWW Intercontinental Champion...the Boise State
BRONCOS!!!

-- me on Twitter last night after the Fiesta Bowl

For those of you who don't get the analogy, I'll give you the back story. In professional wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment (known better by the acronym WWE) has their world champion and their Intercontinental champion. (There are actually even more belts than this, but for the sake of my illustration, I'm keeping it simple.)

Now, the world champion is the guy who is the cream of the crop, king of the mountain, present day icon of the business...whoever that may be on a given day. The Intercontinental title is somewhat of a secondary title, not delineated by any sort of weight or age restriction, but just something for the guys further down the card to battle over with hopes that someday they will get into the world-title picture.

What does this have to do with college football? Well if Alabama and Texas (Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, if you will) are squaring off on Thursday night for the equivalent of the world title, then the Fiesta Bowl last night crowned the champion of the non-BCS undercard, hence the Intercontinental champion of college football. Congratulations Boise State! You are the Chris Jericho of college football! (WWE Trivia -- Jericho holds the record with nine Intercontinental title reigns.)

Indeed, the Broncos and the TCU Horned Frogs were the subject of "what if" scenarios all year long. Could they hang with the big boys? What if they played in the SEC, the Pac 10, hell, even the Big Ten? The only cross-pollination of BCS vs non-BCS that we had to go off of was Boise State's sound 19-8 thumping of Oregon in Week One, and TCU's 14-10 squeaker against Clemson back in late September.

Along the rest of the way this season, gallons of figurative blood was shed by non-BCS apologists trying to defend the honor of the Broncos and moreso, especially here in Texas, the Horned Frogs. Hell, even I jumped on that bandwagon in this very space, doing something I never do -- stick up for the little guy.

So when Hunter Lawrence's field goal in the Big XII title game sailed through the uprights and Texas was appointed (now, clearly rightfully so) as the undefeated team to take on Alabama for the BCS title (a/k/a the World heavyweight championship), college football fans everywhere wanted to at least see what TCU and, to perhaps a lesser degree, Boise State would do in
matchups against BCS conference teams in the other BCS bowl games.

Instead, college football's mob families decided to sit their Mountain West and WAC cousins at the kids' table, sending them to Glendale for a pointless exhibition where college football fans would learn nothing, except that....well, Boise State is better than TCU. Yippee!

Was the game last night entertaining? I guess, if you enjoy dropped passes, interceptions, penalties, and Boise State showing how you can save money by allowing your rugby team to double as your female cheerleaders. If those are listed in your "Interests" section in your Facebook profile, then last night was heaven for you.

TCU had been squawking ever since the bids came out that they could hang with Alabama and Texas, practically begging for a chance to sit with the big boys. As it turns out, they could barely finish their mac-and-cheese and mini-corn dogs that the BCS selection folks put on their plate in Glendale. When TCU quarterback Andy Dalton wasn't hitting Boise State defensive backs between the numbers, he was avoiding doing so by throwing five-yard checkdowns on third and long. It's too bad -- all that talk about the progress Dalton had made, flushed down the toilet in three hours. The lights shine a little bit brighter in prime time than they do on Versus or the Altitude Channel or wherever your games are played, TCU.

During the first Boise State drive, I told a person I was watching the game with that I wasn't sure if Boise would score an offensive touchdown in the game. I was almost correct, with the one Bronco offensive touchdown boosted in large part by a 29-yard pass off of a fake punt by Boise punter Kyle Brotzman (who makes my "most hated" list based on the "kickers/punters
should never have body ink" corollary).

Shame on me for underestimating the resourcefulness of Boise's defense and the creativity/balls of Boise State coach Chris Peterson. While he managed to ride Kellen Moore's uncanny dink-and-dunkability mixed in with the occasional trick play, TCU coach Gary Patterson was plagued by some questionable play calling (scrap the QB draw, dude), a receiving corps who apparently were wearing mittens instead of gloves, and a quarterback who
decided to shrink at the worst possible time (to wit, TCU was one for twelve on third-down conversions).

If the Fiesta Bowl were American Idol, Andy Dalton would have wound up on the episode where they show all of the shitty contestants getting laughed out of the room by Simon Cowell. Somewhere, Paula Abdul weeps for Andy Dalton.

In the end, and stop me if you've heard this before, the losers last night were football fans. In a season where more progress was made in getting the non-BCS schools treated like they belong, we had a chance to truly find out if that is the case, and the system denied us. How compelling would it have been to see Boise State play Florida and TCU play Cincinnati (or Georgia Tech or Iowa)?

Instead, we found out that Boise State is the king of the undercard, the Intercontinental champion. And, like any good wrestling card, the Intercontinental championship match is placed about four matches down on the card, so we get the Orange Bowl tonight, some dog-shit bowl with Central Michigan as the "let everyone go get their popcorn before the main event" match, and then the main event on Thursday.

Back in the day, the Intercontinental title was seen as a stepping stone to the world title.  Does that part of the analogy hold water? Well, Boise State returns nearly all of its starters from a team that's lost one game in two years, a team with a solid head coach and a defense that has shut down some monsters this year.

Boise is probably a team that deserves to be thrown into the "world heavyweight title" conversation. Sadly, the "Vince McMahon's" running the BCS probably won't let it happen.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 weekdays on the
Sean &
John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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