BOISE- Got your Fiesta Bowl gear? Good. Now you can wear it. The official word from the Bowl Championship Series came at around six o'clock Sunday night: undefeated Boise State will play Big 12 Champion Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 1st, 2007, in Glendale, Arizona.
Oklahoma is already favored. Fox Sports predicts the Sooners will win 23-16.
But Boise State is getting its shot to prove the Broncos belong in the same league as the 'big boys.' Thousands of the Bronco faithful joined the team in Taco Bell Arena, Boise State's basketball facility, Sunday night for the official announcement from the BCS.
At 5:54 PM it came, and the arena erupted- even though it was merely a formality since the Broncos pretty much knew where they'd be playing, and found out who after Saturday night's Big 12 Championship.
"We're a very comfortable team who plays with a chip on our shoulder and we're always out to prove something," said senior quarterback Jared Zabransky. "Football's not a game for the weak or the scared. We're gonna come out and show the country what we're all about."
Strong words, Z. But ones you've earned.
As far as the six major conferences are concerned, the jury is still out on whether the Broncos belong in the BCS. Wisconsin and Arkansas are just two of the teams that have been left out of this year's 'BCS party.' It's safe to say they are less than thrilled with Boise State receiving an invite.
There seems to be only one solution- the outcome of the game.
If Boise State beats Oklahoma (a team that has won seven national championships), the Broncos will prove they are more than just the 'flavor of the week.' However, if the Broncos get blown out by the Sooners, it cements the major schools' belief that they don't belong. The other option is a 'close loss.' If Boise State loses to Oklahoma by say, ten points or less, then in the eyes of the major conferences the team probably deserves its BCS bid.
The Broncos certainly won't be favored. However, they will be prepared.
"I'll probably be talking to some of the people that have played Oklahoma, our buddies in Colorado," said Boise State coach Chris Petersen, who is 12-0 as a rookie head coach. "I'll just be trying to get as much information to help us out for this big game down the road."
Boise State has never played Oklahoma.
Or, for that matter, in a game of this magnitude before.