OU football: Fiesta Bowl is no Sun
A year ago at this time, the Oklahoma Sooners were in El Paso, preparing for the Sun Bowl and being told where not to go. Now, it’s Notre Dame’s and Miami’s turn.
The Sun Bowl story from Sunday was that the Fighting Irish and Hurricanes will not be allowed to travel over the border into Juarez. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly confiscated his players’ passports before departing for El Paso, and Miami players reportedly were forbidden from bringing passports to El Paso. Both teams met with both local law enforcement and the FBI shortly after arriving in Texas “to further underscore the potential dangers of crossing the border,” the Associated Press reported.
Fans also have been urged to stay in El Paso. Officials estimate that more than 3,000 murders have occurred in Juarez, and the vast majority of crimes in the city are never investigated.
All of which is similar to OU’s experience in El Paso last year. The Sun Bowl is an excellent bowl game. The city of El Paso backs the game tremendously; perhaps no populace supports its game with ticket sales the way the Sun Bowl does. It’s played in a cool setting — Sun Bowl Stadium sits in the mountains — and it’s New Year’s Eve afternoon tradition goes back decades. CBS telecasts the game and has for more than 40 years. You’ve got to admire a bowl that hasn’t been bought out by ESPN.
I was happy for the Sun Bowl when it got Notre Dame-Miami. Great matchup. Interesting matchup. I’ll most certainly watch, if I get the chance. The Sun Bowl people run a good bowl and the city responds.
But there are some things that can’t be helped. Time was, El Paso was a cool place. I went as a 14-year-old kid, and we had fun walking over to Juarez and going through the Mexican marketplaces. Those days are gone.
Last year, myself and colleagues Tim Money and Jake Trotter went to the border and shot a video. We were hassled by people making the commute back and forth. There was a tension in the air. Didn’t seem like the kind of place you’d want to be even if you weren’t armed with all the statistics of mayhem in Juarez.
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