College football pregame: Independence has ups and downs at BYU

by Berry Tramel Published: December 19, 2012

Louisiana-Lafayette is a 61/2-point favorite, but let's go with East Carolina in the upset.

THE LIST: Pre-Christmas bowls

1. Las Vegas Bowl: Washington vs. Boise State, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN. Take advantage of any chance to watch Boise State on a green field.

2. Poinsettia Bowl: Brigham Young vs. San Diego State, 7 p.m. Thursday, ESPN. Old Mountain West foes, played every season but two from 1978 through 2010. BYU leads the series 27-7-1.

3. Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. SMU, 7 p.m. Monday. SMU coach June Jones' seventh Hawaii bowl; five as Hawaii's coach and two as SMU's.

4. New Orleans Bowl: East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 11 a.m. Saturday, ESPN. Hey, a chance for OSU fans to check out East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who could be a candidate for Mike Gundy's staff opening.

5. Beef O'Brady's Bowl: Ball State vs. Central Florida, 6:30 p.m. Friday, ESPN. The Mid-American Conference has seven bowl teams – Ball State, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, Central Michigan, Bowling Green and Kent State. That's the same as the Big Ten and more than the ACC.

COACH ON THE HOT SEAT: Chris Petersen

On Jan. 4, 2010, Boise State beat TCU 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl. It was the Broncos' second Fiesta Bowl victory in four years – anyone remember the first? – and Boise State football was becoming a name brand.

On Labor Day eight months later, Boise State beat Virginia Tech 33-30 in a rousing game at the Redskins' stadium, and Petersen's stock could not go higher.

Since then, Boise State has suffered the fate that threatens every mid-major: slight slippage causes irrelevancy.

Boise State stumbled in November 2010, losing 34-31 at Nevada. That cost the Broncos a likely Rose Bowl bid.

In 2011, Boise State beat Georgia in Atlanta but lost 36-35 at home to TCU, costing the Broncos a Sugar Bowl bid.

And in 2012, Boise State lost 17-13 at Michigan State, then 21-19 to San Diego State. So back to the Las Vegas Bowl go the Broncos for the third straight year, against Washington.

Boise State usually takes care of business in Vegas – it beat Utah 26-3 in the 2010 bowl and Arizona State 56-24 in the 2011 bowl.

But with the Big East in total meltdown, Boise State's future with that conference is in flux, and its status as America's football darling is in jeopardy.

Petersen is a made man in Boise, as he should be, but Boise State has tasted the sweet nectar of national acclaim and would like to taste it again. Beating Washington in the Vegas Bowl is a small step back toward relevancy.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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