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Fiesta Bowl has been Fiasco Bowl for Sooners

BY JAKE TROTTER Staff Writer Published: December 19, 2010

Next week, Oklahoma departs for a place of bad, bad, bad vibrations. The Fiesta Bowl? More like Fiasco Bowl.

“Let's see — what good memories do I have there? Honestly, none,” said senior offensive tackle Eric Mensik. “The hotel was nice and the food was great, but other than that ... I'd rather be going to Florida or something else.”

University of Phoenix Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Sooners.

In 2006, OU suffered a stunning 43-42 overtime defeat to Boise State, which used every trick in the book to bring down the heavily favored Sooners.

Then in 2007, OU got walloped 48-28 by West Virginia, which turned out not to even need its head coach.

“The Fiesta Bowl hasn't been good to us,” said Sooner senior defensive lineman Pryce Macon. “I still remember going home on the bus. Quiet. Silence. I don't want to have a repeat of that.”

The Sooners have a great chance to avoid a repeat and end their five-game BCS bowl losing streak, which of course includes the two losses in the Fiesta.

Connecticut is the first non-ACC team to qualify for a BCS bowl with four losses. Two of those losses were by 14 to Temple and 26 to Louisville.

But the Sooners will have to play the game with their last two Fiesta Bowl performances floating overhead like a desert cloud.

“We're not letting that frustrate us,” said senior safety Quinton Carter. “We're not thinking about it as a team, even though it's hovering over our heads.”

Carter and the other seniors on the team remember all too well what happened on their previous two trips to the Fiesta.

The last time the Sooners were sent there, they were riding high following a 21-point romping of top-ranked Missouri in the Big 12 Championship.

Then Reggie Smith broke a toe, Malcolm Kelly tore a quad, Lendy Holmes was left home and DeMarcus Granger was sent there.

And before they even took the field against West Virginia, a bad vibe enveloped the Sooners.

“It was a little bit questionable,” Carter said. “Like ‘What are we going to about this and what are we going to do about that?'”

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