The Fiesta Bowl, now sponsored by Frito-Lay and named with their Tostitos brand, is a United States college football bowl game played annually at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Between its origination in 1971 and 2006, the game was hosted in Tempe, Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium. Previous sponsors included Sunkist and IBM.
The Fiesta Bowl was born from the Western Athletic Conference's frustrated attempts to obtain bowl invitations for its champions. In 1968 and 1969 respectively, champions Wyoming and Arizona State failed to secure any bowl selection. The next year, undefeated Arizona State was bypassed by the major bowls and had to settle for an appearance in the less prestigious Peach Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl therefore initially provided an automatic bowl tie-in for the Western Athletic Conference champion.
The 1971 inaugural game featured another top-ten Arizona State squad against top-twenty opponent Florida State. By 1975, the game was able to attract Big Eight co-champion Nebraska to play undefeated Arizona State in a matchup of top-five teams. In 1977, the game was again able to attract a top-five opponent in Penn State, despite WAC champion #16 BYU refusing to play in the bowl due to it being held on Sunday.
In 1978, Arizona and Arizona State both joined the Pac-10 Conference and the Fiesta Bowl's tie-in with the Western Athletic Conference ended.
The game continued to attract high quality matchups, so beginning with the 1981 game the Fiesta Bowl shifted to New Year's Day with the other major bowl games.
A major breakthrough occurred in 1986 when the top two teams in the country, Miami and Penn State, agreed to play for the de facto national championship in the Fiesta Bowl. At the time, the traditional four "major" bowl games—the Cotton, Orange, Sugar and Rose--had contracts with the major conferences whose champions were guaranteed selection. Both Miami and Penn State were independents at that time, and were thus free to choose a bowl. As such, the Fiesta Bowl and the Florida Citrus Bowl, each free from the obligation of conference tie-ins, vied to host the Miami-Penn State matchup. The Fiesta Bowl won the bidding and the game was set to be played on January 2, a day after the "big four" bowls.
The 1987 Fiesta Bowl was won by Penn State 14–10 over Miami, and drew the largest television audience of any game in the history of college football. Two years later, #1 Notre Dame played undefeated #3 West Virginia for the national championship at the 1989 Fiesta Bowl.
The 1987 and 1989 games were two of four straight matchups of teams ranked in the AP Top 10 going into the bowl season to close out the 1980s. This significantly increased the Fiesta Bowl's prestige, to the point that it was now considered a major bowl by many fans and pundits.
Before the 1991 game, several major universities declined invitations due to the State of Arizona's decision at that time not to adopt the Martin Luther King Holiday. However, in 1992, the Fiesta Bowl was invited to participate in the Bowl Coalition, a predecessor to the Bowl Championship Series. This assured the game would feature major conference champions or prestigious runners-up and cemented its status as a major bowl. When the Bowl Coalition was reconfigured as the Bowl Alliance, the Fiesta was included as one of the three top games. With the demise of the Southwestern Conference in 1995, the Cotton Bowl lost its status as a major bowl hosting a top-tier conference champion, and the Fiesta Bowl replaced it by picking up the conference champion of the new Big 12 Conference. In 1996, it hosted the Bowl Alliance National Championship game featuring undefeated #1 Nebraska playing undefeated #2 Florida for the National Championship. Finally, with the addition of the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences to the new Bowl Championship Series, the Fiesta Bowl became a permanent fixture in the four year BCS National Championship Game rotation. In 1998, the Fiesta Bowl featured the first BCS National Championship Game, which Tennessee won over Florida State, 23 to 16.
In 2002, the Fiesta Bowl had the right to take Pac-10 Conference Champion, should that team not reach the Rose Bowl, which served as the National Championship game that season. Oregon failed to qualify for the championship game, and thus played Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl. A similar arrangement was made for the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. However, instead of gaining the Pac-10 Conference champion in addition to their usual tie-in with the Big 12 Conference, the Fiesta Bowl would have had a choice of the two teams. This turned out to be a moot point as both the Big 12 champion and Pac-10 champion (Texas and Southern California, respectively) qualified for the National Championship Game (USC's participation has since been vacated).
The BCS National Championship game returned to the Fiesta Bowl in 2003 with the Big Ten champions Ohio State Buckeyes beating the Big East champions Miami Hurricanes in the first overtime national championship game. The game went into double overtime with the Buckeyes coming out on top 31–24 to claim the 2002 National Championship. Since that game, the Buckeyes have returned to the Fiesta Bowl three times, beating Kansas State in 2004, beating Notre Dame in 2006, and losing to Texas in the 2009 game. All but the 2006 games were against Big 12 schools, with the 2006 game being against an independent which is located in Big Ten territory and thus has been mentioned as a potential Big Ten expansion candidate.
The Fiesta Bowl was the first BCS bowl to have had an entry from outside the parameters of the BCS (the Big 12, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Southeastern Conference (SEC), Pac-10, Big East, and Notre Dame have tie-ins, while all of the other conferences do not). The 2005 game saw undefeated Utah become the first non-BCS school ever to play in a BCS game, easily defeating Big East champion Pittsburgh 35–7.
In 2007, the Fiesta Bowl game was played for the first time at the new University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, across the Valley of the Sun from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The BCS agreement now stipulated that the Fiesta Bowl hosts the Big 12 Conference champions unless they are involved in the BCS national championship game.
On January 1, 2007, the undefeated Boise State Broncos won by defeating the Oklahoma Sooners 43–42 in overtime. It has been called one of the greatest college football games ever played, due to the combination of an underdog team, trick plays, comebacks by each team and a thrilling overtime finish.
On January 2, 2008, the Fiesta Bowl game was played for the second year at the new University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The game again pitted Big-12 champion #3 Oklahoma against the Big East champion #9 West Virginia. West Virginia beat Oklahoma, 48–28.
The 2010 Fiesta Bowl took place on January 4, 2010. The BCS #6 Boise State defeated the BCS #4 TCU by the score of 17-10 . It was the first time a BCS bowl matched-up two non-automatic qualifying teams (i.e. two teams from conferences without automatic BCS bids) and the first time that two teams who went undefeated faced each other in a BCS game outside of the National Championship.
The 2011 Fiesta Bowl took place on Saturday, January 1 at 8:30 PM ET. The Big 12 Conference Champion Oklahoma Sooners took on Big East Conference Champion Connecticut Huskies. The #7 Oklahoma Sooners, led by coach Bob Stoops, came off a 5 game losing streak in BCS bowls while the Connecticut Huskies, led by coach Randy Edsall, played in their first BCS game. The Sooners won the match, 48-20. Less than 24 hours after the game, Edsall left Arizona without the Huskies to take the head coaching job with the Maryland Terrapins.
The 2012 Fiesta Bowl took place on Monday, January 2. The Big 12 Conference Champion Oklahoma State Cowboys, ranked third in the nation went up against Stanford Cardinal, ranked 4. Many Oklahoma State fans and even some experts had wanted them in the BCS National Championship game, but the Alabama Crimson Tide remained 2 in the nation. Oklahoma State won on an overtime field goal, after never having been ahead during regulation play.
In 1996, a group of students from Brigham Young University, led by BYU professor Dennis Martin, burned bags of Tostitos tortilla chips in a bonfire and called for a boycott of all Tostitos products. This came after #5 ranked BYU was not invited to play in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl in favor of #7 ranked Penn State. This event is one of those referred to by proponents of college football implementing a playoff series rather than the controversial Bowl Alliance. Penn State went on to win the game over #20 Texas 38-15, while BYU defeated #14 Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl Classic 19-15.
In 2009, prior to the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, past and present Fiesta Bowl employees alleged that they were encouraged to help maintain its position as one of the four BCS bowls by making campaign contributions to politicians friendly to the Fiesta Bowl, with those contributions subsequently reimbursed to the employees. If true, this would be a violation of both state and Federal campaign finance laws. Furthermore, as a non-profit organization, the Fiesta Bowl is prohibited from making political contributions of any kind. The Fiesta Bowl commissioned an "independent review" which found "no credible evidence that the bowl's management engaged in any type of illegal or unethical conduct."
The following year, in a November 2010 article, Sports Illustrated reported that Fiesta Bowl officials, including bowl CEO John Junker, spent $4 million since 2000 to curry favor from BCS bigwigs and elected officials, including a 2008 "Fiesta Frolic", a golf-centered gathering of athletic directors and head coaches. The journal also reported that Junker's annual salary was close to $600,000 and that the bowl, in 2007 turned an $11.6 million profit. While these alleged activities are not illegal, they did result in considerable damage to the reputation of the Fiesta Bowl.
On March 29, 2011, the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors released a 276 page "scathing internal report", commissioned by them to re-examine the accusations of illegal political activities. The commission determined that $46,539 of illegal campaign contributions were made and the board immediately fired Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker, who had already been suspended pending the results of this investigation. The scandal threatened the Fiesta Bowl's status as a BCS game, as the BCS said it might replace the bowl in its lineup if officials could not convince them it should remain.
On February 22, 2012, former CEO John Junker pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge in the campaign financing matter, and two members of his former staff pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Junker goes to sentencing in late July 2012, facing up to 2.5 years in prison as the result of his plea.
Template:Rellink As of the 2010-11 season, the game along with the rest of the BCS, exclusively airs on ESPN. From 2007 through 2010, Fox telecast the game along with the other BCS games - the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and BCS National Championship Game from 2006 though 2009, while only the Rose Bowl and the 2010 BCS National Championship Game aired on ABC in that period. From 1999-2006, the game aired on ABC as part of the first BCS package, and from 1996-1998 the game aired on CBS as part of its bowl coverage. Prior to that, NBC aired the game for several years. This game, along with the Orange Bowl, is one of only two bowl games ever to air on all the "big 4" broadcast television networks in the United States.
ESPN Radio is the current radio home for the Fiesta Bowl.
|Date played||Winning team||Losing team||notes|
|December 27, 1971||Arizona State||45||Florida State||38||notes|
|December 23, 1972||Arizona State||49||Missouri||35||notes|
|December 21, 1973||Arizona State||28||Pittsburgh||7||notes|
|December 28, 1974||Oklahoma State||16||BYU||6||notes|
|December 26, 1975||Arizona State||17||Nebraska||14||notes|
|December 25, 1976||Oklahoma||41||Wyoming||7||notes|
|December 25, 1977||Penn State||42||Arizona State||30||notes|
|December 25, 1978||Arkansas||10||UCLA||10||notes|
|December 25, 1979||Pittsburgh||16||Arizona||10||notes|
|December 26, 1980||Penn State||31||Ohio State||19||notes|
|January 1, 1982||Penn State||26||Southern California||10||notes|
|January 1, 1983||Arizona State||32||Oklahoma||21||notes|
|January 2, 1984||Ohio State||28||Pittsburgh||23||notes|
|January 1, 1985||UCLA||39||Miami||37||notes|
|January 1, 1986||Michigan||27||Nebraska||23||notes|
|January 2, 1987||Penn State||14||Miami||10||notes|
|January 1, 1988||Florida State||31||Nebraska||28||notes|
|January 2, 1989||Notre Dame||34||West Virginia||21||notes|
|January 1, 1990||Florida State||41||Nebraska||17||notes|
|January 1, 1991||Louisville||34||Alabama||7||notes|
|January 1, 1992||Penn State||42||Tennessee||17||notes|
|January 1, 1993||Syracuse||26||Colorado||22||notes|
|January 1, 1994||Arizona||29||Miami||0||notes|
|January 2, 1995||Colorado||41||Notre Dame||24||notes|
|January 2, 1996^||Nebraska||62||Florida||24||notes|
|January 1, 1997||Penn State||38||Texas||15||notes|
|December 31, 1997||Kansas State||35||Syracuse||18||notes|
|January 4, 1999*||Tennessee||23||Florida State||16||notes|
|January 2, 2000||Nebraska||31||Tennessee||21||notes|
|January 1, 2001||Oregon State||41||Notre Dame||9||notes|
|January 1, 2002||Oregon||38||Colorado||16||notes|
|January 3, 2003*||Ohio State||31||Miami||24 (2 OT)||notes|
|January 2, 2004||Ohio State||35||Kansas State||28||notes|
|January 1, 2005||Utah||35||Pittsburgh||7||notes|
|January 2, 2006||Ohio State||34||Notre Dame||20||notes|
|January 1, 2007||Boise State||43||Oklahoma||42 (OT)||notes|
|January 2, 2008||West Virginia||48||Oklahoma||28||notes|
|January 5, 2009||Texas||24||Ohio State||21||notes|
|January 4, 2010||Boise State||17||TCU||10||notes|
|January 1, 2011||Oklahoma||48||Connecticut||20||notes|
|January 2, 2012||Oklahoma State||41||Stanford||38 (OT)||notes|
|January 3, 2013||Oregon||35||Kansas State||17||notes|
|January 1, 2014||UCF||52||Baylor||42||notes|
|December 31, 2014||Boise State||38||Arizona||30||notes|
|January 1, 2016||Ohio State||Notre Dame||notes|
|December 27, 1971||Gary Huff||Florida State||QB|
|Junior Ah You||Arizona State||DE|
|December 23, 1972||Woody Green||Arizona State||HB|
|December 21, 1973||Greg Hudson||Arizona State||SE|
|Mike Haynes||Arizona State||CB|
|December 28, 1974||Kenny Walker||Oklahoma State||RB|
|Phil Dokes||Oklahoma State||DT|
|December 26, 1975||John Jefferson||Arizona State||WR|
|Larry Gordon||Arizona State||LB|
|December 25, 1976||Thomas Lott||Oklahoma||QB|
|December 25, 1977||Matt Millen||Penn State||LB|
|Dennis Sproul||Arizona State||QB|
|December 25, 1978||James Owens||UCLA||RB|
|December 25, 1979||Mark Schubert||Pittsburgh||K|
|December 26, 1980||Curt Warner||Penn State||RB|
|Frank Case||Penn State||DE|
|January 1, 1982||Curt Warner||Penn State||RB|
|Leo Wisniewski||Penn State||NT|
|January 1, 1983||Marcus Dupree||Oklahoma||RB|
|Jim Jeffcoat||Arizona State||DL|
|January 2, 1984||John Congemi||Pittsburgh||QB|
|Rowland Tatum||Ohio State||LB|
|January 1, 1985||Gaston Green||UCLA||TB|
|January 1, 1986||Jamie Morris||Michigan||RB|
|January 2, 1987||D.J. Dozier||Penn State||RB|
|Shane Conlan||Penn State||LB|
|January 1, 1988||Danny McManus||Florida State||QB|
|January 2, 1989||Tony Rice||Notre Dame||QB|
|Frank Stams||Notre Dame||DE|
|January 1, 1990||Peter Tom Willis||Florida State||QB|
|Odell Haggins||Florida State||NG|
|January 1, 1991||Browning Nagle||Louisville||QB|
|January 1, 1992||O.J. McDuffie||Penn State||WR|
|Reggie Givens||Penn State||OLB|
|January 1, 1993||Marvin Graves||Syracuse||QB|
|January 1, 1994||Chuck Levy||Arizona||RB|
|January 2, 1995||Kordell Stewart||Colorado||QB|
|January 2, 1996||Tommie Frazier||Nebraska||QB|
|January 1, 1997||Curtis Enis||Penn State||TB|
|Brandon Noble||Penn State||DT|
|December 31, 1997||Michael Bishop||Kansas State||QB|
|Travis Ochs||Kansas State||LB|
|January 4, 1999||Peerless Price||Tennessee||WR|
|January 2, 2000||Eric Crouch||Nebraska||QB|
|January 1, 2001||Jonathan Smith||Oregon State||QB|
|Darnell Robinson||Oregon State||LB|
|January 1, 2002||Joey Harrington||Oregon||QB|
|January 3, 2003||Craig Krenzel||Ohio State||QB|
|Mike Doss||Ohio State||SS|
|January 2, 2004||Craig Krenzel||Ohio State||QB|
|A.J. Hawk||Ohio State||OLB|
|January 1, 2005||Alex Smith||Utah||QB|
|January 2, 2006||Troy Smith||Ohio State||QB|
|A.J. Hawk||Ohio State||OLB|
|January 1, 2007||Jared Zabransky||Boise State||QB|
|Marty Tadman||Boise State||S|
|January 2, 2008||Pat White||West Virginia||QB|
|Reed Williams||West Virginia||OLB|
|January 5, 2009||Colt McCoy||Texas||QB|
|January 4, 2010||Kyle Efaw||Boise State||TE|
|Brandyn Thompson||Boise State||CB|
|January 1, 2011||Landry Jones||Oklahoma||QB|
|January 2, 2012||Justin Blackmon||Oklahoma State||WR|
|Justin Gilbert||Oklahoma State||CB|
|January 3, 2013||Marcus Mariota||Oregon||QB|
|January 1, 2014||Blake Bortles||UCF||QB|
|December 31, 2014||Thomas Sperbeck||Boise State||WR|
|Tanner Vallejo||Boise State||LB|
Appearances by Team
|Team||Performance vs. Opponent||Year|
|Most points scored||62, Nebraska vs. Florida (24)||1996|
|Fewest points allowed||0, Arizona vs. Miami (29)||1994|
|First downs||33, Texas vs. Ohio State
33, Arizona State vs. Missouri
|Rushing yards||524, Nebraska vs. Florida||1996|
|Passing yards||458, Louisville vs. Alabama||1991|
|Total yards||718, Arizona State vs. Missouri||1972|
|Individual||Performance, Team vs. Opponent||Year|
|Total Offense||431, Browning Nagle, Louisville vs. Alabama (39 plays)||1991|
|Rushing Yards||245, Marcus Dupree, Oklahoma vs. Arizona State (17 att., 0 TD)||1983|
|Rushing TDs||4, Woody Green, Arizona State vs. Missouri||1972|
- "Oregon clinches berth in Fiesta Bowl; National title still a possibility", The Seattle Times, November 17, 2001.
- Thamel, Pete. "Playbook Full of Tricks Gives Boise State Dramatic and Defining Victory", The New York Times, 2007-01-02. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
- 1996 AP archives. December 11, 1996. Honolulu Star-Bulletin
- Weinreb, Michael. The Night College Football Went To Hell. ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2010-01-03.
- Fiesta Bowl employees say bowl repaid political contributions.
- Fiesta Bowl Scandal Causes Stir.
- Fiesta Bowl finds no wrongdoing after allegations of illegal political donations.
- Murphy, Austin, and Dan Wetzel, "Does It Matter?", Sports Illustrated, 15 November 2010, p. 45.
- Final Report.
- "Fiesta Bowl fires CEO John Junker", AP, March 29, 2011, http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6270459
- BCS confident it could cut ties with Fiesta Bowl if deemed necessary
- Wetzel, Dan, "BCS conducts shallow probe as party rages on", Yahoo! Sports, retrieved on 31 March 2011.
- Associated Press, "Fiesta Bowl names new president", Japan Times, 15 June 2011, p. 15.
- Harris, Craig (February 22, 2012). Former Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker pleads guilty to felony. Arizona Republic. Retrieved on June 8, 2012.
- Harris, Craig (May 22, 2012). Sentencing postponed for former Fiesta Bowl exec Wisneski. Arizona Republic. Retrieved on June 8, 2012.
- Fox pulls out of bidding for next round of BCS games