Bronco Beat

Boise State football team to play Arizona in Fiesta Bowl

The Boise State football team (11-2) will play Arizona (10-3) in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 in Glendale, Ariz. The game begins at 2 p.m. Mountain and airs on ESPN.

Boise State won the Mountain West on Saturday night. Arizona lost the Pac-12 championship game to Oregon on Friday night.

The Wildcats beat Oregon, Utah and Arizona State during the regular season but lost to USC and UCLA. They beat Nevada 35-28 in September.

Arizona is led by linebacker Scooby Wright, one of the best players in the country. Wright ranks third in the nation with 14 sacks and first with 28 tackles for loss. The Wildcats also have former Boise State defensive tackle Jeff Worthy and safety Jared Tevis, brother of former Boise State linebacker Aaron Tevis.

Boise State and Arizona have not played before.

Boise State won the 2007 and 2010 Fiesta Bowls against Oklahoma (43-42, OT, 2007) and TCU (17-10, 2010).

The Mountain West will receive $6 million for placing a team in a New Year’s Six bowl. Boise State will receive $3.25 million of that total (pending a review of the contract with the Mountain West; there are two different interpretations). The Broncos must sell 12,500 tickets as part of their payout and cover their own expenses, so the potential profit likely is between $1.5 million and $1.75 million.

Most of Boise State's 12,500 tickets cost $162, including fees. The school also has club ($270) and premium club seats ($315).

Season-ticket holders can reserve their tickets through 9 p.m. Tuesday. Other fans can submit requests for tickets and will be notified by Wednesday if they were successful.

Tickets are $162 in sections 101-108 (lower level) and 403-412 (upper level). Seat locations are allocated to season-ticket holders based on priority points and to the general public based on order date. (Seating chart here.)

Parking can be purchased for $31.

The Fiesta Bowl has some upper-deck seats for $75 on its website.

Fans are asked to wear orange.

Student tickets are $57 and can be purchased beginning Monday. Students are limited to two each, but the second ticket can be used for a non-student. The tickets must be picked up in Glendale with a student ID.

The ticket office will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

More ticket information here.

Arizona hasn’t played in a major bowl game since the 1993 season, when it won the Fiesta Bowl. This will be the Wildcats’ ninth bowl appearance since then. They won the AdvoCare V100 Bowl (vs. Boston College) and New Mexico Bowl (vs. Nevada) the last two years.

Boise State lost to Oregon State in the Hawaii Bowl last year. The Broncos beat Washington, Arizona State and Utah in Las Vegas the three previous years and TCU in the Fiesta Bowl in 2009-10.

Boise State hasn’t beaten a team from a Power Five conference since Washington in the 2012 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. It is 1-4 in its last five games.

The Broncos haven’t beaten a ranked team since Georgia in the 2011 season opener. They are 0-4 in their last four games against ranked teams.

Every Boise State senior class from 2006 to 2018 will now be able to say it went to a Fiesta Bowl. The 2014 seniors were in danger of becoming the first since 2005 to miss out.

Arizona opened as a 4.5-point favorite in Las Vegas.

Here is my primer on the College Football Playoff system from Friday.

A few quick quotes from the day:

— Coach Bryan Harsin to the team: “Everybody’s going to be watching Boise State, the entire nation, you and what you’re about to go get done. We’re going to enjoy it, but we’re going to go back to work.”

— President Bob Kustra to the team: “Needless to say, we have a warm spot in our hearts for the Fiesta Bowl. It’s so exciting to know we’re going with you guys. You know what that means, we’re coming home with a win for Boise State.”

— Athletic Director Mark Coyle, talking to the players, reminded them that he told them when coach Chris Petersen left that the nation would be watching to see how they respond: “Look at how we responded.”

— Harsin to team: “You would not have thought we would be in this position (after the Air Force game).”

— Harsin said tight end/fullback Alec Dhaenens sprained an ankle in Saturday’s game but should be OK for the bowl game. He also expects tight end Connor Peters to return for the bowl game. Peters was injured against Utah State.

And an interesting note: Washington and former Boise State coach Chris Petersen will play Oklahoma State in the Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2 in Tempe, Ariz. So the Broncos’ former coaches and new coaches will be in town together. Boise State and Washington also meet in the 2015 season opener in Boise.

Big 12 co-champions Baylor and TCU were left out of the first College Football Playoff semifinals, which were announced Sunday morning.

No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. No. 2 Oregon will play No. 3 Florida State, the defending champion.

Baylor finished No. 5 and TCU dropped from No. 3 to No. 6 this week.

The other New Year’s Six match-ups: Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, TCU vs. Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl and Baylor vs. Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl.

Earlier post:

The College Football Playoff semifinals will be announced at 10:45 a.m. Sunday on ESPN. The other New Year’s Six pairings will be announced at 12:45 p.m. on ESPN.

The Mountain West bowls will be announced after 1 p.m.

Here are my latest projections, which I revised overnight while studying teams further to complete my AP ballot. These are based on how I expect the committee to vote, not on my ballot.

Boise State’s opponent in the Fiesta Bowl will depend on two unknowns: which two teams will be left out of the semifinals — in my projection, TCU and Baylor — and which teams finish ranked Nos. 10 and 11.

The first is important because it will affect in which bowls teams can be placed to avoid rematches, frequent bowl visits and intra-conference games. For example, if Ohio State and Baylor get left out of the playoff — leaving the standings as they were last week — I project Mississippi State to play Boise State in the Fiesta.

The second is important because the CFP system uses the highest-ranked teams available. With 12 spots, the top 10 teams are guaranteed berths this year. Boise State takes another and the ACC gets a second spot, in the Orange Bowl, assuming that Florida State makes the semifinals.

If Arizona finishes No. 10 — or No. 11, if Georgia Tech is in front of it — the Wildcats will be guaranteed a berth and are a lock for the Fiesta Bowl.

But the Wildcats got whipped by Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. Arizona was No. 7. To fall out of New Year’s Six position, it would have to get passed by No. 9 Kansas State (lost to Baylor), No. 14 Georgia (bye), No. 15 UCLA (bye, but has a win against Arizona) or No. 16 Missouri (lost to Alabama).

I expect Arizona to hang on to No. 10, or possibly No. 11 behind Georgia Tech, and play Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

As for the Mountain West, I feel confident in the lineup below unless Kansas State slips into the New Year’s Six. That would open a spot in the Cactus Bowl for the Mountain West and change the lineup.

Oh, and a fun wrinkle — Chris Petersen-led Washington likely will play in the Cactus Bowl if Arizona makes the Fiesta. That would put the Huskies and Broncos in the Phoenix area at the same time. The Cactus Bowl is Jan. 2 in Tempe. Not only are the coaching staffs filled with friends, but the Broncos and Huskies meet in the 2015 season opener.

New Year’s Six

Rose (Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.): Oregon (2) vs. Florida State (3)

Sugar (Jan. 1, New Orleans): Alabama (1) vs. Ohio State (4)

Cotton (Jan. 1, Arlington, Texas): Baylor (at-large) vs. Ole Miss (at-large)

Peach (Dec. 31, Atlanta): Mississippi State (at-large) vs. TCU (at-large)

Orange (Dec. 31, Miami Gardens, Fla.): Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Michigan State (Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame)

Fiesta (Dec. 31, Glendale, Ariz.): Boise State (Group of Five) vs. Arizona (at-large)

Mountain West

New Orleans (Dec. 20): Nevada vs. Louisiana (Sun Belt)

Las Vegas (Dec. 20): Colorado State vs. Utah (Pac-12)

Famous Idaho Potato (Dec. 20, Boise): Air Force vs. Western Michigan (MAC)

New Mexico (Dec. 20, Albuquerque): Utah State vs. UTEP (C-USA)

Poinsettia (Dec. 23, San Diego): San Diego State vs. Navy (Navy)

Hawaii (Dec. 24, Honolulu): Fresno State vs. Rice (C-USA)


Game story (rewritten for web)

Murphy: Boise State back on top

Ajayi falls short of Ian’s record

Notebook: Big-play D leads the way

Notes, drive chart, live chat, stats, etc.


1 Florida State

2 Oregon

3 Alabama

4 Baylor

5 Ohio State


7 Ole Miss

8 Mississippi State

9 Michigan State

10 Georgia Tech

11 Arizona

12 Missouri


14 Kansas State

15 Georgia

16 Clemson

17 Arizona State

18 Auburn

19 Boise State

20 Louisville

21 LSU

22 Utah

23 USC

24 Wisconsin

25 Memphis

Dropped out: Oklahoma

Also considered: None

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