Yes, you are currently 12-0, one of just a few undefeated teams left in college football. You are having a great season. So, why in the world would you turn down the opportunity to play Boise State in the Humanitarian Bowl? Yes, the game will be played on Boise State’s home field, the so called “Smurf Turf”, but you are missing out on a GREAT opportunity! Not just for your school, but for all of College Football!
Jason King had a great posting on Yahoo! Sports discussing this very topic. I’ve posted some of it below. Does anybody have any thoughts on this decision by Ball State?
From Yahoo! Sports:
A few days after Ball State finished the regular season with a 12-0 record, folks around the Mid-American Conference began referring to the Cardinals as one of the best teams in league history.
Elite programs don’t cower in corners when faced with a challenge, which is exactly what Ball State did Wednesday when it declined an invitation to play Boise State in the Humanitarian Bowl.
The game would’ve been one of most intriguing matchups of the postseason. Both 12-0, the Broncos and Cardinals are the only two undefeated teams in college football that won’t be playing in a BCS Bowl.
Yes, the Humanitarian Bowl is played on the Broncos’ home field in Boise, but that shouldn’t matter. The stadium would’ve been packed, television ratings would’ve been huge. Win or lose, the Cardinals would’ve received a level of exposure their program has never known.
Unfortunately, though, the game will never happen.
The Cardinals were too scared.
In some ways it wasn’t difficult to understand Ball State’s position. Coach Brady Hoke had plenty of legitimate reasons for wanting to steer clear of the Humanitarian Bowl.
With the economy in such turmoil, Hoke realizes that many Ball State fans would not make the 1,900-mile trek from Indiana to see the Cardinals play Boise State, which is just two years removed from its upset of Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Even more daunting was that the Broncos are 35-3 in three seasons under Chris Peterson. Over the last 10 years they tout the best winning percentage in all of college football.
Simply playing Boise State is tough enough. Doing so on its home turf would’ve been an even taller task.
Still, the challenge – the opportunity – is one that most up-and-coming programs would welcome. Pat Hill’s “any-time-any-place” approach helped Fresno State earn a reputation as one of top non-BCS programs in college football. Even in their down years, the Bulldogs are admired for being fearless. People respect them.
Right now, not too many people respect Ball State.
Yes, the Cardinals are 12-0, and it’s true Ball State has one of the top three or four quarterbacks in college football in Nate Davis. But take a look at its schedule.
The Cardinals’ 12 opponents are a collective 54-88. Only three of them finished with a winning record. Ask any Ball State diehard, and they’ll tell you the team’s marquee victory came against in-state rival Indiana, which went 3-9.
The bottom line is that people still want to see if Ball State is for real. All season long, fans and notable alums have complained that media-types and voters haven’t given the Cardinals their due, but it’s tough to shower too much praise upon a program that displays such cowardice the one time they have a chance to face a quality opponent.
In trying to save face by avoiding a potential butt-kicking in Boise, Ball State actually made itself look worse. Humanitarian Bowl executive director Kevin McDonald called the situation “unfortunate for college football.”
Unfortunate? Try embarrassing. Not just for Ball State, but for the Mid-American Conference, too.
MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst should’ve done everything in his power to convince Ball State to accept the H-Bowl’s invitation. His failure to do so makes his league look small-time in comparison to non-BCS conferences such as Conference USA, the Western Athletic Conference and the Mountain West.