The Fiesta Bowl 2011 is a prelude to bigger things in January. Since the Fiesta Bowl 2011 is in the same location as the national championship game, it is an undercard in Glendale as well. Nevertheless, the Oklahoma Sooners stand to treat it as a national title battle, given their recent history in this game. After two of their school’s most embarrassing losses in recent memory, the Sooners want the third time to be the charm in Glendale. However, the Fiesta Bowl has two different potential opponents waiting for them.
The Sooners locked themselves into the BCS with a 23-20 win over Nebraska for the Big 12 crown. Once again, Oklahoma is going to Glendale as a reward, as they did in 2007 and 2008. Of course, the Sooners don’t have very fond memories of those trips.
When the Fiesta Bowl matchup is announced, the Sooners could once again be heavy favorites over a dismissed underdog, as they were the last two times. That would be the case if Connecticut is chosen for the game, as many expect them to be.
The only two possible opponents for the Sooners are Connecticut or Stanford. The Cardinal are 11-1, and would have a West Coast advantage if they were picked. Meanwhile, the Huskies have four losses, and come from the derided Big East.
At first, most thought that the Big East champion would go to the Orange Bowl, but now the projections for the Fiesta Bowl in 2011 are putting the Cardinal in Miami, to face Virginia Tech. If that happens, the Huskies would face the Sooners, and would immediately be counted out.
However, if anyone presumably knows to avoid talk like that, it is Oklahoma. Their famed loss to Boise State in 2007 was the ultimate proof that anything can happen. The next year, they faced a West Virginia team that lost a national championship spot, and lost coach Rich Rodriguez to Michigan. Yet under an interim coach, the Mountaineers destroyed the Sooners.
Therefore, the Fiesta Bowl is a big chance at redemption for Oklahoma, and for coach Bob Stoops. “Big Game Bob” hasn’t won a BCS bowl in a while, so he needs one to restore his reputation. However, beating an 11-1 Stanford team would probably look better, rather than beating a four-loss UConn team that few wanted in the BCS.
That might be the case for any other team, but the Sooners may know better than to look past anyone by now – especially in the Fiesta Bowl. They will get another chance on January 1 at 8:30 pm est on ESPN.
SB Nation- “BCS Bowl Projections: TCU To Rose, UConn To Orange”
San Jose Mercury News- “Stanford likely destined for Orange or Fiesta bowls”