Leave it to the Fiesta Bowl to come out smelling like a Rose.
There were all the blue bloods of college football Thursday, standing as one in Chicago and announcing that the sport is finally ready to move forward as one and give its blessing to a Final Four in the sport.
A seeded, four-team college playoff is headed our way in 2014. The dreaded BCS is about to go the way of the Astro-Bluebonnet and Poulan Weed-Eater Bowls: Not forgotten (the memories are too painful), but, thankfully, gone.
There was our plucky, happy-go-lucky, down-but-not-out Fiesta Bowl, which not only survived its trip through the mud but with an honored seat at the latest and greatest amateur sports cash trough.
In spite of its own arrogance and stupidity — former executive director John Junker awaits sentencing on conspiracy charges, birthday party fiascos, strip bar stories and accounts of stuffing politicians’ pockets with 50-yard-line seats — the Fiesta joined its BCS brothers from the Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls as revolving hosts of the national semifinal games.
They have a piece of the Final Four every two years with an opportunity to double its pleasure with the highest bid for the championship game. Jerry Jones will have a 100,000-seat head start for the title tilt, but don’t think he wouldn’t have loved a seat at the play-in-game table too.
Those who wanted the purity of an on-campus national semifinal were shouted down. Those who felt the Fiesta Bowl would be forsaken by its big-money brethren underestimated depth of the bond. Glendale might not have a top-tier matchup every other year — the Big 12 champ will either be in the Final Four or facing the SEC champ on New Year’s Day — but they were already getting their share of UConn’s under the old system.
I’ve gotta hand it to you, Fiesta Bowl: You’re not going to let $5 million in legal bills and the utter humiliation of standing naked in front of the sports world – even without tassels and a G-string — get you down. You are all that and a bag of Tostitos chips.
If I were you, I’d throw a party; BYOB and no palm grease allowed, of course.
•The front of the Phoenix Suns website touts next week’s draft with the catchy phrase “Who’s Next?” with photos of four draft picks from the past:
Dan Majerle, who was taken a quarter century ago and is now an assistant coach.
Steve Nash, who was drafted, traded, reclaimed as a free agent and now has one recycled Nike out the door again.
Robin Lopez. Uh, really?
At least one of the spots should have sported a dollar sign in memory of all the draft picks sold to the highest bidder under the Robert Sarver Era.
•The NHL schedule came out on Thursday. Plenty of “PHX” in the little squares and no sign of any “QUE,” so that’s a good start.
At this point, I don’t see any way that the Coyotes aren’t here at least for next season. Actually, that was always the case because of the possibility of a lockout next fall with the collective bargaining agreement about to expire. But if Glendale voters are asked to vote on expenditure for anything, thumbs are going down and the future gets bleak. Let the race for signatures begin.
•By the way, Winnipeg doesn’t come to play the Coyotes in Glendale next year. Well, so much for that rivalry. Those harboring conspiracy theories involving preferential treatment for the NHL-owned Coyotes might want to note that Phoenix ends the season with 21 of its final 30 games on the road with eight sets of back-to-backs. With friends like that ...
Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.