So many bowl games, so many meaningless bowl games and so many bad bowl games.

Finally, a good one looming — the Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and Texas Christian on Monday.

The two undefeated BCS busters meet at spectacular University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., in a contest both anticipated and regretted.

Anticipated in that it’s one of the top pairings of the bowl season. Regretted because most college football fans would have preferred to see both schools play teams from power conferences.

I thought TCU (12-0) should have been playing Florida in the Sugar Bowl but Cincinnati got that nod. The Bearcats were painfully mismatched from the outset, leaving everyone to wonder why Urban Meyer was having health issues.

If Meyer was worried and stressed over the prospects of facing Cincinnati, just think how much anxiety he would have felt if he had to face Gary Patterson’s fine team. TCU would have given the Gators a game.

In fact, the best two coaches who don’t coach at BCS programs are squaring off in this game in Patterson and Boise State coach Chris Petersen. Both coaches have shown big-time loyalty to their programs, with both signing contract extensions in the past month.

Both guys are mentioned for nearly every major opening that arises but Patterson, the national coach of the year, hasn’t shown any interest in leaving Fort Worth. Ditto for Petersen in Boise.

The biggest surprise about Petersen’s contract extension is that Boise State school officials kept it a secret for more than a week and announced it at a press conference in the Phoenix area. Most schools can’t keep something like that secret for an hour but it appears Petersen and athletic director Gene Bleymaier have accomplished what few athletic departments can — keeping the local media as outsiders as opposed to being insiders.

As for the game matchup, TCU features the nation’s top-ranked defense led by All-American Jerry Hughes — you might recall the Horned Frogs defeated Boise State 17-16 in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl — and Boise State (13-0) has a powerful offense led by quarterback Kellen Moore. 

Titus Young is a gamebreaking receiver and Austin Pettis (14 touchdown receptions) will at least see limited action as he recovers from a fractured ankle. Boise State also has a top-flight defender in cornerback Kyle Wilson.

TCU quarterback Andy Dalton doesn’t get a lot of fanfare but he’s a winner who makes few mistakes and doubles as a running threat. 

I don’t have a prediction on which team is going to win. I have a hard time seeing the Horned Frogs losing to anyone and TCU is looking to make the Mountain Conference West a perfect 5-0 this bowl season. And remembering the excellent preparation Petersen and his staff did leading up to their epic Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma three years ago makes it hard to believe Boise State could actually lose. 

The Broncos have lost four of their last five bowl outings so you know they want to end that streak. The university badly wants to join TCU’s conference and beating the Horned Frogs in a major bowl would be another feather in its cap.

TCU has plenty of motivation as well. If not for Texas’ last-second victory over Nebraska in the Big 12 title game, perhaps the Horned Frogs would have been playing in the national title game instead.

Regardless, two good teams are meeting in what should be a terrific game. And that’s something that seldom happens any more during the bowl season.

Finally — a good bowl game on the slate.


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