More prestigious bowl: Cotton or Fiesta?

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on January 6th, 2012 at 10:28 PM

I have been having a debate with my friend all day about the Cotton Bowl should be a BCS bowl when the current rotation ends after the 2013 season.

Take away the BCS status of the Fiesta Bowl for a moment. Which one is the more prestigious bowl? The Cotton has had a long, illustrious history going back to 1937 while the Fiesta is relatively young, created in 1971.

The Fiesta was orginally the bowl where the WAC champion got an automatic spot, while the Cotton was the SWC vs SEC for years and then when the SWC dissolved, it became the Big 12 who gets the bid to the Cotton.




January 6th, 2012 at 10:39 PM ^

Cotton has a ton more history, no question.  Fiesta got the BCS status though.  Now that Cotton has the great venue, I wouldn't be surprised to see it at the BCS level when the new contracts are negotiated.


January 6th, 2012 at 10:34 PM ^

The problem with the Cotton Bowl was the previous site.  It always seemed like a gray, windy day.  The Fiesta had the pretty grass field and great weather.  Now that the Jerry Dome is involved, it's a tougher call.  


January 6th, 2012 at 10:37 PM ^

Fiesta Bowl seems like the most commercialized bowl. The Cotton Bowl did kinda get the shaft. It fit better .... Rose, Cotton, Orange, Sugar .... what the hell does a Fiesta have to do with anything. This is Ammmerica and we speak American! lol


January 6th, 2012 at 10:43 PM ^

The Cotton Bowl is actually making a push to be in the BCS, either as an additional bowl or being just the fifth game while removing the double games being played in the same bowl season bc of the MNC game. Seems pretty nice on tv today.


January 6th, 2012 at 10:43 PM ^

If the Cotton took over for the Fiesta though, 3 of the 4 bowls along with the national championship 3 out of 4 years would be in SEC country... The last thing we need is MORE ESPN coverage down there and more home championship games, especially considering we are obviously going to be playing in all the national championship games after 2013. We don't want to be the away team every time.


January 6th, 2012 at 10:44 PM ^

Back before the mid 1980s or so, the 4 major bowls were Rose, Orange, Sugar and Cotton.  Those were the only 4 that regularly played on New Years Day until about 1980.  Unfortunately for the Cotton, the SWC tie-in was their road to oblivion.  When SMU got the death penalty, the prestige of the SWC dropped like a rock, and the Cotton was relegated to the 4th major bowl.

At the same time, the Fiesta Bowl dropped their WAC tie-in, moved to January 1 and started spending money like crazy to get the best teams (remember the Michigan-Nebraska matchup of 1986).  A few seasons of this was the end of the road for the Cotton Bowl's reputation, and the Fiesta Bowl took its place.

Blue Durham

January 7th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

This is right on but omits one important thing. The Fiesta did not have a tie-in with any conference. The Big 10/Pac 10 champ to the Rose, Big 8 (later 12) champ to the Orange, etc. In the early '80's the power was with the independents. Penn State, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State etc. were all independent back then (I think even Ga. Tech and South Carolina were as well) This allowed for a 1 vs. 2 national championship game to be set up between these independents, as with the Penn State vs. Miami game.

That is what really boosted the prestige of the Fiesta. By the time of the destruction of the Southwest Conference, the Cotton Bowl had no pool of teams available to get highly ranked teams.


January 6th, 2012 at 10:51 PM ^

Is a den of thieves. Personally I hope the BCS dies a quiet death as is rumored. Bowls go back to traditional match ups and then add a plus one. Best scenario short of a true playoff


January 6th, 2012 at 10:57 PM ^

no but the thing is tositos is a HUGE sponsor for fiesta bowl, and it makes sense called the tostitos fiesta bowl. I mean losing that huge sponsorship would kinda suck for the BCS and it would sound wierd as the "Tostitos Cotton Bowl"


January 6th, 2012 at 11:01 PM ^

Just from a historical standpoint, definitely the Cotton Bowl. It's one of the original four, as I recall, and it just seems as if the Fiesta Bowl tried to invent a history for itself, particularly during its initial spending spree in the 80s, whereas the Cotton  Bowl already had one by the time the Fiesta Bowl was conceived and it didn't need to do nearly as much to make its name. Particularly because  of the game some of us are watching right now, this should be a BCS bowl (if the BCS will hang around in some form or another, as it may). 


January 6th, 2012 at 11:16 PM ^

I'm really hoping that the BCS gets rid of the additional games (non-championship games) and lets the current BCS bowls go back to conference tie-ins.

Rose: Pac #1 v. B1G #1
Sugar: SEC #1 v. B1G #2
Orange: ACC v. Current non-AQ/BE #1
Fiesta: BXII #2 v. Pac #2
Cotton: BXII #1 v. SEC #2

That gives the big four conferences numbers one and two a big time bowl berth, along with the top ACC team keeping the Orange and playing an interesting opponent every year. No idea if the Orange Bowl would sign that deal, but it's a great bargain for the rest, IMO, both geographically and ratings wise.


January 6th, 2012 at 11:30 PM ^

The Big 12 is not the Big 8 expanded; it was a new conference formed by the merger of 8 teams from the Big 8 and 4 teams from the SWC.  At least, that's the Big 12's official version of things.

I would also state that I would be quite happy if we dropped the idea of a tie-in for #2, #3, #4, ..., #8 teams in conferences.  Only conference champions should be allowed to have tie-ins and the bowls should have to bid for the rest of the teams.  That would go a long way to preventing the shenanigans that the minor bowls engage in when they force teams to buy 25,000 tickets at $150 each to the McDonald's Whopper Bowl presented by Wendy's.


snarling wolverine

January 6th, 2012 at 11:51 PM ^

Bidding for teams would be cool, but probably not very practical.  I'm guessing that the big argument for the tie-ins for all the non-champs is to make travel arrangements easier.  If you're a Big Ten team and not the champion, you'll probably be headed to Florida, so you can plan a couple weeks earlier.  

The mandatory ticket buying thing has got to stop, though.  Make the bowls sell their own damn tickets.


January 6th, 2012 at 11:26 PM ^

So assuming a +1 is added (and it sure sounds like that's going to happen), this year would have looked like this:

BCS: 1 LSU v. 4 Stanford, 2 Alabama v. 3 Oklahoma State

Rose: 5 Oregon v. 10 Wisconsin
Sugar: 6 Arkansas v. 13 Michigan
Orange: 15 Clemson v. 7 Boise State
Fiesta: NR Washington v. 14 Oklahoma
Cotton: 8 Kansas State v. 9 South Carolina

This is a great slate overall, I think. Plug USC in the mix and the one opponent ranked lower than fifteen is out, as well.


January 6th, 2012 at 11:43 PM ^

In 2010 it would have been #6 Ohio v #7 Arkansas, just like it was. In 2009 it would have been #11 Iowa v. #15 LSU, in 2008 it would have been #10 Ohio v. #16 Georgia.

Like it or not, the SEC is going to put one or two teams in the top four annually; with that in mind, the SEC #1 v. B1G #2 matchup seems like a good one, especially the past few years.


January 6th, 2012 at 11:23 PM ^

In the football aware years of my lifetime at least, the Fiesta Bowl has had more prestige.  However, I accept that when the full histories of the two are compared, the Cotton Bowl is the hands down winner.  Also, recent developments with impropities within the Fiesta Bowl committee and the Cotton Bowl's new stadium are shifting more in the latter's favor.

That being said, I'm also a fan of the BCS +1 concept.  So I say, let's keep the Fiesta Bowl in the mix and add in the Cotton Bowl, and rotate having one of the would be 5 BCS bowls getting the +1 championship game every year instead of leaving it as the traditionless and boringly named BCS National Championship Game.

Highly doubt it would ever happen, but in my ideal college football world, that's how it would play out...



Black Socks

January 6th, 2012 at 11:35 PM ^

The Cotton has more history, but the Fiesta more prestige.  

Plus I lived in Dallas and it is flat, ugly, and can be cold in January.  Phoenix trumps in all those areas.


January 6th, 2012 at 11:35 PM ^

The Fiesta Bowl spent a lot of money to get their "major bowl" status.  Considering their recent scandal, it's not difficult to connect the dots and figure out that they paid off the right people at the right time.  

It never really set well with me that the Cotton Bowl got discarded like yesterday's garbage.  Sadly, though, in the modern NCAA, the results are the same: to the cheaters go the spoils.  

The NCAA and the bowls need a major overhaul.


January 7th, 2012 at 12:32 AM ^

The Fiesta Bowl managed to game the system in the 80's by having no conference affiliation and thus secured it's place in the Bowl Alliance in place of the Cotton.

I'd make the Fiesta Bowl the permanent MNC game in the BCS and replace the current Fiesta spot with the Cotton.


January 7th, 2012 at 12:34 AM ^

You say WAC like it's a bad thing, but when the Fiesta Bowl was created, the WAC was the conference geographically between the Pac-8 and the Big 8.  It used to be kind of a big deal.  This was the membership in 1971 when the Fiesta Bowl was created: Arizona, ASU, BYU, UNM, Utah, Wyoming, CSU, UTEP.  And when it was formed, it almost got the Oregon schools to come along.  A far cry from the desperate skeleton that it is today.


January 7th, 2012 at 1:16 AM ^

I hear what you're saying, but the only thing that stuck from your post was "Roy Roundtree will wear the #1 jersey..."


might want to remove that sig... just sayin... not too many awards go to guys with 18 catches...


in all seriousness, there's no need for the BCS to add the cotton bowl... just make it one of the rotating homes of the NC game when we finally get a playoff system.