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HILL: 15 Fiesta Bowl fun facts

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Randy Hill

Veteran columnist Randy Hill is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com.
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PHOENIX

We have investigated the Bowl Championship Series landscape and concluded that it has effectively camouflaged all weapons of mass disappointment. My resilient cronies and I will bomb it another time. But a species of grotesque détente seems to have been achieved by the BCS and a rising number of media allies. I still prefer a pie-in-the-sky playoff system, but this column is not about that. Today's topic is sponsored by the dazzling impetus for this pervasive embargo on anti-BCS caterwauling. Ladies, gentlemen and goal-post kidnappers, I give you the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 3, 8 p.m., Eastern, on ABCS). A few paragraphs from now, I'll be giving you "15 Fiesta Bowl-Related Questions You Were Too Indifferent to Even Consider." Before that endeavor, let's thank the two college football teams responsible for creating this blemish-free national championship game and accompanying bowl-season harmony. Up first are those unbeaten Buckeyes from THE University. The THE reference has become popular, because several universities in Ohio allegedly were attempting to max out 's corporate credit card. The 13-0 Buckeyes, thanks to the hiring of second-year coach Jim Tressel, have rediscovered the Big Ten-thumping glory attached to being the greatest football state north of Florida. Their Tostitos Fiesta Bowl date is the team representing One of the Universities of Miami. These are the Hurricanes, Coral Gables, Fla. Chapter, and their record qualifies Miami for consideration as the Alcatraz of college football. The defending national champions are 12-0 this season, extending the school's winning streak to a cozy 34. Even before Tressel screened their game film and realized he's not dealing with the Miami from Oxford, Ohio, the 'Canes were listed as double-digit favorites. But we can hammer strategic agendas into the ground later this month. So, without further interruption from actual football talk, here are my 15 bitterly irrelevant Tostitos Fiesta Bowl inquiries: 1. What, in the name of the Frito Bandito, is a Tostito? The Tostito is a tortilla-styled corn chip developed and marketed by Frito-Lay. From across a reasonably scaled room, one stray Tostito could be mistaken for a shot-glass coaster. Unlike traditionally rendered corn chips and Lisa Marie Presley, Tostitos do not break up easily. As sponsorship-title names go, "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl" is one of the least cumbersome. For example, this year's Rose Bowl title presenter is Sony Playstation 2, a product that makes the "Granddaddy of 'Em All" sound more like the "Grandson of 'Em All." 2. Where is the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl played? The mailing address for this event is Phoenix-adjacent Tempe, Ariz., and the venue is Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of University. Sun Devil Stadium allegedly has the regular-season capacity to seat 73,656 disillusioned fans. As the home base for ASU and the NFL's Cardinals, its seats should be well rested for the BCS Championship Game. 3. Are unbeaten football teams rare in the Phoenix area? No, but they only play in August. 4. Does the Phoenix area have an amusement park? Well, according to residents of Tucson, Phoenix's ranking amusement park is ASU. But as a loyal stepson of , who am I to zing another university? Anyway, considering its water attraction, the ranking amusement-oriented facility in Phoenix is Bank One Ballpark. Ranking No. 2 is any Phoenix-area freeway. 5. Can compelling nightlife be located in the Phoenix area? Yes. Try nearby Scottsdale. As a three-month resident of the area, I have learned that perhaps the most vigorously hip compound is the two-headed Axis/Radius monster. My only attempt to gain access was intercepted by a reconnaissance bouncer who assured me that the neighborhood bingo palace shut down years ago. As an alternative, I suggest a visit to Scottsdale's new, well-appointed and exciting Fox Sports Grill. On busy nights, the line separating hopeful patrons and the front door is bright yellow and electronically deployed. 6. Where are the best restaurants in the Phoenix area? After weeding out various Sonic Drive-In franchises, the consensus is ... Scottsdale again. Scottsdale, by the way, was not named in honor of Willard. A three-month, dinner-bell victory lap suggests that Scottsdale is the epicenter of something known as Southwestern cuisine. As a New Mexico exile, my favorite place, thus far, is Carlsbad Tavern on Hayden just south of Osborn. The name is a tribute to New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns and the menu offers creative adaptations of New Mexico-themed eats. Ironically, you probably can't find food this tasty in Carlsbad, N.M. Also try ... the Fox Sports Grill on Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright! I'm hoping that as a FOX employee, the menu soon will include a mug-shot inspired dish called "Randy Hill Angel Hairline Pasta." 7. Do the Buckeyes and Hurricanes have any Fiesta Bowl history? Do they ever. The Buckeyes are 1-1 in Fiesta Bowl participation, losing 19-31 vs. in 1980 and defeating 28-23 in 1984. The 'Canes are 0-3 in the Fiesta, losing to (37-39) in 1985, (14-10) in 1987 and (29-0) in 1994. The 1987 game was for all the national marbles and the festivities included a group Hurricane walkout during the Fiesta Bowl banquet. The 'Canes, tastefully turned out in military fatigues, were shifting into combat mode and received their marching orders from the late Jerome Brown. As bland attire goes, the fatigues had nothing on 's game uniforms. 8. Who or what is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy? Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is a well-to-do and popular musical group that will perform after the National Championship Pep Rally in Tempe on Jan. 2. If you're over 40 years of age, you probably assumed that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is ESPN analyst Lee Corso. 9. Which school has the best mascot? That's a draw. is fronted by a legendary Buckeye named Brutus, who looks something like a giant M&M nourished by a caffeine drip. Miami counters with Sebastian the Ibis. An ibis is a wading bird, and Miami's interpretation could be mistaken for Joan Rivers in an orange watch cap. Sebastian was credited with a 15-yard penalty during the 2001 Sugar Bowl after applying a congratulatory hug to 'Canes fullback Najeh Davenport. The Ibis earned this flag for behaving like a too-personal fowl. For the record, my favorite college mascot represents and is a leprechaun named Regis Philbin. 10. Which school has the best band? According to musically inclined acquaintances, 's 225-member "Best Damn Band in the Land" should be the best damn band in the land of Tempe and Fox Sports Net. Its specialty is the script Ohio, which — according to a buddy from — received a crucial upgrade when the band acquired the spell-check function. The UM band once attempted a script Miami, but couldn't find anyone to dot the second i. 11. Do Miami fans travel well? Based on last season's Rose Bowl championship match with ... no. But sources in Pasadena insist that the Rose Bowl's 2002 red sea included thousands of incognito 'Canes fans. A popular L.A.-area theory holds that these Miami folk disguised themselves as fans to get away with tipping local waitresses five percent. 12. Will beer be sold at Sun Devil Stadium during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl? Yes! I'm assuming that bowl officials are attempting to end the Fiesta's streak of riot-free competition. 13. When and why was the Fiesta bowl created and when did it become a major player? The first Fiesta Bowl occurred in 1971 AD and was born to provide bowl-game fun for ASU. was beaten 45-38 by the Sun Devils that season. But the evolving Fiesta ended its siesta in 1987, and — like an ugly man — became more attractive by spending more loot. This largesse was executed by more than doubling the per-team pay out of $1,063,784 in 1986 to a robust $2,400,000. That kind of loot attracted the 'Canes and . 14. Will the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl be sold out? Yes. Fans like to attend national championship games. The same may not be said for satellite BCS events like the FedEx Orange Bowl in Miami. According to unsubstantiated reports, each purchase of a ticket for the Iowa-USC battle will include eight free passes to a Miami Heat game. 15. Does the Phoenix area have any non-sports-affiliated celebrity residents? And how. For my money, the No. 1 local celebrity is rock star emeritus Alice Cooper. To put Buckeyes fans at ease, I'm pretty sure Alice is not related to John Cooper. Randy Hill can be reached at his e-mail address: rhill@foxsports.com.
Tagged: Florida State, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, New Mexico State, Ohio, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Florida, Notre Dame, Nebraska, New Mexico

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