The latest results of the Discover Fan Loyalty Poll asked the question if college football fans would rather receive gifts this Holiday season as per usual, or if they would forego receiving presents in order to watch their favorite team win the BCS Championship. In a very close vote, 46 percent of fans opted for presents, while 42 percent said they would trade in all of their Holiday gifts in order to witness their favorite team hoist the crystal ball trophy after winning the BCS Championship. But while only the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide can play for the BCS Championship, that does not mean that we should ignore other exciting bowl games this season, including the Liberty Bowl between the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and the Iowa State Cyclones.
At first glance, this is a strange matchup. First, you have Tulsa, who win Conference USA this season. They will go up against Iowa State, who finished ninth in the Big 12 conference this season. It is not often that a first place team meets a ninth place team in a bowl game. Making matters even more odd is that this is the only game with an even point spread. Oddsmakers feel as if this is the closest game, at least on paper. It speaks volumes to both conferences, as they feel the best team in one conference is on par to the ninth best in another.
This is even more bizarre due to the fact that these two teams already faced each other this season. That almost never happens in a bowl game, but Tulsa and Iowa State met in the season opener for each team to begin the 2012 college football season. That game was won by the Cyclones, 38-23, in a game in which the Golden Hurricane were dominated in almost every statistical category. That adds to the question why is this game an even spread?
In that first meeting, Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz threw 2 of his 13 touchdown passes on the season in the opening victory. Shontrelle Johnson also rushed for a career high 120 yards in the win, as it was the only time he ran for more than 75 yards all season long.
Tulsa counters with quarterback Cody Green, who threw for 17 touchdowns on the season, with two of them coming in the opening loss on the road. But he was able to put that game behind him in leading the Golden Hurricane to a seven game winning streak, culminating in the conference championship win over the Central Florida Golden Knights.
Before we take a further look into this game, take a look at the latest results from the Discover Fan Loyalty Poll. College football fans across the country were not only asked whether they would rather receive gifts this Holiday season or watch their favorite team win this year’s BCS Championship, but they were also asked which team had the best chance to win the national championship, as well as which ones were truly the best in the country. After checking out the following infograph with the complete results, make sure to let us know how you feel. Who is the best team in 2012? Who will win this year’s BCS Championship Game? Would you trade in all of your gifts for the chance to watch your favorite team hoist the crystal ball trophy after winning the BCS Championship Game?
Looking past the two teams’ head to head meeting, the Cyclones faced stiffer competition this year. Still, they did drop five of their last seven games after beginning the season 4-1. But some of the final losses were against upper echelon teams, with a few of the results rather close.
Sure, the Cyclones lost by more than two touchdowns to the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners, but they fell to the Kansas State Wildcats by just six, and also lost the regular season finale by a touchdown to the West Virginia Mountaineers. Iowa State still holds three win over bowl eligible teams, including the opener against Tulsa.
The Golden Hurricane counter with four victories over bowl eligible teams, with two of them coming over Central Florida in a three week span toward the end of November. They also knocked off the Fresno State Bulldogs and Rice Owls. Their other two losses came against the SMU Mustangs and Arkansas Razorbacks.
With an Over/Under set at just 51.5, this is not expected to be a highs coring affair. Then again, the two combined for 61 points the first meeting back in Ames, so this game could break some more trends when the face off again in Memphis on New Year’s Eve.
Stay tuned to The Pigskin Report for the most complete coverage of the entire 2012-2013 college football season, as well as the results from each week’s Discover Fan Loyalty Poll. Make sure to Like Discover on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, as they have done a fantastic job at providing us with the most entertaining results from and poll throughout the 2012 college football season!
* The 15-week Discover Fan Loyalty Poll is conducted by Rasmussen Reports, a nationally recognized leader in polling, who gathers sentiment by phone from 800 college football fans who follow games at least once per week on television, radio, in person or online.
Discover launched the Fan Loyalty Poll to give die-hard fans a platform to showcase their dedication and love for their favorite college football team leading up to the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game and 2013 Discover Orange Bowl. Each week the poll will offer new questions about what college football fans are thinking this season.
Beyond title sponsorship of the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game and 2013 Discover Orange Bowl, Discover’s commitment to college football includes relationships with ESPN and Notre Dame Football on NBC.