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History: Fiesta Bowl

The origin of the Fiesta Bowl comes from the Western Athletic Conference. Upset that its champions in 1968 and ’69 were not invited to any bowl and 1970 champion Arizona State played in the Peach Bowl, conference supporters created the Fiesta Bowl, which initally guaranteed an invite for its champion.

The bowl’s tie-in with the WAC ended in 1978, when Arizona and Arizona State moved to the then-Pac-10 conference.

Memorable moments

• In 1987, Miami and Penn State, the nation’s top two teams battled for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl. Penn State won 14-10 and the game drew the largest television rating in college football history at that time.

• In 1991, several schools turned down invitations to the Fiesta Bowl because the state of Arizona did not recognize the Martin Luther King holiday.

• In 1999, the Fiesta Bowl played host to the first BCS national championship game. Tennessee defeated Florida State 23-16.

• The 2007 Fiesta Bowl has been called one of the greatest college football games ever played. Oklahoma scored 25 unanswered points to take the lead for the first time with little more than a minute remaining in the game. A total of 37 points were scored between 1:26 left in regulation and the end of the game. Boise State,down 35-28 with 1:02 left, pulled off the “hook and lateral” play to tie the game and send it into overtime. The overtime culminated with a variation of the “Statue of Liberty” play on a gutsy 2-point conversion that sealed the win for Boise State.

• At the end of the 2007 game, Boise State running back Ian Johnson proposed to his girlfriend, head cheerleader Chrissy Popadics, on live television. She accepted.

The origin of the Fiesta Bowl comes from the Western Athletic Conference.