Oh... it used to be the Humanitarian Bowl... Right...
Boise, Idaho? Isn't that Boise State? Home of the Blue Field?
Albertsons Stadium is best known for its distinctive blue playing surface, which was the only non-green football playing surface among Division I FBS programs from Boise State's entry into what is now FBS in 1996 until Eastern Michigan installed a gray surface at Rynearson Stadium in 2014.So... the point of this blog post is that Western Michigan University, where I teach, gets a bowl game this year -- after a truly disastrous year before. Amongst previous bowl games for the Broncos, was at the inaugural 2007 International Bowl in Toronto -- the only NCAA bowl game since the Bacardi Bowl in 1937 to be outside the United States -- which Western lost to Cincinnati 27-24.
Chris Berman of ESPN has also called Boise's turf "The Blue Plastic Tundra," a joking reference to "the frozen tundra" of Lambeau Field. Another nickname for the surface is "Smurf Turf." Players refer to it simply as "The Blue."
Information on WMU's bowl destination.
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Date: Dec. 20, 5:45 p.m.
Location: Boise, Idaho
Stadium: Albertsons Stadium (Boise State University)
Tie-ins: Mid-American Conferences vs. Mountain West
BOISE, Idaho -- The Western Michigan football team has accepted a bowl bid to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 20 against Mountain West opponent Air Force at 5:45 p.m. ET at Bronco Stadium on the campus of Boise State University.
"Western Michigan University is extremely excited and grateful to share our celebratory season with the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and the city of Boise," said head coach P.J. Fleck. "The 18-year existence of this bowl shows the elite commitment and work ethic of all that are involved in this historic bowl. Boise, it is time to ROW THE BOAT!"
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will be broadcast live on ESPN. The Broncos are bowl eligible after the completing the best turnaround in program history and Mid-American Conference history, going 8-4 this season after 1-11 last season. WMU has the top scoring offense in the MAC, the MAC Coach of the Year in Coach Fleck, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in Jarvion Franklin and 11 All-MAC selections.
"We are extremely honored to receive the invitation to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl," said Director of Athletics Kathy Beauregard. "It is a great honor for our football program that has earned this opportunity after the incredible turnaround we have had this season. We are excited to represent the Mid-American Conference in this bowl and in a city with such a long bowl history."
Air Force is bowl eligible after finishing the regular season 9-3 (5-3 MWC) and fourth in the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division. The Falcons boast the eighth-best rushing attack in the nation, averaging 272 yards per game. Jacobi Owens is the top rusher on the team with 1,054 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Kale Pearson has passed for 1,513 yards and 14 touchdowns but has also rushed for 646 yards and six touchdowns.
This is the first trip to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, formerly the Humanitarian Bowl, for the Broncos. WMU has appeared in five bowls in program history with its last trip in 2011 to the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl.
History of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
1997 - Cincinnati 35, Utah State 19
1998 - Idaho 42, Southern Miss 35
1999 - Boise State 34, Louisville 31
2000 - Boise State 38, UTEP 23
2001 - Clemson 49, Louisiana Tech 24
2002 - Boise State 34, Iowa State 16
2004 - Georgia Tech 52, Tulsa 10
2004 - Fresno State 37, Virginia 34
2005 - Boston College 27, Boise State 21
2006 - Miami 21, Nevada 20
2007 - Fresno State 37, Virginia 34
2008 - Maryland 42, Nevada 35
2009 - Idaho 43, Bowling Green 42
2010 - Northern Illinois 40, Fresno State 17
2011 - Ohio 24, Utah Sate 23
2012 - Utah State 41, Toledo 15
2013 - San Diego State 49, Buffalo 24
As for the Humanitarian bowl, I was thinking that this was the game sponsored by Micron, which made both the midsize tower Windows 95/98SE/NT4 computers I used for years and the memory SIMMs and DIMMs that I tended to buy for them. According to Wikipedia, right about that, too.
The game was sponsored by Micron Technology, an Idaho-based manufacturer, from 1999 to 2002 under the name Crucial.com, which sold computer memory upgrades from Micron. The bowl game then briefly had no sponsor for the January 2004 game. In December 2004, the name was changed to the MPC Computers Bowl. MPC Computers, which is also based in Idaho, was formerly MicronPC, the computer manufacturing division of Micron, but was later split off as a separate company. In April 2007, it was announced that the bowl will again be called the Humanitarian Bowl. In May 2007, Boise-based Roady's Truck Stops was announced as the new sponsor, thus renaming the game the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl. On May 25, 2010, mobile business application, uDrove became the sponsor of the Humanitarian Bowl, signing a four-year agreement to replace Roady's. On August 3, 2011 The Idaho Potato Commission signed six-year naming rights deal to sponsor the bowl, renaming it the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.You can mock all you want about this being a minor bowl -- hell, it isn't even between Christmas and New Year's -- but for the MAC conference, you aren't going to get the Big Bowls, and it's pretty exciting for the teams and the alumni and the university.
With fifteen games played through 2011, it is the longest running cold weather bowl game currently in operation. The payout is $750,000, but teams are required to provide a corporate sponsor, purchase a minimum number of tickets, and stay at a selected hotel for a minimum stay. Because of this, 7–4 UCLA declined an invitation to the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl.
So good on them. Go Broncos.