Barstool Arizona Bowl in jeopardy after Boise State withdraws, Central Michigan opts for Sun Bowl
The 2021 Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl may be on its last legs.
Boise State withdrew from the bowl Monday after determining it did not have enough players to compete due to COVID-19 issues and hours later, Central Michigan opted out of the Arizona Bowl to instead compete in the in the Sun Bowl.
Sources: Washington State has been informed they’ll be playing Central Michigan in the Sun Bowl.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 28, 2021
CMU’s Sun Bowl opponent, Washington State, was left hanging when Miami pulled out of the El Paso-based game on Sunday due to COVID problems of its own.
The Sun Bowl will likely need to pay the Arizona Bowl financial compensation to bring the Chippewas to their bowl game, but the bigger concern is whether the Arizona Bowl can find two replacement teams by Friday, when the game is scheduled to be played. .
The Arizona Bowl may try to bring in teams with 5-7 records and high APR scores which is how the Gator Bowl wound up inviting 5-7 Rutgers to play Wake Forest after Texas A&M withdrew due to a lack of healthy players.
There’s several reasons why the Arizona Bowl could have trouble dying in two programs on such short notice but the most significant factor is money.
As Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger reports, the Arizona Bowl is streamed on YouTube (and Barstool Sports’ website) and the payout is a mere $350,000. Compare that to the Sun Bowl, which is televised on CBS and pays out $4.55 million.
The Sun Bowl is televised on CBS with a payout of $4.55 million.
The Arizona Bowl is streamed on YouTube and Barstool with a payout of $350,000.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) December 27, 2021
Between transportation, hotels, COVID testing, etc., flying a football program out to Tucson for an overlooked bowl game doesn’t make much fiscal sense for an athletic department. On top of that, it’s doubtful many fans from either school would be able to attend.
The more likely scenario is that the Arizona Bowl is canceled, which would be a bummer for bowl organizers and Tucson tourism.