I have heard it a lot from fans, media, and pundits. Arizona has the home field advantage and that might be the deciding factor in the Fiesta Bowl. I listened to somebody on the Freddy Coleman Show on ESPN Radio the other night say the game was “even” except for the fact BSU was going into Arizona’s “house” (Lets ignore that is not even 100% accurate). I am here to tell you that there is nothing further from the truth here. If Arizona playing in Arizona is anything, it is a disadvantage, and this statement is what drives me crazy about sports media. Watch or listen to any show – most knowledgeable football pundits will say the same thing over and over – the biggest difference in winners and losers in bowl game is preparation. Yes, skill, talent, and other things will play a role. But coaching and focus from the players during the time leading up to the ballgame often decides the winner.
So what in the world could distract players as they prepare for playing a major bowl game in their own state? Could it be all their family, friends, and neighbors asking for tickets? Or is it the added pressure of playing at “home”? Look I am not saying that they won’t have a sound advantage on game day. Chances are we will have to use a silent count and other methods pre-snap. But I have no doubt the distractions for Arizona going into this game will be much higher than it is for Boise State. Arizona has to face little ol’ Boise State who they are expected to dominate in their own state. They are going to hear it from now until game day. The pressure for them is real, and I love that BSU is in the situation they are in leading into the game.
Lastly, you have one last little factor heading into this game. That factor – we own two of those gold trophies you see above this text. Arizona, well, they don’t… Yes, the experience is going to be new for our players on the team. But for our coaches, they have been here, done this. They know who to call, what to do, and how to prepare. This bowl game really is becoming a second home for the Broncos. The stadium is not new, the locker room, the sidelines, and the tunnel the Broncos walk out of, all of that is old news to a majority of coaches. When you add all of this up, when you really look at the writing on the wall, Arizona is at a disadvantage.