12/14/2012 05:56 PM
Considering the Potato Bowl is a drivable distance for Aggie fans and players, and it gets the team on TV, there's nothing to lose. USU was just five points away from a possible Orange Bowl bid, but there's no reason to risk going nowhere. Louisiana Tech stalled on an invitation to the Independence Bowl, expecting something better, but it never happened. The Bulldogs are home for the holidays with a 9-3 record.
Meanwhile, the Aggies are back in the postseason business. If you ask them, they'll tell you they're thrilled to be in Boise. That may not be entirely true, but it's their story and they're sticking by it.
"Trust me," said Aggie coach Gary Andersen, "I've never been to a bowl game and said, 'Boy, that was a bad bowl game.' That has never happened to me. I'm grateful and the kids are. Our experience last year was as good a bowl experience as I've ever had."
That's a leap, considering Andersen was part of the Utah teams that played in the Sugar and Fiesta bowls.
Realistically, there isn't a lot of bowl things to do in Boise in winter. There's no trip down Bourbon Street (Sugar), no mega-parade (Rose) and not even lunch on the U.S.S. Midway (Poinsettia, Holiday). The high point of the week is the cart racing and bowling excursions.
You know it's a low-key bowl game when the website features a wide shot of potato fields
There are no swaying Miami palms, or even Las Vegas hotels in the picture. So it's not surprising that Toledo fans had purchased just 300 tickets, as of Wednesday. Late notification and expensive travel combined to keep the numbers low.
But what I like about Saturday's Potato Bowl is that it's unpretentious. There are no huge banquets or golf outings on game week; nobody wearing a yellow bowl jacket, either.
"It's organized unbelievably well," Andersen said.
It sure is. Straight and true, just like potato rows.
It's also a glorified regular season game. There's nothing wrong with that, if you ask me.
"I had a good time last year; I enjoyed it," said USU running back Kerwynn Williams. "It was my first bowl game and I had a good time."