Mitch Barnhart Discusses Playing in the Fiesta Bowl
Dec. 3, 2000
Corvallis, Ore. - About playing in the Fiesta Bowl:
'It's thrilling, exciting, and just unbelievable to be playing in the Fiesta Bowl. It really is phenomenal to be talking about a BCS (Bowl Championship Series) bowl after the way we started the season narrowly beating Eastern Washington. Here we are now playing the most storied program in all of college athletics on national television and on New Year's Day - it's just amazing.'
About playing Notre Dame in Tempe:
'This is a tremendous match-up for us. Playing in the Fiesta Bowl gives our fans a chance to enjoy the game experience. This is a tremendous opportunity for our program, it gives Oregon State University a chance to showcase its football program and entire university against a great opponent. All things being equal, this is as good a scenario as we could have hoped for in playing in our first major bowl game.'
The ticket situation:
'I have just been told by Fiesta Bowl officials that the maximum number of tickets Oregon State University will receive is 17,500, which is about 5,000 less than the original number that was first discussed. I encourage fans in any way possible to use their resources to obtain tickets, whether that be through ticket brokers in Arizona, friends, whatever, because this will be the toughest ticket in Oregon State athletics history. We absolutely have to sell out our allotment and then some to prove to the BCS that Oregon State travels well to bowl games.'
When did you learn the Fiesta Bowl was serious about Oregon State:
'The Fiesta Bowl officials told us early that they felt Oregon State was going to be a part of their event, obviously that made me feel very good about our situation. We visited with the Fiesta Bowl officials in Arizona about two weeks ago, and they were very receiving about hosting Oregon State. We had further discussions during the week, and by the middle of the week they said we were their anchor team. All of these discussions came before our conference commissioner (Tom Hansen) made his remarks about the BCS, and I thought that was very important. Oregon State is playing New Year's Day because of the way it played on the field, the marketability of our head coach, the fact that we're conference co-champions, and we are ranked among the top six in the country. We're going to the Fiesta Bowl because of our merits, not because the commissioner threatened to blackball the BCS if the conference didn't have two teams selected.'
About the last 10 days for Oregon State football:
'I don't know how much better it could for this program than what we have experienced the last week or so. We've been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, ESPN has been here as well as other national media, and none of that has been lost on anybody. We have been in a very flattering situation, because all the other schools in this conference have been supporting us in the BCS, and now we get to carry a lot of the weight for this conference for the first time.'