The Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl appears to be in limbo.
On Monday, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy announced that Boise State had dropped out of Friday’s upcoming contest against Central Michigan due to COVID-19 issues. Portnoy added that Barstool is “actively looking for a replacement.”
Earlier in the day Monday, Sports Illustrated reported that Boise State was on the precipice of pulling out, with Washington State emerging as a possible opponent for Central Michigan.
Washington State had previously been tapped to play against Miami in this Friday’s Sun Bowl, which would take place in El Paso, Texas. Miami withdrew from the contest Sunday due to COVID cases.
Portnoy suggested a poll on Monday amongst the Washington State players to see where they prefer to play.
“I suggest @WSUCougarFB does a poll of players whether they want to play in Az bowl or Sun Bowl,” Portnoy tweeted.
The payout would be considerably greater for both teams from the Sun Bowl.
While a vast majority of college football bowl games air on ESPN, Barstool acquired the rights to the Arizona Bowl this past July.
As with everything to do with Barstool, the Barstool Bowl came with a fair share of controversy. An op/ed in the Idaho Statesman ripped Boise State for being associated with the brand. A USA Today Sports story said Barstool “might be the most objectionable sponsor in bowl game history.”
However, Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain said his players were fired up to be in the game.
“What [Barstool] did during COVID to help restaurants, and the amount of money that they raised to help those businesses stay a live: let me tell you something man. That tells you you’re aligning — going to a place where people are really about giving back, and I think that’s really exciting,” McElwain said.