clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Snow bowl could pit top teams

EPHRAIM — The Snow College Badgers' win over Glendale Community College confirmed a postseason bowl-game berth for the Badgers, and there's not even any question about which bowl game it might be.

Beating Glendale ensured the Badgers would have at least a seven-win record. A record of 6-4 or better is what they needed to automatically receive an invitation to the Top of the Mountains Bowl in December.

The question that does remain is what the game will mean for the Badgers and for the bowl itself.

With the Badgers extending their undefeated record Saturday with a win over Pima, most likely continuing their 4-week-old No. 1 national ranking, the Top of the Mountains could also mean king of the hill for Snow.

"It's slowly shaping up that way," said the NJCAA's assistant to the executive director, Mark Krug, last week.

At that time there were five undefeated teams in the NJCAA. If things play out the right way, Krug said, "there's still a chance that there will be two undefeated teams at the end of the season," one of those being Snow.

Technically, the national NJCAA champion is crowned after the last poll of the year after the final bowl game. But, said Krug, "traditionally we like to get that settled on the field by letting the No. 1 and 2 teams play together."

Since the Top of the Mountains primarily selects Snow as one of its teams, the national championship is likely to be settled at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the bowl's venue, as long as Snow stays in the top two.

That's quite a different story from a couple of months ago, when it looked like there might not even be a Top of the Mountains Bowl.

After three years since the game's 2003 inaugural season, Zions Bank pulled out as the title sponsor, said Rick Pike, executive director of marketing and public relations for the game.

"They felt ... we should have a broader base of sponsors," he said.

The move nearly pulled the plug on the game. The bowl committee leaned toward canceling it, organizing a bigger committee with a new funding plan and then resurrecting the game next year.

But after a couple of other sponsors stepped up their commitment, and with other sponsorship proposals that Pike said "we are confident will work out," the game was back on again, possibly even better than before.

"Here's the great news that has helped us keep it afloat: KJZZ (television) has picked it up," Pike said. "The game will be shown live on KJZZ. That is huge."

After three years, Pike said, "people on the Wasatch Front are beginning to expect this event."

He expressed hope that, because of that, the Top of the Mountains could establish a long-term relationship with KJZZ "that could solidify this bowl game for many years to come."

A national-championship game wouldn't hurt, either.

A letter sent to bowl sponsors last year stated, "We anticipate staging a national championship within the next few years."

Pike updated that last week when he spoke about possible opponents that could line up against Snow on Dec. 1 at Rice Eccles.

"We hope to stage the national championship," he said.

Snow would almost have to remain undefeated for a national championship scenario on Dec. 1, something that should be fairly easy except for one upcoming game against Eastern Arizona, currently undefeated and ranked No. 4.

"Win or lose between now and Dec. 1, (Snow) is a terrific team yet again, and we're going to line them up against a terrific opponent," Pike said. "You have to think Butler is at the top of the list because they're No. 2."

Butler, the No. 2 team, is at the top of the opponent list. Another possible foe is Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, currently ranked No. 3, who eliminated Jones County Junior College from the ranks of undefeated teams on Saturday.

Pike said he hopes the prospect of a national championship will overcome people's dislike of the cold and will draw a bigger live crowd from Sanpete County, home of Snow College, despite the ease of being able to watch the game on television in the warm comfort of home.

"We're frustrated, really," he said, "that Sanpete County residents haven't traveled to see this football game. I don't want to be in their face and say, 'Why aren't you coming,'" he said, "but, why aren't you coming?

"Sure it's cold, but we have hot chocolate. Come support one of the pillars of the community."