Weather forces cancellation of SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

By Jeff Wilson

DALLAS – A powerful thunderstorm and the threat for more severe weather Saturday at the historic Cotton Bowl forced the cancellation of the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl between the Boise State Broncos and the Boston College Eagles.

The game was declared a no contest during a lengthy weather delay that started with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter and with Boston College leading 7-0 on a 19-yard run by A.J. Dillon on the Eagles’ first drive of the game.

According to the NCAA, the SFRB is the first bowl game in history to be canceled because of inclement weather.

“We knew there was a chance of inclement weather for this game,” SERVPRO First Responder Bowl executive director Brant Ringler said. “There were no intentions to move the game. Usually the weather plays out to play the game. We had a weather report for what we were going to do and all of those things played out today and we had to make the decision on if we would be able to play today. We had to make that decision and now we just have to move forward.

"We discussed with all parties involved, ESPN, the athletic directors, the coaches. Oftentimes weather moves, and we saw what was possibly coming. It was listed as scattered thunderstorms, and there was a chance it was going to miss us, but, unfortunately, it did not.”

While not finishing the final three quarters rates as a disappointment, especially for the players and the fans who trekked from Idaho and Massachusetts, the players’ safety became the top priority when discussions were held to continue the game or end it.

“We all understood that player safety is the most prominent thing in everyone’s minds,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “Where we were with delays, and the forecast, the bowl people had to make a call and we were all in the support of the call they made in the eyes of player safety.”

Teams were making adjustments based on the first 10 minutes of play and were preparing to return to the field. But as the delay stretched on, the teams started to get the sense that either they were going to be in for a long day or a short one.

“After about 30 minutes, some guys started to look at the forecast and it didn’t look very good,” Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien. “We got news that it was going to be a few hours, and Coach came in and told us that it was over. It’s not what anybody wanted, but at the same time you cannot control it."

The cancellation was still frustrating for the players and their fans.

“You fly all the way down here and unfortunately the weather wasn’t good enough,” Rypien said. “It wasn’t safe enough to play. I will be able to go out and enjoy a meal with my family tonight and hopefully others will, too.”

Bowl officials understand the frustrations caused by the cancellation. Those officials are frustrated as well.

"We work all year long to put on a bowl game and have staff members that work all year long to put on this bowl,” Ringler said. “We are disappointed for the teams that competed all year long to play here. We are disappointed greatly. We talked to our title sponsor and they completely understand, and ironically it is what they deal with and they complete understood and agreed with the decision as we move forward."l