Mother Nature had other plans for the historic Cotton Bowl, now known as the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl. No. 23 Boise State and Boston College faced off in the big event, but a series of lightning strikes from a wickedly powerful storm rolling through Dallas, Texas, forced a delay in the game.
Boston College was up 7-0 with 5:08 left in the first quarter when lightning struck not too far from the facility. Repeated lightning strikes kept kicking up more and more game delays with the clock restarting every time one was spotted.
After 1.5 hours of waiting, and the forecast showed more severe weather looming, officials decided to call off the game. It was declared a no contest and will not affect either team’s season record. Boston College finishes the season at 7-5, while Boise State ends up 10-3.
This was the first bowl game in history to be canceled because of inclement weather, reported USA Today. Fans of both teams who traveled from Idaho and Massachusetts to watch the game were understandably upset. They were among the millions of Americans trapped in nasty winter weather that cut wide swaths across the country during the holiday season.
NCAA spokesman J.D. Hamilton told USA Today via email that the only other cancellation on record is when Hawaii’s planned second postseason game in 1941 against San Jose State was canceled because of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
It also was a first for Boston College’s coach Steve Addazio, who finished his 33rd year in football.
“I don’t second-guess anything about it. The decision was made for the right reasons and that’s the welfare of both teams’ players.”
Associate bowl director Brett Ringler said officials had already met in advance of the game, knowing that bad weather was brewing. They wanted a plan in place before kickoff.
“We followed all those protocols today and we finally had to come to a decision to cancel the game based on weather that was forthcoming as well,” Ringler said.
Boise State was aiming for its second straight 11-win season while Boston College was hoping to snag its first eight-win season under Addazio.
“We are all deeply disappointed,” Addazio said. “A lot went into this, a lot of work and a lot of preparation. Tough decisions have to be made. And they have to be made in the big picture of things.”
Even though everyone was upset with the cancellation, whoever is behind the First Responder Bowl’s Twitter account tried to have a little bit of fun while waiting for the weather to move on.
“The amount of people who think I control the weather is impressive. I can’t even control the remote at the house as long as Hallmark Christmas movies are on,” they tweeted.