BOISE -- Boise's bowl game formerly known as the Humanitarian Bowl has a new name, new look, new sponsor. It's now the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, a deal locked in for the next six years.
How'd you get that name?
Bowl game, sponsorship and Boise State University athletic officials say the name and partnership were obvious: Potatoes are a signature of Idaho and so is the blue turf.
It's become pretty clear that Idaho's become known for two things: One, potatoes, and two, the blue turf played here at Boise State. Isn't it about time we leverage these two famous icons together? Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir said.
I think when you go around the country or you travel and you mention that you're from Boise or from Idaho, those probably are the first two things that come to people's minds, so to bring those two together I think will be good for the state, Boise State Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier said.
'Duh, the Potato Bowl'
The Idaho Potato Commission is proud potatoes are a symbol of the Gem State, so the president and CEO says naming the game the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was obvious, even expected.
I would say that if you went around the country and polled randomly 1,000 people and you just asked them, what should a football bowl game be called in the state of Idaho? 1,000 of them are going to say, duh, the Potato Bowl, Muir said.
Some Idahoans like the idea of making the bowl game have a unique, obvious Idaho identity.
I think the sponsor is a good pick, T.C. Miller said. It really kind of accentuates who we are, what we're about. The name? I don't know, it's kind of hard to say right now, don't know if it's just the time right now, maybe doing it a couple of years will make it a little easier, but I think the pick was good. I like the logo.
'We don't want it to be funny'
Some people KTVB talked to worried the new game name isn't the best idea because people could only associate Idaho with one thing: Potatoes.
Every time I always tell people I'm on my way back to Idaho where I grew up, all they say is oh, yeah, potatoes, Zachary Muller said. I'd imagine everybody but people in Idaho are probably just laughing [about the bowl name]. I don't think it's a bad thing but same time, there's a lot more here than just potatoes.
Bowl officials say the partnership is perfect, and while some may laugh or poke fun, they're defending the potato and the bowl.
Sometimes people like to make fun of potatoes. They might not look like a rose or an orange, but you know, it's a critical crop in the state of Idaho, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Executive Director Kevin McDonald said. We do understand, especially sports fans, like to voice their opinions, but we really feel like this is really the perfect title to the bowl game.
The new game logo features a football that looks like a baked potato. It's an idea the Potato Commission hopes will help convey a happy, fun message, not one to make fun of.
We don't want it to be funny, we want it to connect emotionally that this is a good thing. It makes you smile, Muir said.
Potato-themed fun in store for Bowl Week
Spuddy Buddy, the Idaho Potato Commission's mascot, is sure to be a new fixture at Boise's bowl game, but Muir says other ideas are in the works too.
A couple of those ideas are having a running back potato sack race on the blue turf and having an offense versus defense tug of war battle, in a pit of mashed potatoes, of course.
The Idaho Potato Commission is getting involved with BSU early also. Muir says if you show his office your BSU vs. Georgia ticket, they'll give you a free foam potato hat to wear to the game. Those hats are also something Muir plans to bring to the new Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.