College Sports

Controversy surrounds orangutan’s Fiesta Bowl pick. What it means for UCF and LSU.

Saban dismisses claim that UCF shares national title with Alabama

Alabama coach Nick Saban insists that his team is the true NCAA football champion, and not UCF, who went undefeated last season. Saban added that the College Football Playoff system is "not broken."
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Alabama coach Nick Saban insists that his team is the true NCAA football champion, and not UCF, who went undefeated last season. Saban added that the College Football Playoff system is "not broken."

In the latest episode of animals predicting a sporting event’s outcome, the UCF Knights were chosen to win Tuesday’s PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.

But there was some controversy at the Phoenix Zoo surrounding the orangutans making their choice of the marquee bowl game pitting UCF against LSU.

Jiwa, a 4-year-old orangutan, had the choice between two figures, one wearing an LSU shirt and the other with a UCF shirt. Jiwa climbed onto the platform with the two figures and ripped the paper-plated head off the figure with the LSU shirt.

Zoo officials did not rule it was a selection for LSU to win Tuesday’s Fiesta Bowl as Jiwa did not interact with the LSU shirt, per the rules of the prediction, according to the Baton Rouge Daily Advertiser.

Later, Jiwa’s father, Mike, walked in front of the platform and snagged both the LSU and UCF figures together.

Zoo officials declared Mike chose UCF to win the Fiesta Bowl.

The Phoenix Zoo has seen predictions for the Fiesta Bowl from its orangutans in the past. For the 2016 game, a 9-year-old orangutan named Daniel selected Notre Dame as the winner over Ohio State, according to the Arizona Republic.

It was an incorrect prediction that year as the Buckeyes defeated the Irish, 44-28.

Will history repeat itself? We’ll have to wait until Tueday’s game concludes. The Fiesta Bowl is scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.
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