College Football Nation: SEC Dominates and Johnny F. Does It Again

Jeff Hostetler FishWrap, FishWrap Archive


It was a very exciting week of bowl games and there were a few changes in the coaching world that will be setting off a chain reaction of other coaching relocations.  I think the two biggest shocks of the week were Penn State’s Bill O’Brien bolting so suddenly and then the way Alabama was not playing like Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Only one more day until we get to see FSU and Auburn go at it in Pasadena.  Any predictions, anyone?  I am thinking close in the 1st quarter and then FSU comes alive and runs away with it late.  The SEC’s streak will end Monday night.  The bowl games have been nice, but I still wish they would pick teams based on geography sometimes.  I know a lot of northern schools love coming south for the winter, but I hate seeing empty stadiums for games.  Schools gladly accept the bowl invites but in the process lose money going to them.

My Gators sat at home this season but were able to save $1.43 million by not going to a bowl game.  On top of that, they will still collect a nice check after bowl season because of all the other SEC teams that went bowling.  Let’s hope they keep considering changing things up or not keep the schools on the hook for unsold tickets or unused hotel rooms.  The bowls are fun for fans but bad for budgets.  I highly recommend reading “Death to the BCS” to get a better insight on the bowl games and how they make so much money, while the schools lose so much.  I do know the BCS is leaving us after this season, but it is still a good read.

Now, let’s get into more news, highlights, and scores from this past week of games.

1. Navy 26 Middle Tennessee 6 – Armed Forces Bowl – Congrats to both teams for making a bowl game.  Navy has been the most consistent “military” school out of them all.  The midshipmen’s triple option started strong and never looked back, as they made this an easy win.

2. Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 – Music City Bowl – Ole Miss capped off a great season in a tough division by winning this bowl game.  If the ball bounced the right way a few more times for Ole Miss this season they could have been looking at a 10-2 finish and possibly a better bowl.  The real news from this game is that Georgia Tech starting QB Vad Lee plans to transfer . . . and he was the starter!  You would think a mobile QB like him would love the option offense but he was not happy and he is out of there.

3. Oregon 30 Texas 7 – Alamo Bowl – It was suppose to be a Mack Brown victory and the perfect send off game for the Texas coach, but a healthy Marcus Mariota and an inspired defense put that dream to bed right away.  I am sure the rest of the website has all the rest of the news on the game, but it was a good win for the Ducks.

4. Texas Tech 37 Arizona State 23 – Holiday Bowl – Everyone thought Arizona State would run away with this game, but the Red Raiders came out scoring and punched the Sun Devils right in the mouth.  Texas Tech Coach Kliff Kingsbury had his team start 7-0 before dropping its final five games.  Good way for Texas Tech to end the season and to carry momentum into the off season.

5. Arizona 42 Boston College 19 – AdvoCare V100 Bowl – We were suppose to see a shootout with two of the nation’s top running backs going at it.  Instead we got Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey going off for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns while Boston College’s Andre Williams had a quiet 75-yard rushing night.  Good win for the PAC-12 and a real statement about the East Coast bias in the Heisman voting.

6. UCLA 42 Virginia Tech 12 – Sun Bowl – Don’t let the score fool you.  UCLA was up 14-10 in the 4th quarter and then out of nowhere scored 28 points to make the game a blowout.  This win put UCLA coach Jim Mora on Texas’s radar but he choose to stay at UCLA and keep building there instead of moving on.

7. Mississippi State 44 Rice 7 – Liberty Bowl – So how does Rice follow up their 10-win season and a conference championship?  By letting Mississippi State run all over them.  The only thing about this game is . . . why are not a lot of schools talking about Dan Mullen?  He is a great coach and is working miracles at Mississippi State.  Imagine if he had the resources that Texas or USC has.

8. Texas A&M 52 Duke 48 – Chick-fil-A Bowl – One of the best bowl games of the season.  Duke looked unstoppable all game and was up 38-17 at halftime.  Then Johnny Football took over and led a furious comeback.  With Johnny’s NFL decision looming, he would not go out on a lopsided loss.  A&M was able to score late and somehow have their defense wake up and make a play to secure the win.

9. Nebraska 24 Georgia 19 – Gator Bowl – What a sloppy game.  The weather was bad and there were dropped passes all day as a result.  Bo Pelini finally got a win over an SEC team in a bowl game and hopes it will save his job for another couple months. Georgia opted to go for it on 4th down late in the 4th quarter and could not convert, ultimately sealing the win for Nebraska.  Bulldog backup QB Hutson Mason played well for injured starter Aaron Murray and gave Georgia fans hope for the future . . . just not that day.

10. North Texas  36 UNLV 14 – Heart of Dallas Bowl – The Mean Green capped their first winning season under coach Dan McCarney and finished with nine wins.  He has the program headed in the right direction and hopes this is the first step of many great things to come.

11. South Carolina 34 Wisconsin 24 – CAPITAL ONE Bowl – This was Ja’Deveon Clowney’s final game as a Gamecock and you thought he would have been the shinning star . . . when South Carolina QB Conner Shaw was the real star of the day.  Shaw threw the ball beautifully all day and made things easy for Gamecock wide receivers.  Spurrier has built a winner there in Columbia and hopes to secure an SEC title next season.

12. LSU 21 IOWA 14 – Outback Bowl – You want a defensive slug fest?  Then this was your game!  It was LSU holding a commanding 14-0 lead for most of the game, which was played in a pouring rain.  LSU’s running back Jeremy Hill ran for more than 200 yards and scored 2 touchdowns to help ignite the LSU offense.

13. Michigan State 24 Stanford 20 – Rose Bowl – The 100th “Grand Daddy of Them All” was amazing. Michigan State showed the nation their No. 1 defense and suffocated Stanford most of the day.  Sparty’s offense was just as impressive moving the ball against a very good Stanford defense.  The story of the day was walk-on linebacker Kyler Elsworth, who got his first start in place of suspended Spartan star Max Bullough — and he did not disappoint.  Elsworth came up with the biggest stop of his career on 4th-and-1, when he met Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney head on, snuffing out a late Stanford comeback.  Great game and a HUGE win for the B1G, while regaining some credibility on the national stage.

14. UCF 52 Baylor 42 – Fiesta Bowl – This time Baylor found itself on the wrong end of a shootout.  UCF was a huge underdog and pulled out the program’s biggest win.  The Knight’s Blake Bortles had a huge game and his wide receivers made him look good.  He was dropping passes all over the place and put his team up 14-0 in the 1st quarter.  Baylor’s defense was HORRIBLE.  They could not tackle if their lives depended on it.  UCF looks to carry this huge momentum builder into the off season and help generate a successful recruiting season.  At least Art Briles did not use this loss as an excuse to jump to the UTexas job.  He is also staying put right there in Waco.

15. Oklahoma 45 Alabama 31 – Sugar Bowl – Remember this name . . . Trevor Knight!  After what he did to the “BEST” Alabama defense, the nation should keep his name at hand.  He will be leading Oklahoma onto the national stage for the next few years.  Knight threw for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead his Sooners to an upset of the Crimson Tide.  Give credit to the Oklahoma defense as they made things hard for AJ McCarron to get into rhythm.

Of course, Alabama just may blame the loss on a “we did not want to be here” attitude, but a loss is a loss.  Bama fans do have something to look forward to and that is “TRUE FRESHMAN” running back Derrick Henry.  He was the one highlight of the night for The Tide as he ran seemingly at will.  He looked like Eddie Lacy and Trent Richardson combined.  He is bigger than Adrian Peterson and is only a freshmen.  The NFL is already waiting on him!  Good job by “Big Game” Bob Stoops in leading Oklahoma to a another bowl game victory.  He is the only coach to have won all four BCS bowls.  The only thing that went wrong for Oklahoma last night was this:

16. Missouri 41 Oklahoma State 31 – Cotton Bowl – An old Big 12 rivalry was renewed and Missouri was the one that came out on top this time.  It was probably because they were playing with some “SEC SWAGGER.”  Being in the SEC just makes you better than everyone else . . . or so I am told!  The Tigers were known for offense, but it was the defense that finally made a play to seal the win.  Late in the 4th quarter when Oklahoma State was driving for the win, the Mizzu defense was able to force a fumble and return it for a touchdown.  Great ending to a great season for Missouri, after how bad things were last season.

17. Clemson 40 Ohio State 35 – Orange Bowl – When Clemson was invited to the Orange Bowl, all anyone could think about was how bad it was for them vs West Virginia.  Au contraire!  Clemson’s Tajh Boyd was spectacular this day and started the scoring with a 50-yard touchdown run.  Boyd’s teammate Sammy Watkins was equally stellar, racking up 227 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns.

Everyone wondered how Ohio State would respond after the loss to Michigan State.  The Buckeyes were able to make it a game, but the Clemson defense put Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller on his butt most of the night and never allowed him to really feel comfortable.  It was a back-and-forth game but the leadership of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins proved to be too much.

This loss is just another blow to the B1G bowl credibility after Michigan State worked so hard to restore some of that dignity for the conference in the Rose Bowl.  Seeing Clemson take it to Ohio State, imagine how bad it would have been for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes if they did get to face FSU in a national title game.  FSU beat Clemson 51-14.  Yeah, it would have been another national title blowout.

So, all we have left is the National Championship Game.  We would be able to speculate about who Texas is going to hire, but it looks like Louisville’s Charlie Strong is about to jump ship and head to Austin.  Is it a good hire?  I think Strong is “getting while the getting is good.”  QB Teddy Bridgewater led Louisville to where they are, but he is headed to the NFL.  Strong is smart to get out before he reverts back to 7-5 or 8-4 seasons and falls off everyone’s radar.

Now we can all guess who Penn State is going to hire, but it seems to be down to just a handful of candidates — and they are all willing to go to Happy Valley.  Enjoy the National Championship Game and the FINAL BCS game we will ever have to go through . . . hello, PLAYOFFS!!


1. Florida loses ANOTHER player

2. Auburn defense preview

3. LSU lands No. 1 recruit

4. Florida State is more than Winston

5. Strong negotiations


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