FIESTA BOWL- Oklahoma v Boise State
Oklahoma's one-sided win over Nebraska puts them in the Fiesta Bowl. Despite everything that has happened on the Sooner offense, they looked as cool as the Kansas City weather last night in their 21-7 dispatching of Nebraska. The Sooners were composed, efficient, and prepared for the task at hand. A surprise, considering Nebraska knew for at least three weeks that they were playing here, while Oklahoma ensured their birth last Saturday. Watch out if Adrian Peterson plays in Glendale.
Oklahoma wins the Big 12 and gets the automatic Fiesta Bowl invite.
Boise State ran the table, will finish in the BCS top 12 and likely play here.
ORANGE BOWL- Wake Forest v Louisville
Wake Forest, more so than Boise State, is the Cinderella of the BCS ball. Of all the pre-season predictions of how strong the ACC was supposed to be, it is the Demon Deacons that holds the tickets to Miami. They earned their pumpkin ride on the heels of a sloppy, messy, boring, 9-6 win over Georgia Tech.
In a game that saw five field goals make up all the scoring, Wake Forest looked to be the better team and capped an unlikely trip to the BCS and their first ACC Title since 1970. Wake's Riley Skinner made no mistakes and passed well, GT's Reggie Ball did neither and that's why Wake is eating orange's this morning.
Louisville's trip to Miami was long, rocky, bumpy, hurtful, but rewarding. With West Virginia's epic thriller over Rutgers in the books, the Cardinals wrapped up their first Big East title with a 48-17 thrashing of Cincinnati. West Virginia tip of a two-point conversion sealed a 41-39 triple overtime thriller against the Scarlet Knights, who would have won the Big East outright with that win. A task that should have been easier as duel-threat Pat White did not start with a bad ankle.
Everyone finishes 10-2, Louisville has the highest BCS rank and the bid.
SUGAR, ROSE, NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
This gets a bit complicated, so bear with me. Six of the ten BCS entrants will play in these three games, but only two spots are settled. We know that Ohio State plays in the title game and we now know that USC will play in the Rose Bowl. Where Michigan, Florida, LSU, and presumably Notre Dame go is in the hands of the BCS.
Florida made their case, and I think the correct one, in a fantastic game in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. They defeated a very game Arkansas team, 38-28. Five quarterbacks threw for touchdown passes. Two touchdowns were scored on muffed punts and the world's worst shovel pass. Florida made a field goal, only their 4th of the year. In the end, the Gator defense was too much for Arkansas and semi-injured all-world running back, Darren McFadden.
McFadden twisted his ankle in the first quarter. While not at full strength, he did throw a touchdown pass, and scored one on the ground. The Razorbacks stayed with late Season starter, Casey Dick at quarterback, but McFadden looked better on a couple of occasions. Dick lost his last two starts. They will second guess Houston Nutt's decision too bench Mitch Mustain all winter as Dick looked awful again.
Speaking of looking awful. Why was Florida running the option with Chris Leak? Leak is a great pure passer, and certainly not an option quarterback. Watching them last night wanted to make some grab the Alka-Seltzer as Leak looked lost at times in the second half. Tim Tebow will love this offense, at least he's built for it.
Florida has made a tremendous case for Glendale.
They got to make that case as USC suffered the day's, and maybe the season's, biggest upset at the hands at the hans of UCLA at the Rose Bowl. UCLA looked every bit the team that outplayed the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for 58 minutes earlier. This time they played the full sixty, clinching the game on an incredible punt, yes you can have great special teams on Saturday. A 62 yard blast with under :10 to go backed USC up for one shot at a 90 yard play. They finished 75 yards short.
John David Booty certainly is a very good quarterback, but he threw one interception. One too many. With the Southern Cal running game stuck in neutral, they had to win in the air, a task that the UCLA Bruins were certainly up to, considering that Southern Cal's big receivers are the best tandem in the country. With Calvin Johnson sputtering at the end of the season, Dwayne Jarrett became the best receiver in the country. UCLA held him to 4 catches for 68 yards.
While a third straight title game would have been incredible, USC will have to be content at the Rose Bowl facing Michigan or LSU.
It's my opinion that Ohio State and Florida should play for all the marbles. We know that Ohio State is a very worthy team, and they have been my #1 since beating Texas in Austin. They don't wow you with flashy play, they rind you down with incredibly consistent play. They don't beat themselves. A meat and potatoes team.
Why I think Florida is more deserving than Michigan is twofold(I will not turn in my Wolverine fan card). Florida played the toughest schedule in the country. Their opponents had a winning percentage of .643. .643, the best in the country. They played one bad half, that to Auburn. They defeated LSU (BCS), Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, and Florida State. One can argue that the SEC was a notch below superhuman, but for any one to get through the SEC with one loss is a great accomplishment.
Second, Michigan already had their chance to beat Ohio State. They lost. Do you think Michigan would win the second time around? Jim Tressel is the best coach in the country. If they had played in September, then yeah, rematch them. But they closed the season. What happens if Michigan wins? You get a split title assuming that Florida would beat Notre Dame in the Sugar. Why not play Florida and Ohio State in the title game and settle it that way.
(I will not pout if Michigan finishes #2 :) )
This marks the last Sunday wrap-up of the year. I really enjoyed doing these. We will do this again next season. While I'm not going anywhere, I turn my attention to other blogs I write for. I hope you enjoyed reading them and I'll be on here on a semi-regular basis until next season. Thanks for your readership. August 2007 is right around the corner.
An alert reader reminds me that Louisville finished 11-1 and won the Big East out right. I have discussed this with my intern and have cutoff his catnip supply. :)
Well, you can never say that college football is dull now, can you.
In a day that will be long remembered for three incredible games, we wake up this morning not knowing just who will face Ohio State for the National Championship. You have to love rivalry games. They knocked Texas out of the BCS and Southern Cal out of the championship.
The folks at Fox, by the way, send a bushel of roses to UCLA. Their show tonight will get watched, there will be intrigue on who goes where.
Chances are you saw the games yesterday, or at least know what happened, so we'll break things down by bowl projection this morning.