Friday, January 04, 2008

Ups & Downs of the Bowl Season

29 of the 32 bowl games have been played, including all but one of the BCS matchups. Who’s been up, and who’s been down? Let’s take a look.

Up: Temple. Missouri’s Tony Temple rushed for 281 yards and four touchdowns, and Temple coach Al Golden took himself out of the running for the UCLA job.
Down: UCLA. Some guy decided he’d rather coach at Temple.

Up: New Year’s Eve Cowboys. Oklahoma State routed Indiana in the Insight Bowl.
Down: New Year’s Day Indians. The Illini went down in flames versus USC. But at least the Rose Bowl Committee kept their traditional Big Ten-Pac 10 matchup. And thank God, since those Rose Bowls with Texas were total yawners.

Up: Florida Atlantic. The Owls earned their first-ever bowl victory by downing Memphis.
Down: The Rest of Florida. Central Florida, South Florida, Florida State, and Florida all went down to defeat. For good measure, the ’72 Dolphins had a lousy week, too.

Up: Red. The Texas Tech Red Raiders rallied to win the Gator Bowl, and Red Grange was named the greatest college football player of all time by ESPN.
Down: Yellow on Blue. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets flopped on the blue turf. I know the game is ACC vs. WAC, but someone should figure out a way to put the Volunteers in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Up: Carr. The Wolverines gave Lloyd a victorious send-off.
Down: Stars. The top three Heisman finishers (Tim Tebow, Darren McFadden, and Colt Brennan) all lost. Somewhere, Chase Daniel is smiling.

Up: Boston College. The Eagles won a bowl game for the eighth straight year, downing Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Down: Boston College. No one cares when you win eight straight mediocre bowl games.

Up: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia. Oh, sorry. I thought we were talking about hoops.
Down: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia. We’re actually talking about Stoops.

Up: Mister Burns. Kodi Burns’s touchdown run in overtime led Auburn past Clemson.
Down: Sideshow Bob. An online cheating scandal was a huge distraction for Bobby Bowden. Just one more reason for an old man to fear computers.

Up: Boilermakers. Led by Curtis Painter’s 546 passing yards, Purdue won the Motor City Bowl.
Down: AA. Star Houston running back Anthony Aldridge had just 30 yards rushing in a Texas Bowl loss. The game was on NFL Network, but for some reason CBS and NBC passed on simulcasting this one.

Up: Pac-10 in Texas. Cal and Oregon ended losing streaks with victories in Fort Worth and El Paso, respectively.
Down: Pac-10 vs. Texas. Arizona State was pounded by the Longhorns. ESPN even showed some live action on occasion, in between the endless shots of Mack Brown’s stepson.

Up: Erik Ainge. The Tennessee quarterback threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over Wisconsin.
Down: Erik Ainge’s Offensive Coordinator. David Cutcliffe now takes over at Duke. “Accepting the Duke football job” is the sporting equivalent of “entering the witness protection program.”

Up: Mangino. The Kansas coach knocked off Virginia Tech to cap a 12-1 season.
Down: Reno. Nevada lost 23-0 to New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl. Apparently, you only get to score if your team is part of the bowl’s name.

Up: East and West. East Carolina and West Virginia pulled upset wins.
Down: Central. Central Michigan and Central Florida both went down to defeat. On the bright side, Comedy Central gets The Daily Show and The Colbert Report back, resuming action Monday after a long layoff. Just like Ohio State.

Up: Bulldogs. Mississippi State, Fresno State, and Georgia all won.
Down: Bulls. South Florida got waxed by Oregon in the Sun Bowl. Paying homage to neighboring Mexico, these Bulls played matador defense.

Up: The Beaver. Oregon State moved to 9-4 with a win over Maryland.
Down: June. Coach Jones and his Hawaii Warriors had a tough trip to New Orleans. Louisiana trips are a lot more pleasant when you’re playing LA Tech.

Up: 81 For Coach Joe. 81-year-old Joe Paterno got an Alamo Bowl victory.
Down: 31 For Coach Groh. Up 28-14 with four minutes remaining, Virginia lost 31-28 to Texas Tech. The ACC was 0-5 from New Year’s Eve onward. In this one, ACC stood for “Al’s Cavaliers Choked.”