Now with the best of the bowl games behind us, a few thoughts on how the entire situation was all tedium and yawns.
Someone said that 2015 may go down in history as the worst bowl game season on record and I can’t disagree. Overlooking for a moment an Alamo Bowl for the ages, and barring a National Title game that goes to twenty-nine overtimes, causing 65-year old Nick Saban to ask the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility that leads to him scoring a game-winning pick six, I’d have to say, “Yes, yes, it was a horrible year for bowl games.”
Still, there were a few especially terrible things that stood out, such as…
- The Fact That The New Year’s Six Were Crap
Here’s how all of the big six bowl games went down over the weekend:
Peach: Houston 38, Florida State 24
Orange: Clemson 37, Oklahoma 17
Cotton: Alabama 38, Michigan State 0
Fiesta: Ohio State 44, Notre Dame 28
Rose: Stanford 45, Iowa 16
Sugar: Ole Miss 48, Oklahoma State 20
That’s a 250-105 aggregate between winners and losers and the closest game was a two score affair… and God Bless Michigan State for just trying to get a first down. Highlights of the weekend included:
- The Big Ten’s two finalists looking as tough as a Venezuelan soccer forward.
- An overwhelmed Notre Dame team that, frankly, would have needed St. Peter’s Cathedral to fall from the sky to stop Ezekiel Elliott.
- The great state of Oklahoma with its worst bowl results since the Dust Bowl.
- The Houston Cougars, who scored their biggest win ever over Florida State, in a game with as much appeal outside of the Gulf Coast as a Mobile Bay shrimp boat race.
Add to New Year’s Day Tennessee’s 45-6 Outback Bowl beatdown of Northwestern, and Michigan’s 41-7 Citrus Bowl thumping of SEC East Champs Florida, and it was a bowl year that will be overlooked easier than Miss Philippines.
- The Playoff Picked The Wrong Teams
With hindsight being 20/20 (except for historical revisionists), Ohio State and Stanford would have been much better opponents for Clemson and Alabama than Oklahoma and Michigan State, respectively.
That the Buckeyes should have been invited to the CFP was apparent even before the revelations on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I wrote last month that Urban Meyer’s one-loss Buckeye squad deserved a playoff spot more than one-loss Michigan State, which we all discovered after Ohio State dominated Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl 42-28 and the Spartans were roasted on a spit, 38-0, by an Alabama team that apparently starts twenty-two of Ivan Drago’s and Xena, Warrior Princess’s love children.
As for Oklahoma, they looked like they deserved their playoff game, especially after beating #4 Baylor, #11 TCU, and #9 Oklahoma State back-to-back-to-back to end the regular season. But with all credit due to Clemson for a fantastic defense that shut down a hot Sooners attack, we now see that Baylor was overrated, losing three of their last four in the regular season (OU, TCU, Texas), that Oklahoma State was overrated, losing their last three, (including a 48-20 pasting by Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl), and that TCU (whose 47-41 triple OT stunner over Oregon in the Alamo Bowl was the biggest bowl comeback ever) was probably the best team in a mediocre Big Twelve.
Meanwhile, Pac 12 champion Stanford and their wunderkind Christian McAffrey, used their bowl to give Iowa it’s biggest swirly in two decades. The Cardinal’s opening game stumble at Northwestern was easily forgiven until Oregon edged them 38-36 in No-Loss November, which meant no playoff. I’m not saying that Stanford or Ohio State would have beaten either Clemson or Alabama, but they were clearly better teams than Oklahoma and Michigan State.
- The SEC Is Back, Dang It
Apart from Texas A&M’s (not a real SEC team) 27-21 loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl and Florida’s 41-7 depantsing by Michigan, the SEC has bounced back strongly from last year’s mediocre 7-5 bowl record. The conference has gone 7-2 this year in bowls, with an opportunity to run to 8-2 if/when Alabama beats Clemson next Monday.
Arkansas finished on a tear, winning 45-23 over Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl, Tennessee finally looks to be going in the right direction, and expect Ole Miss to be in the title hunt next year after their easy Sugar Bowl win. Then again, according to my records, the SEC has never been under .500 in bowl games in the last fifteen years, so I’m not sure what I’m talking about with this “the SEC is back” thing.
- Joey Bosa’s Fiesta Bowl Ejection Was Estúpido
Though I’m still not sure what a Battlefrog is, or if he speaks Spanish, I’m sure he/it/they would agree with me that Joey Bosa should have been allowed to finish his career at Ohio State on the field instead of being tossed for targeting against Notre Dame. I’ll admit that it was “technically” the right call according to NCAA rule 9-1-3, which states “No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul”, but his ejection was the result of a bad rule.
What appeared to me to happen was that Bosa went for the tackle too early on Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, lowered his body, and ended up running into Kizer with his head. He didn’t launch himself and leave his feet. He didn’t make helmet to helmet contact. He attempted to “wrap up”. Why this couldn’t have been a warning, or even a personal foul sans ejection, I don’t know. It seemed a letter of the law rather than spirit of the law kind of call. All credit to Bosa, he took his exit in stride and refused to question to referees after the game. It’s just a shame that he, along with Butkus Award winner Jaylon Smith (who was injured in the first half), wasn’t able to play the majority of the game.
- Carly Fiorina Should Have Stayed True To Her School
Forgive me for wandering into the wasteland of the political milieu, but GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was simply “bang out of order” (as my British friends say) when she tweeted:
Love my alma mater, but rooting for a Hawkeyes win today. #RoseBowl
— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) January 1, 2016
I’m not sure who Fiorina offended more, Stanford alums or the good people of Iowa, neither of whom are as stupid as Fiorina had hoped. The tweet immediately backfired and was blasted in the twittersphere for its blatant pandering to Iowa caucus voters. Things went from bad to worse when Iowa started losing badly, as the hashtag #carlycurse began circulating online, implying that the things Fiorina supports (such as her former company Hewlett-Packard) always end up being doomed. Kudos to White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice who got it right with this tweet:
When it comes to college football, take it from the Beach Boys and be true to your school and leave politics out of it. Oh wait, that’s not how college football works at all, is it?
So much for the 2015 Bowl Season. Thanks, Obama.