And then there was Alabama v. Clemson.
As I get back into the post-holiday swing of things I wanted to share a few notes/thoughts on the bowl season. Yes, it was a snoozer for the most part; with blowouts galore throughout. Yes, some teams may have proven their “We’re Ready For Prime Time” hype premature (I’m looking at you Iowa, North Carolina, and Oklahoma State).
There were quite a few impressive performances that don’t get mentioned below and that’s okay. Really, it’s okay if I don’t join the 2016 Tennessee Vols hype machine after their impressive bowl win over Northwestern. I can recognize that Leornard Fournette’s five touchdown performance was great without being accused of snubbing him.
Really, people, it’s okay. Let’s make a resolution in 2016 to just relax.
Alright let’s begin!
Best Performance (Team): Alabama’s 38-0 win over Michigan State
When you waltz into a playoff game with a potential number one pick as your Quarterback (Connor Cook) and a stout defense (Top-20 points allowed, 7th against the run) getting shutout isn’t really a possibility. That Alabama made it one against the Spartans is as impressive as it gets.
Worst Performance (Team): Oregon blowing a 31-3 lead with only 19 minutes left in their bowl game against TCU (sans Boykin)
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one. You’re up 31-0 at the half against a TCU team without their star Quarterback and lose in triple overtime. Not only did the Ducks lose, but they were shutout in the third and fourth quarters of regulation. Excuses? There aren’t any; Oregon just flat out blew this game.
Best Performance (Individual): (Tie) Running Back Christian McCaffrey of Stanford and Quarterback Jared Goff of Cal-Berkeley
It would have been acceptable to simply list Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and his record-setting Rose Bowl performance as the best performance but that would have been doing a disservice to Cal’s Jared Goff. McCaffrey’s performance was impressive, and made a few people do weird things. Like this guy:
But Goff’s performance (467 passing yards, 6 touchdowns) against Air Force shouldn’t be ignored, and made for the perfect pre-draft announcement swan song.
Worst Performance (Individual): (Tie) Connor Cook of Michigan State and Derrick Henry of Alabama
Derrick Henry averaged less than four yards per carry while Connor Cook completed under 50% of his passes (throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns). Both looked nothing like the surefire first round draft picks they will be later this year and are easy calls for worst performers of the bowl season.
Best Game Of The Bowl Season: West Virginia 43, Arizona St. 42
A classic shootout in the desert. While I usually enjoy the defensive battles, I appreciate the nearly 1,200 yards and 85 points put up by these two teams.
Worst Game Of The Bowl Season: Stanford 45, Iowa 16
Nothing much to see here other than McCaffrey. Made me sad Iowa ended a great run on such a terrible note.
Most Awkward Moment: Bronco Mendenhall coaching BYU against Utah
It was one of the hottest tickets this bowl season, and if it weren’t for a late rally by BYU it might have been worse than the final score indicated. BYU came out unprepared, inept on both sides of the ball, and looking like a team that was losing its head coach and numerous members of the staff.
I admire Bronco for wanting to finish the Cougars season but this game was better left in the hands of someone who could dedicate 100% to the teams preparation.
My Much-Too-Early Top-10 Teams
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Florida State
*Depending on National Championship Game outcome
Thoughts? Let me know about’em! Follow me on Twitter @DACubbage