There were 34 college football bowl games this year, which means that 68 teams got to participate. That’s more than half of the 119 schools in Division I; about a dozen of those teams are actually good. In other words, there were a lot of mediocre teams whose fans got to travel to some exotic location like Shreveport or Detroit or El Paso during the holiday season.
For even the most devoted football fan, it’s simply not possible to watch the telecast of every game, since life’s responsibilities intrude — things like eating and sleeping and opening Christmas presents. As a public service, here are a few notes on games you may have missed…
Sun Bowl: Oregon State 3 Pittsburgh 0
The game’s only score came when Jason Kahut trotted onto the field dressed in a football uniform and kicked a field goal. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s offense was amazingly balanced: the Panthers had a total of 89 yards rushing and 89 yards passing.
International Bowl: Connecticut 38 Buffalo 20
UConn running back Donald Brown carried 29 times for 261 yards, a 9.0 average. Immediately after the game he announced that he’d be turning pro in spite of earlier assurances that he would return for his senior season. His girlfriend now wonders if he really meant it when he told her earlier, “Of course I love you, Sugar”.
GMAC Bowl: Tulsa 45 Ball State 13
This was contested in the closest conditions to playing in an actual bowl — a bowl full of water. A driving rainstorm throughout the game in Mobile, AL, was partly responsible for Ball State QB Nate Davis completing only 9 of 29 pass attempts.
Outback Bowl Iowa 31 South Carolina 10
The Iowa Hawkeyes were the only Big Ten team to win a bowl game (out of seven that tried). South Carolina QB Chris Smelley replaced starter Stephen Garcia, who was downright stinky: he threw three interceptions and also fumbled.
Music City Bowl Vanderbilt 16 Boston College 14
This was Vanderbilt’s first appearance in a bowl game since 1982, and its first win in a bowl game since 1955. Apparently it took the Commodores a while to get comfortable playing the game while wearing helmets and facemasks.
Champs Sports Florida St. 42 Wisconsin 13
The game’s MVP award was given to Florida State punter Graham Gano, who averaged 48.2 yards on 5 punts. This is an actual post-game quote from Gano: “I think this was my best game punting. It really has a lot to do with the other guys; Zach (Aronson) snapped the ball well and I didn’t have any pressure so the guys blocked really well.” Gano’s counterpart for Wisconsin punted 6 times — he must have been steamed that he didn’t win the MVP.
In a few months we’ll be revisiting college football; I have no plans to turn pro (at this time).