Monday, December 5, 2016

TUCFC: 2016 End of Regular Season

Alabama once again defended their TUCFC title, so we will get a merging of the TUCFC and the NCAA champion as Alabama heads into the playoffs. I personally think that Penn State should have gotten in ahead of Ohio State, but that isn't what bothers me most about the NCAA football setup. Western Michigan went 13-0 and can't even break the top 10 in the final playoff ranking. I wish we could either move to a model that includes these smaller conferences in a playoff or split them off to have their own TV contract and have their own championship. These conferences are already playing a critical roll for the NCAA in filling in the TV time gaps that the bigger conferences don't want, but that helps to get the NCAA a billion dollars a year in revenues. Yet they can't even get rewarded with a shot at the championship game after going 13-0. Can't even get a sniff of it. There is something terribly wrong with that system. Not only that, but they move up to the higher level of football to get at the TV money but all of these programs are still losing money. With their own TV contract they would get more revenue and could control their story much better. Of course this will never happen because the NCAA is essentially run by the big schools and they will never give up any of their power to let these smaller schools find any success. People laugh at the idea that a smaller school can beat a team like Alabama, well I doubt anyone thought Coastal Carolina could win the baseball championship but they did. Do I think Western Michigan is the best team in the country, no. But they supposedly play at the same level as Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington and they didn't lose, those teams did. If they are a different level, which everyone believes them to be, then set it up that way. As it is right now they play for a chance to get into the Cotton Bowl. I would rather see the following setup for the NCAA if we aren't going to go to a different playoff system.

FBS Division 1 (60 Teams)
Big 10
Big 12
Pac 12

FBS Division 2 (60 Teams)
Sun Belt

Then the playoffs would look something like this.

Division 1
Alabama vs Washington
Ohio State vs Clemson

Division 2
Western Michigan vs San Diego State
Western Kentucky vs Temple

I would even find it fun to do relegation from the Division 1 to Division 2.  I think the way that would work would be like this.

ACC <=> AAC (relegation would happen every 5 years. The team with the worst record in the ACC over five years would move down and the team with the best record over five years would move up)
Big 10 <=> MAC
Big 12 <=> CUSA
Pac 12 <=> MWC
SEC <=> Sun Belt

That might mean then that the Wake Forest, Virginia game had some real meaning.

Anyhow enough of my complaining.  It's been a fun NCAA football season and we finally saw one of the mid-major teams go undefeated.  I will be pulling for them to win the Cotton Bowl. 

Bowl Games
Saturday, December 17th

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Texas San-Antonio (6-6) vs New Mexico (8-4)
    UTSA has only been playing football since 2011 and this will be their first bowl appearance.  New Mexico on the other hand has been playing football since 1892.  In 1994 they briefly held the TUCFC after defeating Utah 23-21.  This will be their 4th straight year to appear in the New Mexico Bowl.

Las Vegas Bowl
Houston (9-3) vs San Diego State (10-3)
     What a fall for Houston who easily beat two top ten teams this year but couldn't get through their own conference without three losses.  Then they lost their coach.  If you're a Houston fan I'm not sure how you would feel about this season.  San Diego State has an odd history with football.  Don Coryell was their head coach from 1961-1972.  He went 104-19-2 as their coach.  He also coached Joe Gibbs and hired him for his first assistant coaching job.  Coryell also hired another young assistant in 1963, John Madden.  Other coaches to pass through San Diego State include Herman Edwards, John Fox, Sean Payton, and Brian Billick.  Oh and Marshall Faulk played for San Diego State.  If you want a reason to watch this bowl game it should be to see Donnel Pumphrey.  He's a senior running back who is currently the third most prolific runner in NCAA history.  He needs 237 yards to pass Tony Dorsett and become the number 2 rusher in NCAA history. 

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Appalachian State (9-3) vs Toledo (9-3)
     Appalachian State made everyone, but Michigan fans, happy back in 2007 with an upset of Michigan.  Now they have transitioned into FBS level football and have just won the Sun Belt Conference.  Toledo has been playing football sine 1917 and has recently become a stopping ground for coaches headed into the big five power conferences.  They have a new coach this year Jason Candle.  He was previously their offensive coordinator.  They had a very good year and were one win away from getting a shot at the MAC championship game. 

AutoNation Cure Bowl
Central Florida (6-6) vs Arkansas State (7-5)
     Central Florida made it to a bowl game in Scott Frost's first season as their head coach.  Oregon seems to have missed him.  Arkansas State is an interesting team.  In 2011, 2012, and 2013 they went through three coaches.  in 2011 Hugh Freeze lead them to a Sun Belt championships then left for Mississippi.  In 2012 Gus Malzahn lead them to a Sun Belt championship then left to become the Auburn head coach.  In 2013 Bryan Harsin lead them to another Sun Belt championship then left to go to Boise State.  They are now coached by Blake Anderson who has been their since 2014. 

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Southern Mississippi (6-6) vs Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6)
     Jay Hopson has lead Southern Mississippi to a 6-6 record in his first season as their head coach.  They lost their previous head coach Todd Monken to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to become their offensive coordinator.  Looks like he's doing pretty good.  Louisiana-Lafayette had to win their last game of the season to be bowl eligible and will be returning to the New Orleans Bowl for the 5th time in 6 years. 

Monday, December 19th

Miami Beach Bowl
Central Michigan (6-6) vs Tulsa (9-3)
     Central Michigan is bowl eligible in part because of their controversial win over Oklahoma State 30-27 early in the season.  They've struggled the second half of the season and come into this bowl game 1-4 in their last five games.  Tulsa for the past 13 years has been a place where people come and go.  Some make it to the next level, others are fired, but no one has lasted more than four seasons.  This is Philip Montgomery's second season at Tulsa.  He had been offensive coordinator under Art Briles at Baylor. 

Tuesday, December 20th

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl
Western Kentucky (9-3) vs Memphis (8-4)
     I did not know that E.A. Diddle served as Western's football coach from 1922-1928, but I think that's pretty cool.  Now they are coached by Jeff Brohm who is considered to be one of the hot coaches on the market.  If he does leave them let's hope it's to a better program than South Florida.  Mike White the 2016 quarterback for WKU is fifth in the country in passing yards and second in yards per attempt.  Another hot coaching name out there is Mike Norvell at Memphis.  I actually like the idea of Memphis vs Western Kentucky.  It seems like a natural rivalry.  Too bad the game is in Florida.

Wednesday, December 21st

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
BYU (8-4) vs Wyoming (8-5)
     BYU had an odd season.  At one point they were 1-3.  I'm still not sure I understand BYU's move to become a football independent, but they have continued to have winning teams, though they are no longer in discussions of national interest.  It seems to me they would be a natural fit for the Big 12.  As for Wyoming, they came one win away from being the MWC champs this year.  A great year for Wyoming and coach Craig Bohl who was 6-18 in his first two seasons. 

Thursday, December 22nd

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Idaho (8-4) vs Colorado State (7-5)
     In 2013 with their program in complete collapse the Vandals of Idaho hired Paul Petrino.  They only won 2 games in his first two seasons, but they stuck with Petrino and surprised everyone this year with an 8-4 record.  Colorado State is a program who got some national attention a few years ago when they wen 10-2 and lost their coach to Florida.  Mike Bobo is their current head coach and has continued to make Colorado State a competitive team. 

Friday, December 23rd

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs Old Dominion (9-3)
     Eastern Michigan will be playing in their first bowl game in 29 years.  After going 2-10 and then 1-11 under head coach Chris Creighton, the Eagles bounced up to 7 wins this year.  Unlike quite a few of these other teams we've discussed who send coaches off to coach at other schools, Eastern Michigan has been the place to go and get fired.  Hopefully Creighton can change that.  Meanwhile Old Dominion has made a bowl in only their second season to be bowl eligible after coming up to the FBS level.  Old Dominion played football from 1930-1940, then stopped.  The sport came back in 2009 and now just 8 seasons later they are in their first bowl game.  Since coming back to football Bobby Wilder has been their coach. 

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Navy (9-3) vs Louisiana Tech (8-4)
     Navy has made a bowl game 13 out of the last 14 years.  Pretty amazing.  This year they were runner up in the AAC.  Louisiana Tech will be appearing in their third straight bowl under head coach Skip Holtz.  He came to Louisiana Tech after being fired from South Florida.  Of course South Florida hired Willie Taggert from Western Kentucky the team that just beat Louisiana Tech to win the Conference USA title.

Dollar General Bowl
Troy (9-3) vs Ohio (8-5)
     I became a fan of Troy when they picked up Lone Oak quarterback Corey Robinson.  In his four seasons with Troy, 2010-2013, he threw for  13,477 yards and completed 64.7% of his passes.  He's 7th all time in NCAA pass completions, 8th in attempts, and 11th in passing yards.  All of this was accomplished under coach Larry Blakeney who was at Troy from 1991-2014.   In Neal Brown's second season, after leaving Kentucky, Troy has bounced back to a 9-3 record and were actually top 25 ranked at one point this season.    Since the Heath Post has been around Ohio has had a good football team and Frank Solich has been their coach.  This will be Ohio's 8th bowl game in 10 years.

Saturday, December 24th

Hawai'i Bowl
Hawaii (6-7) vs Middle Tennessee (8-4)
     So odd to me that Hawaii played 13 games.  Not sure why that is.  This is Nick Rolovich's first year and it was a good return to competitiveness for the team.  After having good years under June Jones and Greg McMackin, the team had fallen on hard times.  I think it's fun when Hawaii has a good team.   This will be Middle Tennessee State's 3rd bowl game in the last four years all under head coach Rick Stockstill who has now been with the program for 11 seasons. 

Monday, December 26th

St. Petersburg Bowl
Mississippi State (5-7) vs Miami (Ohio) (6-6)
    Under Dan Mullen, Mississippi State has found themselves on the map of college football and so this year was a surprisingly bad year at 5-7.  They are one of those 5-7 teams who will get to go to a bowl game because there aren't enough 6 win teams to fill 40 bowls.  Mississippi State has been playing football for a long time and only has 1 SEC championship in 1941 when they went 8-1-1.  This followed their best season when the team went 10-0-1 but lost the SEC because of that tie.  They have been to a bowl game now for 7 years in a row.  Back in 2013 Miami was possibly the worst team in the country.  They hired Chuck Martin and since then the program has revived.  In 2011 they were winning the GoDaddy bowl and by 2013 they were going 0-12.  Now they are back in a bowl game. 

Quick Lane Bowl
Maryland (6-6) vs Boston College (6-6)
     At one point this season Maryland was 4-0 and the thought was they might they might be able to finish with 8 or 9 wins.  Then they hit their Big 10 schedule, not counting Purdue, and that was that.  They would get the two more wins they would need to get into a bowl, grabbing their last win over Rutgers to close out the season.  This was DJ Durkin's first season so not a bad start.  Maryland has had brushes with success in football over the years, but now in the Big 10 one wonders how easily this can be accomplished.  Personally I think if Durkin can consistently win 7 to 8 games a year he can stay at Maryland as long as he wants. 

Camping World Independence Bowl
North Carolina State (6-6) vs Vanderbilt (6-6)
     NC State had to beat UNC to get to 6-6, Vanderbilt had to beat Tennessee to get to 6-6.  It's amazing to me that both teams made it.  This will be the third year in a row that NC State has made a bowl game and their 7th bowl in 8 years.  There was some concern when NC State fired coach Tom O'Brien because he was consistently taking the team to bowl games.  But the school wanted to do more than just go 7-5 every year and went for a change hiring Dave Doeren away from Northern Illinois.  In his four years he's compiled a 24-26 record.  Vanderbilt had their own head coaching issues after James Franklin left them following the 2013 season to go to Penn State.  Not only did Franklin leave Vanderbilt reeling over accusations about misconduct from some of the football players, but it was also reported that he took many of his top recruits with him to Penn State.  I'll dare say there are a lot of Vandy fans who are happy that Penn State did not get into the playoff.  Vandy hired Derek Mason who was defensive coordinator at Stanford.  After seasons of 3-9 and 4-8, Vandy bounced back this year to earn a bowl bid. 

Tuesday, December 27th

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Army (6-5) vs North Texas (5-7)
     Neither of these teams would have qualified for a bowl in years past, but because of their being 40 bowls needing teams they got the nod.  Army does have 6 wins, but one of those wins is over Morgan State which can't be counted toward bowl eligibility.  Of course Army still has one game left so here's hoping they pull off the upset over Navy.  While Navy has been very good now for a long run, Army has been that bad.  Since 2000 they have only been to one bowl game before this season.  This was the first season for coach Seth Littrell.  North Texas has had a good history in football.  In the early 2000's they won the Sun Belt conference for four year running.  Bun in 2015 they were one of the worst teams in the FBS going 1-11.  To bounce back to 5-7 and get into a bowl game is quite an achievement. 

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman
Temple (10-3) vs Wake Forest (6-6)
     When I think of Temple football I think of their run from 1986 to 2006 where the team won a total of 47 games.  That's 21 seasons so an average of just over 2 wins a year.  That includes a 7-4 season.  They were historically bad.  In 2006 Al Golden oversaw a 1-11 season but soon things would turn around.  By 2009 Golden had them into a bowl game.  Now under head coach Matt Rhule they are not only the AAC champs but heading to their second straight bowl game.   I would assume that with Rhule putting up back to back 10 win seasons he is on the list of hot coaches.  Wake Forest much like Maryland started the season at 4-0 then struggled down the stretch to get those two more wins they needed.  They head into this bowl game having won only one of their last 6 games.  This will be their first bowl appearance since 2011.  In 2006 Wake Forest splashed onto the scene winning the ACC but then fell back into obscurity.  They hired Dave Clawson in 2014, this is his first bowl eligible season.       

National Funding Holiday Bowl
Minnesota (8-4) vs Washington State (8-4)
     Both of these teams had shots at winning their conferences late in the season and I don't think these fans would ask for much more.  It's great playing important games down the stretch.  Minnesota has an odd history.  They have won seven national championships all before 1961.  They last won the Big 10 in 1967.  From 1967 to 1999 they didn't win more than 7 games in a season.  In 2011 Jerry Kill became their head coach and he helped to turn the program around.  He left coaching during the 2015 season and Tracy Claeys was named the new head coach soon after.  Claeys had been working with Kill as an assistant for 21 years and the team just posted their third 8 win seasons out of the past four.  Washington State started the season 0-2, losing to Eastern Washington an FCS team and Boise State.  At this point the future of the Cougars coach was in question, but then then team ran off 8 straight wins until losing to Colorado and then Washington.  This will be their third bowl appearance in the last 4 years.

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
Baylor (6-6) vs Boise State (10-2)
     Baylor started the season 6-0.  It has not gone well since.  Maybe no other team had as much turmoil around them as this team this year and at some point it all seemed to catch up with them.  They just announced that they are hiring Matt Rhule, who lead Temple to the AAC title this year, as their new head coach.  This is Baylor's 7th straight year to make a bowl game.    Luckily when Chris Peterson left, Boise State was able to hire Bryan Harsin.  The program has continued to be very good.  I'm not sure it's possible to duplicate what the team did with Peterson and Kellen Moore from 2008-2011, they went 50-3, but they have continued to be a relevant team each year.  If I were going to make a 30 for 30 I would make it about Kellen Moore.

Wednesday, December 28th

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Pittsburgh (8-4) vs Northwestern (6-6)
     Here is a trivia quiz for you.  In 2016 which team beat the Big 10 champion and Clemson?  It would be Pittsburgh.  What a strange season.  In fact Pitt has had a strange history with college football.  They have won 9 national championships, the last in 1976.  From 1973 to 1989 Pitt went to 12 bowl games.  Then they fell off the face of the earth.  For about 10 years they were a non-factor in college football.  Since 2000 they have been in 15 bowl games.  But during that run they have only had one, ten win season back in 2009.  From 1976 to 1981 they had 4 seasons with 11 wins or more.   I liked it when Pittsburgh was a consistent top 25 team and perhaps we are heading back in that direction.  As a kid growing up while Pittsburgh was great at football, Northwestern was the worst at one point having a 34 game losing streak.  Then in 1995 something crazy happened, they won the Big 10.  Since then Northwestern has been a competitive team making 10 bowls from 2000 to 2016.   However, they are horrible in bowl games with a record of 2-10.

Russell Athletic Bowl
Miami (Florida) (8-4) vs West Virginia (10-2)
      When I think of Miami football I think of Howard Schnellenberger and Bernie Kosar.  I really liked those two and then I really hated Jimmy Johnson and those teams.  Funny how quickly things can turn.  Funny thing is Miami has been trying to get out of the shadow of those two head coaches and their legacies for decades and still can't do it.  Even when Dennis Erickson lead them to two national championships in 1989 and 1991, and Larry Coker to another in 2001, they still felt like a team living in the shadow of Schnellenberger and Johnson, as least for people of my age I should say.   Speaking of coaching shadows.  If you had told me that Rich Rodriguez had been out of West Virginia now for 9 seasons I would not have believed it.  In fact their current coach Dana Holgorsen has been there for 6 seasons.   West Virginia has done well since coming over to the Big 12 and had a shot this year to win the conference but fell short against the two Oklahoma teams.

Foster Farms Bowl
Indiana (6-6) vs Utah (8-4)
     Since 2000 Indiana has been to three bowl games, including this one.  This is their second season in a row to make a bowl game under coach Kevin Wilson.  So everyone was shocked at the end of the season to see Wilson leave.  I would assume we will know more with time what happened there in Indiana to force Wilson out.  Indiana last won the Big 10 in 1967 and has only one the Big 10 one other time in 1945.  Ron McBride came to coach Utah in 1990.  When he became the head coach Utah had not been to a bowl game for 26 seasons.  Two years later they were in the Copper Bowl.  During his 13 seasons McBride would take Utah to 6 bowl games and in 1994 a final AP ranking of 10th.  After their second losing season in 3 years, McBride was fired at the end of the 2002 season and replaced by Urban Meyer.  McBride started their rise to competitiveness and Meyer continued it. Since 2000 Utah has played in 13 bowl games.

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
Texas A&M (8-4) vs Kansas State (8-4)
     In 1939 Texas A&M were national champions.  That was the last time they were national champions.  Though they have been a traditional football power over the years they have not won a conference championship since being Big 12 champions in 1998.  This season A&M started 6-0 then faltered down the stretch in the SEC losing 3 of their last 4 games and losing all four of their final SEC games.  In 1989 Kansas State hired Bill Snyder as their coach.  From 1989 to 2005 Snyder would lead Kansas State to 136 wins.  As many wins as Kansas State had from 1935-1988.  He would also take them to 11 straight bowl games.  Then he retired.  Then after his replacement failed to meet expectations he came out of retirement to return to coaching in 2009.  He's an interesting story.

Thursday, December 29th

Birmingham Bowl
South Carolina (6-6) vs South Florida (10-2)
     I kind of feel for South Florida.  They are in such a no win bowl.  They beat South Carolina, well South Carolina is awful.  If they lose, well they lose to a bad SEC team.  South Carolina has an interesting history but they have never really had a great season.  Their best years came recently under Steve Spurrier, but even under Spurrier they were never able to win the SEC.  With Spurrier retiring they moved onto Will Muschamp who has his own history in the SEC.  South Carolina started out 2016 2-4 and finished strong to be bowl eligible.  South Florida will soon be starting their own new era as they just lost Willie Taggart to the University of Oregon and hired Charlie Strong who was recently fired from Texas.  Taggart had done a good job getting the program turned around after it collapsed under coach Skip Holtz going 10-2 this season the first 10 win season in the history of the program.

Belk Bowl
Arkansas (7-5) vs Virginia Tech (9-4)
     Even though Arkansas has been a part of the SEC since 1992 I still think of them as a member of the Southwest Conference which they were a part of from 1915-1991.  They were SWC champs 13 times in those years, once grabbing the national championship in 1964.  Currently they are coached by Bret Bielema who came over in 2013 from Wisconsin.  Things have not gone great under Bielema but they are in their third straight bowl game.  Virginia Tech meanwhile bounced back strong with their new head coach Justin Fuente playing for the ACC championship.  After a 29 year run by Frank Beamer who built a top level program at Virginia Tech there was considerable pressure on Fuente and I would say he did well. 

Valero Alamo Bowl
Oklahoma State (9-3) vs Colorado (10-3)
     This is the first bowl game that will have an impact on the national conversation on the 2016 football season.  One of the big questions has been just how good is the Pac 12.  No one thought the Big 12 was any good, but the Pac 12 has been a mystery this year.  A win by Oklahoma State here would raise a lot of questions about including Washington in the playoff ahead of Penn State.  Oklahoma State has been coached by Mike Gundy now for 12 seasons.  He's won over 100 games as their head coach.  Here is a trivia question for you.  What two teams split the 1990 national championship.  One team was named AP number 1, the other named UPI number 1.  One of these teams was coached by a man who would go on to found the Promise Keepers.  The other was coached by a man who would four years later coach a team in the Super Bowl.

Friday, December 30th

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Georgia (7-5) vs Texas Christian (6-6)
     Georgia is yet another team with a new head coach, Kirby Smart.  It was a disappointing season for Georgia, but not bad for a first season head coach.  A school like Georgia wants to be competing for the national championship or at least the SEC title every year, so expect to see improvement over the next few years or expect rumblings about firing Mr. Smart.  Not sure what happened with TCU this year but it's one of the worst seasons under head coach Gary Patterson who has been the head coach since 2000.  Since 2000 TCU has been to 15 bowl games including this one. 

Hyundai Sun Bowl
Stanford (9-3) vs North Carolina (8-4)
     A very disappointing season for Stanford this year, especially since they will be losing Christian McCaffrey to the NFL after this season.  Personally if I were McCaffrey there is no way I'd play in this meaningless bowl game.  Hard to believe but David Shas just finished his 6th season as Stanford head coach.  They have made a bowl game in each season he's been their coach.  I think the only question anyone has about UNC is when will the NCAA make a decision on the 18 years of cheating done by athletics at the school. 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Nebraska (9-3) vs Tennessee (8-4)
    A strange season for both teams who are thought of as schools with strong football programs.  It makes sense that they will face off in a bowl game after this season.  In 1997 in Tom Osborne's last season these same two teams faced off in the Orange Bowl.  Nebraska won 42-17 and were national champions.  Nebraska now has Mike Riley as head coach in his second season.  I think he'll need to get to 10 wins next season if he wants his job to be safe.  In 1998 Tennessee would come back to win the national championship.  Since then Tennessee has struggled to find themselves on the national stage again.  Fulmer, who lead them to that title was let go in 2008.  Since that then Tennessee has been through four coaches and generally been a mess.   Butch Jones was hired in 2013 and has seemed to bring about some stability.  Still Tennessee is not competing at the level the program would like. 

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Air Force (9-3) vs South Alabama (6-6)
     Army and Navy have an aura about their schools and their football programs that Air Force is missing.  Still Air Force has a solid football program coming close to getting a shot at the national title in 1985.  Since 2007 this will be Air Force's 9th bowl appearance. 

Capital One Orange Bowl
Florida State (9-3) vs Michigan (10-2)
     There were some who though Michigan should have gotten into the playoff, so this game will be of national conversational importance.  Florida State became a football power under Bobby Bowden winning two national titles in 1993 and 1999.  As he was pushed into retirement Jimbo Fisher came it to seemingly impossible shoes to fill in 2010.  He has done very well winning a national title in 2013. If you are of a certain age when you think Michigan football you think Bo Schembechler.  And there is a sense that Michigan has been trying to get back to Bo Schembechler ever since he retired in 1989.  Funny thing is though Schembechler never one a national title.  He won the Big 10 13 times, but never a national championship.  You know who did win a national title at Michigan, Tom Brady.


Saturday, December 31st

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
Louisville (9-3) vs LSU (7-4)
     In 1985 Louisville did a very smart thing, they hired Howard Schnellenberger.  He didn't win a championship or anything like that, but he did do something very important.  He got the Louisville base to start to think about Louisville as a potential football school.  He also lead them to their first 10 win season and their highest ranking up to that point in the AP poll 14th.  It laid the groundwork that others like John Smith, bobby Petrino and Charlie Strong would build on.    In 2007 Les Miles lead the LSU Tigers to their third national championship.  He would compete once more in the 2011 championship game, but then trouble.  It appeared to everyone watching from the outside that Miles could not recruit a quarterback and had no idea what offense was, and so now here we are 10 years after a national title and LSU has a new coach.

TaxSlayer Bowl
Georgia Tech (8-4) vs Kentucky (7-5)
     Talk about inspired coaching hires how about Georgia Tech grabbing Paul Johnson in 2008 from Navy.  Though Georgia Tech has four national titles in their history, one as recent as 1990, the idea of Johnson was not about winning national titles, but about building a consistently competitive team.  That is exactly what Johnson has done.  Since arriving Georgia Tech has won 1 ACC title, 4 ACC division titles  and have been to 8 bowl games in 9 seasons.  When Kentucky hired their current head coach in 2013, Mark Stoops, there was at least one big prospect who seemed interested in coming to Kentucky.  But instead Kentucky went another direction.  In his fourth season Stoops will be appearing in his first bowl game with the Cats.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Alabama (13-0) vs Washington (12-1)
     What Nick Saban has done at Alabama is truly amazing, and now here is Alabama once again in the playoffs hoping to get a national championship.  When Bear Bryant retired in 1982 he had won 13 SEC titles and six national titles.  From 1983 to 2008, Alabama won 3 SEC titles and 1 national title.  Saban has won 5 SEC titles and 4 national titles.  In 2013 Washington lost Steve Sarkisian to USC and went looking for a new head coach.  They hired Chris Petersen.  Petersen had been the head coach at Boise State and had lead them into national prominence, now Washington was hoping he could bring them back to their early 90's dominance.  It seems to have paid off this year with his team going 12-1 and ending up in the national playoff.  

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
Clemson (12-1) vs Ohio State (11-1)
     A year before Alabama hired Nick Saban, Clemson hired Dabo Swinney, an Alabama grad.  In 2011 Clemson won their first ACC title under Swinney and is now playing in the college playoff for the second year in a row.  In 2002 Ohio State was on top of the world.  Then they dominated the Big 10 winning it 6 times between 2002 and 2009.  Then it all seemed to fall apart as quickly as it was built.  Still don't understand why Jim Tressel didn't end up at a Kentucky or Tennessee or any number of schools as a head coach after all the success he had, but Ohio State had moved on and then they made a great hire getting Urban Meyer.  They have already won 1 national title with Meyer at the helm and are now back in the playoff.

Monday, January 2nd

Outback Bowl
Florida (8-4) vs Iowa (8-4)
     Remember Urban Meyer.  He also won 2 national titles at Florida.  Florida has been trying to right themselves ever since Meyer left after 2010.  Jim McElwain is in his second season as Florida's head coach and has made his second bowl game.  Las year they were embarrassed by Michigan in the Citrus Bowl 41-7, hopefully they will fair better against this Big 10 team.  Here is something to consider.  Since 1979 Iowa has had two coaches.  Hayden Fry and then Kirk Ferentz, who was a Fry assistant.  That's it.  During that run Iowa has won 5 Big 10 titles.  They have also played in 27 bowl games during that 37 year span.  During that same time, for example, Kentucky played in 11 bowl games counting this season and won no SEC titles.


Well I'll try and write up the other bowl games later, but for now that's all. 

EOS Power Ratings
I've updated this since the Navy vs Army game.

3Ohio State11-11,407.2191,233.45026.34454.1882,560.137
5Penn State11-21,322.8131,053.12598.156208.0632,069.719
7Western Michigan13-01,048.781905.1380.0000.0001,953.919
11Southern California9-31,071.750794.52598.750348.4381,419.088
12Florida State9-31,169.719827.100186.406397.3131,413.100
17Louisiana State7-4893.094628.075120.469272.9381,127.763
18West Virginia10-2777.313679.08899.969250.7501,105.681
20South Florida10-2757.938653.850115.563257.3751,038.850
22Washington State8-4762.313612.02592.281270.3131,011.744
25Texas A&M8-41,008.594712.275288.156616.438816.275
26Boise State10-2923.406676.238231.156566.000802.487
27Virginia Tech9-41,036.500811.925342.250749.375756.800
28Oklahoma State9-3899.500761.975300.344678.375682.756
29Western Kentucky10-3717.063720.988257.156542.063638.831
30Georgia Tech8-4957.469600.538328.844647.125582.038


  1. I agree about Western Michigan, and I agree about Penn State.

    I do want to say that I had no problem with Willie Taggart leaving WKU for South Florida. He's from Bradenton, and he did wonderful things as both a player and coach at WKU, and now he's doing really well at USF. I will be rooting for Tags and the Bulls in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 29 vs. South Carolina.

    I also will be rooting for WKU in Boca on Dec. 20, UK in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Dec. 31 against Georgia Tech, Louisville in the Citrus Bowl against LSU on Dec. 31 and Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2. And I'm going to root for Washington to win the national championship.

    And I'm glad for Jeff Brohm and Purdue. Bob Griese, two nephews, a niece, John Wooden and Neil Armstrong all went there. And I didn't want him in the SEC.

  2. Staaaand up and cheer
    Stand up and cheer for dear old West-ern
    Foooor tooooo-dayweraise
    The redandwhite above the rest!
    Rah! Rah! Rah!
    Our team is fighting, and we're bound to win the fray

    We've got the team!

    We've got the steam!

    For this is dear! old! West-ern's! day!

  3. By the way, I have printed out this post, and I'm using it as my guide to all of the bowls. I'm reading each of the bowl summaries each day that game comes about. I didn't know any of that Don Coryell stuff.

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