It’s the morning of New Year’s Eve Day, and the still young College Bowl Season has not disappointed.
The MPC Computers Bowl and the Holiday Bowl were notable because of their near comebacks. It looked like Boston College had put away Boise St. by the third quarter, only to see their lead whittle down to 6 pts in a game that came down to the final play. I was sure Oregon was going to march down and at the least tie up Oklahoma in the final two minutes, up until Clint Ingram’s freakish interception ended that drive.
If there has to be blowouts, they should at least be upsets. That’s what we got with Utah smacking down the uninspired Georgia Tech, and LSU cleaning the clock of Miami. I’m not sure I understand what happens when a team feels like they’re playing a bowl game so far beneath them that they end up getting blown out. I imagine that I would be so angry about the slight that I’d want to set a record for largest margin in a college bowl game . . . with my team on the winning side.
And of course, what bowl season would be complete without the odd-ones. UCLA won a game in this category in the Sun Bowl against Northwestern. In the second quarter, UCLA had already come back from a 22-0 deficit and took the lead going into halftime. The scoring got ridiculous with Brandon Breazell returning, not one, but TWO onsides kicks. It’s hard to even say that that is strategically to your advantage, since you give the ball right back to the other team without any time lost, when you probably could’ve ended the game if you down that ball.
Finally, there was Nebraska and Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. The final play in this game come off looking more like a rugby match than anything else, with players continually pitching the ball backwards. Eventually, Michigan picked up the ball and made a sprint for the end zone, amidst players standing around thinking the game was over and Nebraska’s bench pouring onto the field. Luckily for Nebraska, he was run out of bounds at the fifteen yard line. After watching the replay once or twice, I found myself wishing something else would’ve happened . . . something that would have made the ending seem more fair, or perhaps more historic. Now that I’ve watched the replay a dozen times, I’m not sure what I wish would have gone differently. Should the runner have waited for his blockers? Should the blockers have run as if they actually still believed the play was continuing? Should the refs have thrown flags on both benches and forced one more play? It’s hard to be both in awe of a play, and yet wish that everything about it would have gone differently, but that’s the mindset I find myself in.
Nonetheless, it’s a good sign that we’ve had bowl games this good, and the big dogs are still to come.