My first post of 2016!
I knew, going into this season’s college football bowl games, that I would not be watching too many of them. After all, there were forty—count them—forty! bowl games played. There were so many bowl games scheduled that there were not even enough “bowl eligible” teams to fill all of the slots.
The NCAA had to pick two teams with 5-7 records to fill the final two bowl slots. They looked at schools’ APR (academic background) and chose San Jose State out of the Mountain West Conference and Nebraska from the Big 10. Surprisingly, both teams won! San Jose State defeated Georgia State, 27-16 in the AutoNation Cure Bowl and Nebraska thumped UCLA, out of the PAC 12, 37-29, in the Foster Farms Bowl.
Too many bowl games? For sure…in my next blog, I will give a recipe for cutting bowls down, considerably, and how to determine who plays where.
If the teams were supposed to play offense and defense in their respective bowl games, somebody forgot to tell quite of few of them. Of the 80 teams selected to play in the post-season, 27 of them scored 40 or more points…that is not a typo: 27 of them! That is around a third of all the teams (34%)! Four teams scored more than 40 points—AND LOST! Of those 27 teams, seven scored 50 or more points. Tulsa, out of the American Athletic Conference, scored 52 points—AND LOST! Incredible!
Certainly, the game that was the most exciting, by far, was the Valero Alamo Bowl which pitted Texas Christian University, out of the Big 12, against Oregon, with their high-powered offense, from the PAC 12. Trailing, 31-0, at half-time and missing their starting QB—Trevone Boykin—things did not look well for the TCU Horned Frogs. But, as they say, a game is four quarters long. After TCU head coach Gary Patterson changed his outfit from black to purple (the school colors), the Horned Frogs went wild and overcame that 31-point deficit and tied the game. The schools then went to three overtimes…and TCU won the game, 47-41. I am sure, like me, you missed that game, so go and watch the replay. You will be astounded!
The Camping World Independence Bowl marked the last time that Frank Beamer coached the Virginia Tech Hokies. After 29 years of success, Beamer announced that he was retiring and his team gave him a win in his final game…although, the Hokies had to hang on for a 55-52 win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Beamer winds up with 238 wins—that ties him with the legendary Woody Hayes for 35th all-time.
Say what you want about the SEC and whether or not they are the best conference in the FBS, but the conference went 8-2 during the bowl season…including the playoff win by Alabama…and could go 9-2 if the Crimson Tide wins the National Championship game. The worst conference record in bowl games was the American Athletic Conference at just 2-6. Only Houston and Navy recorded wins.
Finally (this is it for stats!), out of 128 FBS teams (conference and independents), only 29 schools finished with at least 10 wins…including bowl games. That is only 23%! This begs the question: Parity or Mediocrity? You decide!