NCAA Football Report (Bowl Week 3)

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The Bowl season is quickly coming to a close with only one week left in the NCAA’s postseason. The postseason has gone through plenty in the past few weeks with big wins and some very close games. As the next week of the bowl season begins the competition will only get better as better and better teams face off. The rankings begin to play a factor in the next week as ranked teams become more common throughout the bowls. That includes the biggest bowls of the year in the BCS Bowls that begin in the New Year. The BCS bowls are the holy grail of the bowl season as they are the games that everyone wants to be a part of. They are the games that teams play for with the ultimate game the BCS National Championship ending the entire season. For many programs the National Championship is a bit of a pipe dream as there are massive obstacles to be ranked in the top two. The rest of the BCS schedule though is more realistic for teams as they do not involve the top two. With a number of more complicated rules the BCS Bowls essentially come down to the best of the rest. Everyone after the top two can make a BCS bowl if they have a good enough season. As these games approach the NCAA shows what makes them such a great and entertaining league. The history of the league shines through and the legends that used to play are talked about more and more. The BCS bowls are not creations of the system that started in 1998 when the BCS Rankings came into play. They were chosen because these are the biggest and most historic bowls throughout the bowl season. It all starts when the Pac-12 and the Big Ten Champions meet at “The Grandaddy of Them All” in the Rose Bowl. It is the most famous and the longest run bowl in the bowl season as it was first held in 1902 and became a regular game starting in 1916. It includes the Pac-12 and the Big Ten Champions as this year the Wisconsin Badgers and the Stanford Cardinal face off for their chance at a major bowl. The Rose Bowl also represents some things that are wrong with the BCS system as two teams make a major bowl and do not necessarily need to be ranked to do it. Every other team needs to have a great season and hope that the BCS computer can give them the chance to play in one of the BCS Bowls. For the Rose Bowl though it is simply the champions of two conferences that face off every year. The reason for this is that this is the way it has been for years and the Pac-12 Conference and the Big Ten Conference are two of the oldest conferences in the NCAA and needed a way to determine the best team in football between the two conferences. This is how the Rose Bowl was created and after almost 100 years it has remained that way. Because it is the original bowl it was an automatic selection to become one of the major bowls in the BCS. Still it leaves many teams out of luck because it is one less bowl that they can be in despite a good record. Many teams have been passed over for BCS bowls while other teams with worse records are given berths in these bowls. It is the way that things work right now and with some changes coming in 2014 the NCAA may be on their way to a more fair system. Still the last week of the bowls will feature some great BCS games that will feature the top players and teams in the country. Heisman Candidates will be on display and big programs will have their chance to be showcased once again in a big game. The stories will be plenty and the games will be great as the NCAA season builds up to the final game where the two best teams in the country face off for the National Championship.



Sheraton Hawaii Bowl:
SMU Mustangs 43 – 10 Fresno State Bulldogs
– The Mustangs continued their comeback from the death penalty with a great defensive win in the Hawaii Bowl as they were led by Margus Hunt who had a game to remember forcing two fumbles and earning a safety

Little Caesar’s Bowl:
Central Michigan Chippewas 24 – 21 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
– The Chippewas scored a go ahead TD in the fourth quarter as the time wound down the Hilltoppers would make the decision to go for the first down on 4th down instead of kicking a tying field goal and they would not make it giving the Chips the win

Military Bowl:
#24 San Jose State Spartans 29 – 20 Bowling Green Falcons
– The Spartans were only 1-12 two years ago but Mike MacIntyre would change all that as he turned the team around and led the Spartans to a great year yet would not be present when the Spartans capped off their best year with a win in the Military Bowl

BELK Bowl:
Cincinnati Bearcats 48 – 34 Duke Blue Devils
– Two schools that usual fight it out on the basketball court would face off in a tight battle until the Bearcats came out of nowhere with an 83-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter and then followed that up with a big sack forcing an interception TD to secure the win

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl:
Baylor Bears 49 – 26 UCLA Bruins #17
– The Baylor Bears were never supposed to be this good without Robert Griffin III but even without the Baylor legend the Bears were able to put together one of the most powerful offences in the country and showcased it running over UCLA

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl:
Ohio Bobcats 45 – 14 LA-Monroe Warhawks
– It wasn’t much of a challenge for the Bobcats to win their second bowl in as many years as they walked over the Warhawks with a great effort by both the offence and the defence  with QB Tyler Tettleton leading the way

Russell Athletic Bowl:
Virginia Tech Hokies 13 – 10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
– The Knights would get out to an early lead scoring 10 points in the first quarter and shutting out the Hokies for the rest of the game until the fourth quarter when Virginia Tech scored 10 points to force overtime and kicked a field goal to win the game in OT

Meineke Car Care Bowl:
Texas Tech Red Raiders 34 – 31 Minnesota Golden Gophers
– The Raiders would look good from the start but the Gophers were never far behind matching Texas Tech until the fourth quarter when the Red Raiders scored 10 points including a last second field goal to win the game

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl:
Rice Owls 33 – 14 Air Force Falcons
– The Owls were looking to win their bowl game but took a big hit when starting QB Taylor McHargue was knocked out of the game but redshirt freshman Driphus Jackson would come in and lead the Owls to the win with a great performance

New Era Pinstripe Bowl:
Syracuse Orange 38 – 14 West Virginia Mountaineers
– In the mess that was Yankee Stadium the Orange were able to take advantage of a bit of a home field advantage as the running game led by Prince-Tyson Gulley was able to grind out an easy win in the middle of a snowstorm

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:
Arizona State Sun Devils 62 – 28 Navy Midshipmen
– This one wasn’t even close as QB Taylor Kelly threw four TDs to get past the Midshipmen for a blowout win to put a great cap on the first season under head coach Todd Graham at AT&T Park in San Francisco 

Valero Alamo Bowl:
#23 Texas Longhorns 31 – 27 Oregon State Beavers #13
– The Longhorns have not seen a lot of success since their National Championship but they were looking to get back to their bowl winning ways and did just that scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter against a very tough Oregon State team

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl:
Michigan State Spartans 17 – 16 TCU Horned Frogs
– The game was built as a defensive battle and that is exactly what it was until both teams got going in the fourth quarter when TCU took the lead briefly before the Spartans kicked a last second field goal to win the game by one point


Upcoming Bowls

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl:
NC State Wolfpack vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (Monday December 31st; 12:00 pm EST)
– The Commodores are a one of the forgotten teams in the SEC but they are beginning to become known under head coach James Franklin who has now taken the team to two straight bowl games for the first time in school history

Hyundai Sun Bowl:
USC Trojans vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Monday December 31st; 2:00 pm EST)
– The Trojans were not supposed to be here this year as they began the year as the top ranked team behind Heisman favorite Matt Barkley but key losses will see them in the Sun Bowl where they look to salvage the season with a win against the Yellow Jackets

Autozone Liberty Bowl:
Iowa State Cyclones vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Monday December 31st; 3:30 pm EST)
– The Cyclones are looking to pull up from a bad downturn as they have lost 5 of their last 7 games in the season and are trying to win a bowl to salvage the season while the C-USA champions are hoping to finish off their best season yet

Chick-fil-A Bowl:
#8 LSU Tigers vs. #14 Clemson Tigers (Monday December 31st; 7:30 pm EST)
– The tigers were considered another top team but after two losses this year they dropped out of the National Championship conversation while the Tigers are another 10-2 team looking to finish off the season with a bowl win Gator Bowl:
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. #20 Northwestern Wildcats (Tuesday January 1st; 12:00 pm EST)
– The Bulldogs have lost four of their last five games to end the season and that could be good for the Wildcats who have not won a bowl game since 1949 and are looking for their first postseason win in 10 straight years

Heart of Dallas Bowl:
Purdue Boilermakers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Tuesday January 1st; 12:00 pm EST)
– Both teams are offensive minded but the Cowboys seem to do it better as one of the top passing offences in the NCAA as they look to take home a bowl win against the Boilermakers who will be without their head coach who was fired at the end of the season

Outback Bowl:
#10 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. #18 Michigan Wolverines (Tuesday January 1st; 1:00 pm EST)
– Both teams were looking for a better year in 2012 but each fell short of their expectations although both would end the season ranked as the Gamecocks look to stop Denard Robinson and the Wolverines from running to a bowl win

Capital One Bowl:
#7 Georgia Bulldogs vs. #16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (Tuesday January 1st; 1:00 pm EST)
– Georgia was only one game away from a national championship but a loss in the SEC Championship forced them out of a BCS berth as they take on the Cornhuskers who were also only a win away from a Rose Bowl appearance

Rose Bowl:
Wisconsin Badgers vs. #6 Stanford Cardinal (Tuesday January 1st; 5:00 pm EST)
– The first of the BCS bowls features what looks to be a good battle between two good offensive teams as the Badgers look to ride Montee Ball to an upset win against a very good offence of the Cardinal who are dangerous even without Andrew Luck

Discover Orange Bowl:
#15 Northern Illinois Huskies vs. #12 Florida State Seminoles (Tuesday January 1st; 8:30 pm EST)
– Another BCS bowl except this one had many scratching their heads as the Huskies would take the spot away from higher ranked teams still the MAC champions will look to beat the two loss Noles who will lean on EJ Manuel to take home a BCS win

Allstate Sugar Bowl:
#21 Louisville Cardinals vs. #3 Florida Gators (Wednesday January 2nd; 8:30 pm EST)
– The Gators are yet another team that came very close to a National Championship berth but a loss to Georgia near the end of the season forced them just outside of the top two spots as they now look to the Sugar bowl for a BCS win

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:
#4 Oregon Ducks vs. #5 Kansas State Wildcats (Thursday January 3rd; 8:30 pm EST)
– This could be the most exciting game in the Bowl season as two high-powered offences face off with the extremely fast Ducks lead by De’Anthony Thomas taking on the always creative Wildcats led by Heisman hopeful Colin Klein

AT&T Cotton Bowl:
#9 Texas A&M Aggies vs. #11 Oklahoma Sooners (Friday January 4th; 8:00 pm EST)
– The fans will be waiting for this one as well with the Heisman Trophy winner taking the field in the postseason as Johnny Football looks to cap off his great season by beating the Sooners for a bowl win to add to his Heisman Trophy

BBVA Compass Bowl:
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Ole Miss Rebels (Saturday January 5th; 1:00 pm EST)
– The Rebels are finally back in a bowl for the first time since 2009 but they will have a lot to deal with as Bruno Sunseri, 3,000+ passing yards, and Ray Graham, 1,000+ rushing yards, look to build on their great seasons for the Panthers Bowl:
#26 Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (Sunday January 6th; 9:00 pm EST)
– Kent State was a good bet to make the BCS but a loss to the NIU Huskies in the MAC Championship pushed them to the bottom of the rankings as they close out the non-BCS bowl season against the Sun Belt champions in the Red Wolves

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