NCAA Football Report (Bowl Week 4)

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The NCAA season is almost over with only one game left on the schedule to determine the best team in College Football. The NCAA season has been a wild one this year and has given rise to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide as the two top teams in the league. The season did not start out with both of these teams at the top of the rankings in fact neither began the season as the #1 team. It would be the USC Trojans who would be put at the top of the rankings led by their great season the year before. With a bowl ban in place the Trojans were not allowed to be in any bowl in 2011 but that didn’t stop them from having a great year with Matt Barkley under centre. Meanwhile the Irish was not even ranked in the preseason and the Tide were sitting at #2 overall. It did not take long for the Crimson Tide to take over the top spot as the Trojan’s ranking wouldn’t last a week falling to #2 in the rankings after week 1 of the season. Then USC would lose their first game of the season to Stanford that would drop them to the #13 spot in the top 25. The rest of their year would not be much better as they would end the season with a 7-5 record and would end the season unranked. Meanwhile the Tide would roll on as the #1 team and looked to be unbeatable until they met Johnny Football. Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M would hand the Tide their first loss of the season and dropping them to a #4 ranking and seemingly putting them out of the National Championship race. Ahead of them would be the Kansas State Wildcats who were led by new Heisman favorite Colin Klein, Oregon with their explosive offence, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who had teams like Oklahoma, Michigan, and Michigan State on their way to an undefeated season. These rankings did not last long though as Week 12 in the season would see Oregon and Kansas State all lose their games while Notre Dame pulled out a triple overtime win against Pittsburgh. Through the wreckage of the week came Alabama who would jump up two spots to the #2 position behind the still undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This is how the season would finish as the Irish would remain the only eligible undefeated team, Ohio State was undefeated but under a bowl ban, and the Crimson Tide would remain #2. As the ranking battle continued another battle was raging between players as the Heisman Trophy was just as exciting. Matt Barkley was the early favorite for the Heisman but as his team struggled so did he dropping him off of the Heisman race. In his place came the exciting Geno Smith who was leading the West Virginia Mountaineers with his feet and his arm. Then again the Heisman’s top spot seemed to be cursed as the Mountaineers struggled dropping Smith from the top spot. In his place would come another duel threat quarterback in Kansas State Wildcats QB Colin Klein who was the leader of the new #1 team in the nation. There was someone else who would sneak up though as Johnny Manziel would beat the Crimson Tide and immediately enter the Heisman conversation. Then there was the one constant in Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o who remained one of the favorites throughout the year even as a purely defensive player. It would come down to these three players as Colin Klein, Johnny Manziel, and Manti Te’o would all be invited as the top three candidates in the Heisman race. In the end it was Johnny Manziel who would take the Heisman as the first freshman to win the award. It was an interesting year in the NCAA as it seemed to go up and down more than ever before. Just as you thought you had a handle on the best teams and the best players a wrench would be thrown in and change everything. Now it comes down to one last game to end another great season and begin a new one as the talk will surely start about the 2013 season and what may happen then.

 

Scores

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl:
Vanderbilt Commodores 38 – 24 NC State Wolfpack
– The Commodores have regularly been at the bottom of the SEC and are usually a forgotten team but this year they finally got their time to shine as they would win their 9th game of the season their best since 1915

Hyundai Sun Bowl:
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 21 – 7 USC Trojans
– The Trojans began the season at the top of the rankings as they seemed destined for the National Championship but they wouldn’t get there and they wouldn’t even win a bowl at the end of the season losing to the Yellow Jackets in the Sun Bowl

Autozone Liberty Bowl:
Tulsa Golden Hurricane 31 – 17 Iowa State Cyclones
– Both teams would open their season against each other in 2012 and now would face off against each other in the Liberty Bowl with the Hurricane taking the win and some revenge after losing that opening game

Chick-fil-A Bowl:
#14 Clemson Tigers 25 – 24 LSU Tigers #8
– The LSU Tigers were supposed to win this game after flirting with the National Championship earlier in the year but they were surprised by the Clemson Tigers who would push LSU to the edge to win with a last second field goal

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl:
#20 Northwestern Wildcats 34 – 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs
– The Wildcats had not won a bowl game since 1959 but that all changed with a number of key interceptions that led Northwestern past the Bulldogs for that first bowl win snapping the NCAA’s longest active bowl postseason losing streak

Heart of Dallas Bowl:
Oklahoma State Cowboys 58 – 14 Purdue Boilermakers
– Clint Chelf led the Cowboys to a dominant win in the Heart of Dallas Bowl as he would throw three TDs in a dominant victory that has gone a long way to establishing OSU as an offensive powerhouse even without some star players from last year

Outback Bowl:
#10 South Carolina Gamecocks 33 – 28 Michigan Wolverines #18
– The Gamecocks came out strong to start the game but would let Michigan back in the game forcing them to come back and forcing Dylan Thompson to throw a winning TD with only 11 seconds left in the game to secure the win

Capital One Bowl:
#7 Georgia Bulldogs 45 – 31 Nebraska Cornhuskers #16
– Both teams were only a conference championship game away from making much bigger bowls but that didn’t stop them from trying to end the season with a high as Aaron Murray would lead the Bulldogs to the win with a 5-TD performance

Rose Bowl:
#6 Stanford Cardinal 20 – 14 Wisconsin Badgers
– Many thought that this game would be an easy one for the Cardinal with the Badgers coming in unranked to a BCS bowl but they would make it a close game as the Cardinal would hold the Badgers off for the win in the first BCS Bowl of the year

Discover Orange Bowl:
#12 Florida State Seminoles 31 – 10 Northern Illinois Huskies #15
– The Huskies had many up in arms as they were not thought to be deserving of a BCS Bowl and really they didn’t do all that much to prove anyone wrong as they could not capitalize on the multiple opportunities from a sloppy Seminoles team as they would take the loss

Allstate Sugar Bowl:
#21 Louisville Cardinals 33 – 23 Florida Gators #3
– The Gators were supposed to win this game against a Cardinals team that was ranked near the bottom of the top 25 but they may have overlooked the Cardinals as Louisville would get out to a 14-0 lead early and never look back

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:
#4 Oregon Ducks 35 – 17 Kansas State Wildcats #5
– This game was Oregon’s from the start when De’Anthony Thomas ran 94 yards for a TD on the opening kickoff as Collin Klein and the Wildcats could not keep up with the ridiculous pace of the Ducks’ offence

AT&T Cotton Bowl:
#9 Texas A&M Aggies 41 – 13 Oklahoma Sooners #11
– This was Johnny Football’s time to shine and shine he did as Heisman Trophy winner and freshman QB Johnny Manziel would be responsible for 516 yards on the ground and threw the air while earning 4 TDs in his first bowl win

BBVA Compass Bowl:
Ole Miss Rebels 38 – 17 Ole Miss Rebels
– The 2011 season for the Rebels was one to forget but they would come back strong and have one of the best turnaround seasons in the NCAA as they would finish the season off with a bowl win to cap off Hugh Freeze’s first year as the head coach

GoDaddy.com Bowl:
Arkansas State Red Wolves 17 – 13 Kent State Golden Flashes #25
– The Golden Flashes had a great season coming close to a BCS bowl berth but they could not recover from the MAC Championship loss as they would lose their bowl game while the Red Wolves would take home their first bowl win

 

Upcoming Games

BCS National Championship:
#1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (Monday January 7th; 8:00 pm EST)
– The National championship closes out the year with two of the most storied programs in the NCAA as the Irish look to complete their return to relevance with their first championship since 1988 and the Tide are looking to become a true dynasty winning their third title in four years

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