OK, so we were done with bowls last week…don’t judge! I am sometimes a busy person.
Obviously, we have to discuss the Texas/Oregon Alamo Bowl. Yep, Texas lost, which I’m sure you’re aware of by now, unless you took up residence in a cardboard box down by the river right after Christmas. The final score doesn’t tell the whole story; let’s be honest. The Texas defense managed to pretty much stuff the elite Oregon offense. They put on quite a performance; nothing to be ashamed about there. If you subtract the two pick-sixes, interceptions made after bad decisions by McCoy, the Oregon offense was held to 16 points. SIXTEEN. And only ONE offensive touchdown. That is most definitely something to crow about. Similar to what happened in the Baylor game, the Texas offense just couldn’t get it together enough to score the points. The play calling was suspect—the run was abandoned too early and too often. Ultimately the ‘Horns couldn’t pull off the upset. All is not lost, Texas Faithful. We have a new captain, and I am very excited about the possibilities he brings. I need a whole post just devoted to Coach Strong and the new staff he’s assembling. He hit the ground running, and expectations are high. Can it be August already?
OK, back to bowling. As usual, there were some surprising outcomes that were either a treat or a tragedy, depending on your perspective. The Cotton Bowl turned out to be both. Who doesn’t like to see Alabama lose? Not only lose, but get dominated on both sides of the ball? I almost didn’t watch the game! My stepkids were in town from Texas, and we were out merry-making (bowling, for real, I’m not making this up). I was home by the half and glued to the TV thereafter. The Oklahoma win was bittersweet. Bitter because it’s OU. No one will ever, ever hear the end of it. And sweet because ‘Bama lost. When we meet OU in the Red River Rivalry later this year, they might need a separate building to house Bob Stoops’ ego. Still, all right, it’s a win for a Big 12 team. Something that was rare as hen’s teeth this bowl season.
Another happy surprise was the Texas Tech win over Arizona State, 37-23. ASU came in ranked at #14, and left with another tick in the “L” column. Tech owned that game from start to finish. My daughter, C, said of Kliff Kingsbury, Tech coach, “He has senator hair.” Yes, indeed he does. We enjoyed another Big 12 win from the Kansas State-Michigan matchup. Who saw that one coming? Not me. The former Big 12 champ played very well, and pulled off a convincing 31-14 win. Well done!
Unfortunately, not all the games went our way. Baylor dropped their game to University of Central Florida, 52-42. UCF is an up-and-comer with a serious program. They took it to Baylor. Look for them in the 2014 season. The other high-powered Big 12 offense, Oklahoma State, lost to Missouri, 41-31. You may remember Missouri as the former conference cellar-dweller, turned defector to the SEC, where they’ve achieved some decent success. And this year, they toppled OSU, in a game that surprised me.
Should we discuss the National Championship? OK, but only briefly. To be fair, it was a pretty good contest between Florida State and Auburn. I actually heard Brent Musburger admit that the most exciting NC game he’d seen was the Texas victory over USC in the 2005 season. THAT’S RIGHT IT WAS. Look, Auburn is in the SEC, which makes them my sort of sworn enemy. However, I don’t really harbor any bad feels about the Tigers. FSU, on the other hand…man, the list of grievances is long and distinguished. There is no love lost for me and any Florida football team. The Cult of Football Worship is in full effect down in Florida. Exhibit 1 is Jameis Winston, and I’ll leave it at that. Moving on! Auburn owned the first half of the game. As good teams with good coaching will do, FSU made adjustments at halftime and turned things around. FSU took the victory, 34-31. While I can’t stand FSU, I am glad the last BCS Championship didn’t go to the SEC. So…HA!
Other random thoughts about the bowl season: I was surprised at the Stanford-Michigan State game. Stanford lost, 20-24. Their offense looked a little “off.” But I can’t take away from the tremendous play from Michigan State. Clemson beat a very good Ohio State team, 40-35. Louisville SMOKED Miami, 36-9. For Miami, I have another HA! Why is that game important? Because our new coach, Charlie Strong, is lately of the Louisville Cardinals. The Aggies managed to squeak out a win against Duke; another game where I hoped both teams could lose. Without Johnny Manziel next year, I’m not sure what the future holds for our favorite cousins in College Station. A little come-uppance would be nice. Humility is too much to hope for, I fear.
Statistically, the dreaded SEC came out on top with a 7-3 bowl record. My #2s in the Pac-12 were not far behind at 6-3. The Big 12 came in at 3-3, which isn’t great but doesn’t suck. We expect more, though, don’t we? And the three losses came from the teams at the top of the conference. What’s up with that?
Friends, it is now the time of the year to immerse yourself in something other than football. That might be football recruiting. Or another sport, like basketball, or baseball (yay!), or lacrosse, or rugby, or Cheese Rolling (I’m not making this up ). We have months to go before we see the debut of the newly remastered Longhorn football team. I’ll be marking off the days on my calendar.
Next up, though, a look at Coach Strong and his assembled staff (still a work in progress). I have a good feeling about this! Until we meet again, go chase that cheese wheel, and Hook ‘em!