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January 5, 2011

Winners and Losers in the Bowls after the first 30

It's January 5 and 30 college football bowls have been played.  Who are the big winners and losers? I will also include relevant or sometimes irrelevant information regarding the Cotton Bowl teams - LSU and Texas A&M.

Big Winners - TCU, Stanford, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Florida State, Alabama.  TCU and Stanford proved to those of us with an SEC bias that they deserve the high rankings that they have been receiving in the polls.  I still think that Alabama could have beaten either of these teams and I list Alabama in the big winners column because they totally dominated co-Big 10 champ Michigan State.  Michigan State was a very solid 11-1 that had beaten the Big 10 rose bowl representative Wisconsin by more than a touchdown during the regular season.  Alabama was by far the best 3 loss team in the country and will deserve a high preseason ranking to start next year.  Ohio State finally beat an SEC team in a bowl after an extremely long drought dating back decades. By beating a very good Arkansas team, Ohio State proved that they still are a factor in the national title picture.  With a bowl win in his first season as a head coach, Jimbo Fisher proved that Florida State may be a sort of football phoenix rising from the ashes of a once great football team that had seemed burnt out in recent years.  As an LSU fan, I like the fact that the University of Florida may have to occupy themselves more with maintaining its position as the top college football program in the state.  And let's not forget that Jimbo Fisher was LSU's OC before jumping ship to Florida State.  Mississippi State has become a solid SEC contender for the first time in memory.  Miss. State  head coach, Dan Mullen has proven that he is one of the best coaches in the country.  If you can win at Mississippi State, you can win anywhere. I am not sure many figured that Mississippi State would beat Michigan and I am certain even fewer would have guessed that Miss. State would have beaten the Wolverines by a score of 52-14. When your team passes the half-a-hundred score in a bowl game, your team is a big winner.  

For my Cotton Bowl readers - LSU beat both Alabama and Mississippi State in the regular season.  The Alabama game was close but LSU beat Miss.State 29-7 and Miss State did not score until the second half.  

Losers - The Big 10, Nebraska, Michigan, Connecticut, Georgia. If Ohio State had not beaten Arkansas in the Allstate Sugar Bowl there would not have even been a light at the end of the tunnel for the Big 10.  Ohio State did have a bit of help from usually sure-handed Arkansas receivers that dropped an unusually large number of very good passes.  Maybe the game or the excellent pressure by the Buckeye defense had Ryan Mallett throwing the ball harder than normal.  It does not sit well with the Big 10 or the PAC 10 to see a  non-automatic BCS qualifying team holding the Rose Bowl trophy.  It was one thing to see the University of Texas hoist the Trophy after beating USC a few years ago.  It is quite another thing to see Texas Christian University horned frogs hoisting the trophy after beating the Big 10 champs.  And what about Washington beating Nebraska?  I seriously considered putting Washington in the "Big Winner" category.  I suppose the Big 10 fans are somewhat relieved to note that Nebraska's Holiday loss took place December 30, prior to 2011, so that there is no confusion years from now about what conference Nebraska was representing.  Nebraska was a serious contender for at least a top five finish in all the polls for much of the year.  My guess is that they will learn from this year and come back stronger next year.  Michigan, one of the top football programs of all time, has fallen on hard times.  Have they fired Rich Rodriguez yet? I haven't seen the latest and I am not eager to make the effort to find out if a very good coach has been fired.  Things are not working out at Michigan.  I bet he and West Virginia would like a do over.  Mississippi State is possibly the most improved team in the country, however; they did finish 5th out of the 6 teams in the SEC West.  If Michigan's situation is bad, Connecticut's situation is worse.  Finally, Connecticut has built a program that is on the verge of proving that they belong on the field with regular national contenders like Oklahoma and they not only lose the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl by four touchdowns, their coach doesn't even fly back with them to Connecticut.  The loss of head coach Randy Edsall, the architect of the UConn success story, is a major set back and I am not convinced that taking the head coaching position at Maryland was the best option Edsall may have had available.  From an SEC perspective the move only looks like a slight move upward for Edsall and almost an insult to the Connecticut folks.  On a final "losers" note, one has to wonder how long Georgia will put up with being somewhat irrelevant in the SEC, let alone not even being considered in the National Championship picture.  Losing to a Florida team, while uncomfortable, is no disgrace for Georgia.  Losing to a team from Florida other than Florida, Miami or Florida State is fairly embarrassing for the folks from Georgia.  In case you are not following, Georgia lost to the University of Central Florida in a pre-January bowl this year.

For my Cotton Bowl readers - Nebraska's loss had to be a slight blow to Aggies that may have noticed.  Texas A&M narrowly beat Nebraska 9-6 during the regular season with some close calls not falling in Nebraska's favor.  Many LSU fans may have been sympathetic to Nebraska's loss since Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini is just a few of years removed from having been LSU's defensive coordinator.  LSU may have been embarrassed by association from Georgia's loss but LSU and Georgia did not play each other this year.  On the "let's start a wild rumor" thought - If Georgia head coach Mark Richt is let go, I wonder if he might be interested in an offensive coordinator position at an outstanding SEC West program.  Richt is still HC at Georgia and LSU does not have a vacancy at the OC position yet but, it might be something to keep in mind if Georgia keeps sliding and LSU cannot make it into the top half of the nation in offensive production.  I suppose those last thoughts were out of character for me. 

Sorry for being premature and mean spirited. It is not like me.  Maybe it is because I was just interupted/annoyed by an anonymous "out-of-area" called that I suspect was about to try to sell me something.  Hope that wasn't someone calling to offer me Cotton Bowl tickets or some other unnamed cool thing or opportunity.  If you were the caller, I am about to leave. Call back and leave a message with your number and briefly tell me what you are offering.  I will call back as soon as possible, if I am convinced that it is something cool.

Heads up - I am thinking about posting two articles today.  Check back if you like.     

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Noooo not again...Michigan want Les Miles...And Les said no one has contacted him.
"Have a great day"..Whooooooo.

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