*Nota Bene-Pretty long post follows.
As I was watching a viciously bland bowl game of nugatory importance (the Meineke Car Care Bowl) the news which will overshadow everything else from Saturday became the special ingredient to spice up that bowl gumbo: Urban Meyer's resignation as Florida coach due to health issues. There has already been a lot of words spent on what this move means. I'll only add this for the moment: Cincy is winning the Sugar Bowl. Mardy Gilyard said he is in control of the situation and you had better listen to that man. A measure of added interest, Urban Meyer played at Cincy.
As for Urban Meyer (who got the job at Florida after introducing the BCS and Pitt to the Utah bowl game buzzsaw) whatever happens in that Sugar Bowl, he left the game with quite an impressive resume trailing behind himself.
- 2 BCS Championships in 3 years, only coach to win 2 BCS Championships (well, until Nick Saban (or Mack Brown, but probably not him) does it again in January)
- 2 SEC Titles, 2 MWC Titles
- 5-1 Bowl record (3-0 in BCS games)
- Highest win percentage (.841) of any active coach (min. 5 years)
- All of his three teams (Bowling Green, Utah, Florida) won at least 8 games per season (not averaged wins, actual record, at least 8 wins a season)
- Bringing back the jump pass, fellow LSU fans, look away.
To the Bowl Wrap Up!
Solich coming to the realization that he's cursed
Frank Solich's Ohio Bobcats won 9 games again this year, the Little Caesar's Bowl was not one of the 9. He had every reason to come away a winner in this game except for the minor fact that a hex was put on him once he was dismissed at Nebraska. He was let go before the bowl game in 2003 with 9 wins and now he must wander the football world with the inability to win 10 games ever again. Solich is now 2-5 in bowl games. He is 0-4 in bowl games since he won the Alamo Bowl in 2000. What happened in this one? A 21-0 Marshall lead which the Bobcats could never recover from, though Ohio tried to mount a comeback. 12 yards rushing for Ohio really didn't help the cause, neither did 123 total yards. That is not a typo. Marshall's 80th ranked defense which allowed 517 passing yards and 72 rushing yards to UTEP (4-8) put together that performance. Marshall's two headed clock chewing rushing attack of Darius Marshall and Martin Ward were effective and allowed QB Brian Anderson to manage the game and not force himself into any turnovers.
Meineke Car Care Bowl-A Field Goal Bonanza!
Two failed NFL coaches tried to out NFL the other for 60 minutes and Wannstache came out the victor. The winning points of course came on a mind numbing 17 play, 8 minute, 47 second drive by Pitt. Weapon of choice: FG, naturally. The go ahead points came on the fourth made FG of the game for Pitt and the fifth FG attempted. North Carolina also kicked a FG during the game. It came after QB T.J. Yates threw an INT on the Pitt 1 yard line in the 2nd quarter. UNC had to wait until after Pitt was done going 1 yard and punting the ball before getting good field position to set up the previously mentioned FG. The winning FG for Pitt followed a neutral zone infraction by UNC on a 4th and 2. That momentary lapse in thinking was reminiscent of the Browns-Kansas City game I mentioned in the preview--the one where Dwayne Rudd threw his helmet in celebration not knowing Trent Green didn't actually have the ball anymore. Just like Kansas City in that game, Pitt was able to kick the game winning FG from a comfortable spot. The Urban Meyer announcement during the game almost makes you forget how bad it was to watch. I've seen the ad campaigns, if I wanted the NFL, I'd go to the NFL. We wanted college football, Butch Davis and Wannstache haven't figured that out yet.
Emerald Bowl-Trojans 24, Boston College 13.
This was the performance I was talking about. Joe McKnight did not play. It didn't matter. BC's running back Montel Harris got over 100 yards on the ground, so what? Trojan QB Matt Barkley played like a freshman again today by throwing two picks. However, since he was simultaneously playing against a defense with a soft secondary he also put up 350 yards and 2 TDs (and he also ran a sneak for another TD). Pete Carroll's team scored in every quarter. BC only scored points in the second quarter to cut the lead to 1 at half. Whenever they eschewed the 2 point try (their first XP was blocked...by the upright, what is going on with kickers this season!?) on the second TD, BC showed the kind of timidity teams usually show to Pete Carroll. Instead, they should have rammed the ball across the goal line on a rush by Harris. They did not and were essentially done for, but the rules say you have to play two halves. BC didn't really do that either and have now lost their second straight bowl game. The Eagles used to have a bowl buzzsaw of their own with 8 straight wins from 2000-2007. The original buzzsaw, while we are on the subject, belongs to Bobby Bowden whose FSU Seminoles won 11 bowl games (1985-1995) in a row (bowl games used to end in a tie from time to time so that also means Bowden has the longest undefeated bowl streak of 14 straight games-1982-1995). I never thought I'd say this, but thank goodness for Pete Carroll for getting me my only correct pick of the day. Abraham Lincoln also picked the Trojans so now I need to explain that.
When I'm not watching football or teaching political science, I'm writing a book on Abraham Lincoln. See some of the fruits of the research here. As for my bowl picks, they stand at 2-3 (.400). During the UNC-Pitt game, I figured that I was going to lose that one and win the Trojan pick. I also wondered if flipping a coin (heads would be the home team and tails the away team) to pick would come out better. Here's the rules: I flip the penny once. Lincoln never saw a football game so he would be oblivious to the rules, yet I have a bad feeling he is going to beat me in picking these bowl games. Lincoln is 1-0. As you might have read in the Music City Bowl preview, I took Kentucky and Lincoln is going with Clemson.
Bowl Challenge Standings
MWC 3-0 1.000 Pt differential: 41
Sun Belt 1-0 1.000 (Dwight Dasher swagger boost override) Pt differential: 10
Big East 2-0 1.000 Pt differential: 23
C-USA 2-2 .500 Pt. differential: 8
Pac 10 1-2 .333 Pt. differential: -23
MAC 0-1 .000 Pt. differential: -4
ACC 0-2 .000 Pt. differential: -13
WAC 0-2 .000 Pt. differential: -42