No, that’s not 30 for 30’s younger, dumber brother. It refers to the fact that, for the most part, the New Year’s Six bowls went six for six for being horrible. Not a single one of the bowls had much drama at all. You could say Florida State kept it relatively close with Houston and there was a bit of drama during the Fiesta Bowl but other than that it was relatively unwatchable football. And this is coming from a guy who watches as much college football as he can. Alright, let’s get to the recap starting with the College Football Playoff semi-finals:
ORANGE BOWL – Clemson 37 Oklahoma 17
So many complained that this game started at 4 on New Year’s Eve because many people were working that day. Understandable I guess. Yet many of those same people didn’t complain that the other semi-final was on from 8 until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Makes no sense to me. Anyway, this bowl was the closer of the two semi-finals. It was the Clemson D that stepped up in this one. Mayfield, Perine, Shepard, et al just couldn’t do much. Also, Deshaun Watson showed why he was a Heisman finalist. Which leads us to the other semi-final…
COTTON BOWL – Alabama 38 Michigan State 0
Good lord this wasn’t even close. It did allow the Twitterverse to go crazy saying Sparty didn’t belong in the College Football Playoff at all. Hindsight is 20-20 but it’s also annoying and sometimes very wrong. Who knew Jake Coker would have the game of his life? Who knew Connor Cook would have the worst game of his life? Who knew Alabama’s defense would be that good? OK I’ll give you that last one. Bama has all the momentum going into the national championship now.
Now the other New Year’s Six bowls which weren’t a whole lot better:
PEACH BOWL – Houston 38 Florida State 24
Arguably the closest of the NY6 bowls. Terrible. However it did show that Houston, much like Boise State in years past, is a cut above most of the rest of the Group of Five teams. Not having Everett Golson or, really, a healthy Sean Maguire didn’t help the Noles in this one. Honestly though they looked sloppy. It’s like the put it all on the field against Florida so they could destroy their rivals and had nothing left for this one.
FIESTA BOWL – Ohio State 44 Notre Dame 28
Ugh, the targeting penalty rears its ugly head again. Joey Bosa’s Ohio State career ends on a targeting call that is technically correct but kind of goes against the spirit of the rule. There were at least six other instances where targeting should have been called and never was in the past few days. That has to be the NCAA’s number one priority in the offseason: getting the targeting call correct and locking down when it should be called. I get that it’s still referee’s discretion but the variation on when it’s called is ridiculous. I feel bad for the kid since there’s a possibility he will end up on the Browns next season. Oh, as for the game, despite the fact the Irish acted like a rash that wouldn’t quite go away, tOSU seemed to be in control the entire time. NEXT!
ROSE BOWL – Stanford 45 Iowa 16
This was also known as the McCaffrey Bowl since he was the single most dominating player on that field (as he was in a few other games during the season). He scored a touchdown a mere eleven seconds in and that ended up being a prelude to one of the greatest performances in bowl game history. His 368 all-purpose yards broke the Rose Bowl record and he put the stake in the ground as the 2016 Heisman early frontrunner. Iowa was never in this one and this seemed like more of a beatdown than what their Big Ten brethren Michigan State suffered the previous day. I hope this, for now, shows people why a four-team playoff is better than an eight-team playoff. As much as people said Stanford and Ohio State were reasons for playoff expansion, Iowa and Notre Dame showed that it shouldn’t be since they would have been two of the eight teams vying for the title. Moving on…
SUGAR BOWL – Ole Miss 48 Oklahoma State 20
At this point I got fed up. Once Laquon Treadwell caught his third touchdown pass in the second quarter I put the rest of the game on the PVR (we will get to that in a later bowl recap). I had had it with the New Year’s Six. What a set of horrible games. So New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and (to a lesser extent) American Thanksgiving Saturday, the three biggest college football days of any season, were pretty shitty. Not impressed as a college football fan. I was right to check the game on the PVR later to see that, um, yes Ole Miss destroyed the Cowboys.
OK enough of these bowls, let’s get to the rest of the bowls from New Year’s Day and yesterday:
OUTBACK BOWL – Tennessee 45 Northwestern 6
Your 2016 SEC East Champion Tennessee Volunteers…is what many will now say for the next eight months. Don’t get me wrong, the Vols made Northwestern their bitch in this one but one game does not a champion make. I will say this: Tennessee is set up well for the next season but more so for the fact that the rest of the SEC East doesn’t look too hot right now so really it’s an open competition (except for you Vanderbilt). I assume this bowl game lost many viewers pretty early on. That’s the con of a New Year’s Day bowl when other bowl games are on.
CITRUS BOWL – Michigan 41 Florida 7
See what I mean about the SEC East? Let’s be honest, the Gators overperformed this season. They didn’t have the players to be a true CFP contender yet somehow they came within one poor game in the SEC Championship of going to a New Year’s Six bowl game. They were exposed here by a good Michigan team that was probably one horrifically bad last-second play from also being in the New Year’s Six. Jim Harbaugh has the Wolverines going in the right direction and Florida fans hope Jim Bob McElwain is doing the same in Gainesville. Again, another bowl that lost plenty of viewers due to the game being basically over in the early third quarter.
TAXSLAYER BOWL – Georgia 24 Penn State 17
Hey a bowl game that was actually somewhat close. Saying that, the Dawgs had a 24-3 lead before the non-Hackenberg Nittany Lions made a comeback. Christian Hackenberg is smart to declare for the NFL Draft despite the fact he won’t be a first round pick. The one thing that kept Penn State from a better season was that brutal offensive line. I wouldn’t want to play behind those guys another season knowing there’s a decent payday awaiting you instead. Also, this game felt weird with no Mark Richt involved.
LIBERTY BOWL – Arkansas 45 Kansas State 23
I took a break from watching football (I know, insane right?) for the last quarter-and-a-half of this one. I was starting to get worn out from the craptastic games I had seen. Yes, we get it, the SEC West is awesome, all hail the SEC West, whatever. KSU making a bowl game was a miracle in and of itself and if my proposal would go through, we would never see teams like this in postseason play again.
ALAMO BOWL – TCU 47 Oregon 41 (3OT)
It feels like all the excitement that we could have had in all the bowls were concentrated here. And I nearly missed it. Once Oregon went up 28-0, I put the game on the PVR (much like the Sugar Bowl) and stopped watching. What I missed was Vernon Adams getting injured and Gary Patterson feeling the POWER OF THE PURPLE SHIRT. Bram Kohlhausen’s only career start at TCU ended up being legendary as TCU came back from 31 down to tie the game. I decided, for some reason, to turn it back on to see what was going on with it with about 3 minutes left in the game. I was astounded at what the score was. The Horned Frogs would end up winning in triple overtime, sending Phil Knight into shock and making Ducks fans wonder which of their ten million uniform combinations would have been the right one to wear in hindsight.
CACTUS BOWL – West Virginia 43 Arizona State 42
I put this one on the PVR, watched the first half, and went to bed. I put in a four-hour window just to be safe. Yeah, not even close. By the time the recording ended there was still seven minutes left to play. Why are some of these games so damn long. Now I am worried that the national championship will be six hours and I will be exhausted the next day at work. Worst part is this was a great game and I missed the end. Don’t know who to complain to but I am going to complain anyways. No wonder the Pac-12 doesn’t want too many late-night games considering I stayed up until 2 (if not later) on too many Saturday nights to count (it was probably like seven of them). What an interesting way to finish watching bowl season.
One game left and it’s for all the marbles. Clemson will face Alabama for the national championship and now Dabo Swinney can use the underdog tag properly since they will definitely be one for this game (as of right now it’s Alabama favoured by 7). Also, the FCS title game kicks off at noon on Saturday if you’re interested (and have the specialty pack). College football season is almost over folks and I type that with a bit of a tear in my eye. Enjoy the national championship (and the NFL games today).