2015-01-11 09:19

Before I get to the National Championship game, which is the only Bowl left to play, I give you the reviews to the last ones.
I'm not sure you did read all of the reviews, but there were a lot of games this bowl season with great comebacks or stupid letdowns depended on your view.
For me, most of the comebacks were fueled by complete failures at one point or a few situations which gave the trailing team the chance to come back.

On wave 1 we had the South Alabama - Bowling Green game in the RAYCOM MEDIA CAMELLIA BOWL.
South Alabama had the lead and there was not much time left.
Both teams were quite even at that moment, but one big passing play with two blind safeties and a nice run after catch lead to a Bowling Green win.
This can happen. Not nice for South Alabama, but it can happen.

On wave 2 we had the POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL with Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky.
WKU was a mile up front (14-49) , when Central Michigan was able to score 34 unanswered points and almost won the game.
They were able to get to that point by good CMU offense, but also by many mistakes on the WKU offense and defense.
Fumbles, bad tackling, bad clock management and last but not least a great lateral driven TD by CMU lead to the 1 point lead of WKU.
Then the luck of CMU ran out and the try for 2 points and the win was denied.
Still, burning 34 points in a quarter is a disaster.
Craziness, which shouldn't happen, from coaches point of view.

On wave 3 we had the NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL where Boston College battled Penn State.
Penn State was able to get the game tying score for overtime and then was BC not able to kick the essential extra points on their first TD in OT, while Penn State did on their answering TD and for that reason was able to win this game.
This shows, why kicker ARE important and the outcome of that game would have been different if BC had a better one.
One error, failure.

On wave 5 we had the Michigan State - Baylor matchup in the GOODYEAR COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
Baylor was leading 21-41 at the start of the 4th quarter, when MSU did score 21 points and won the game.
Somehow did the MSU offense played very good and scored almost on every position, but the Baylor offense was basically non existing at that quarter.
And when they were able to get into field goal range?
Then did Baylor suck, twice! One was a miss, one was blocked.
They burned 21 points and lost because of bad offense, bad defense and bad special team plays in one single quarter.
Can happen, but that's coaches jobs to avoid such confusion and let downs, right?

Yeah and then came the game, why I did tell you all that stuff on wave 6.
The most ridiculous game I've seen in that bowl season so far and the chances are high, it will take the trophy home.

Let's have a look at the last games of BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 6

Houston vs. Pittsburgh @ Amon Carter Stadium, FORT WORTH, TX
Imagine you are Pitt and you just scored a hell of a pass TD to take the lead 6-24.
No ... image you just score a rushing TD to take the lead 6-31.
Got it?
OK, now Houston had a nice drive and rushed with a great bulldozer run into the endzone to shorten the lead 13-31.
No problem, you make a nice drive by yourself and settle for a FG. 13-34.
6 minutes to play.
Houston went down the field and scored a pass TD. 20-34.
3:40 left.
Onside kick ... Surprise! (or ... well ... not, right?)
The ball went through Pitts players finger, but that player (your player) was not able to hold on it and Houston got the ball.
Bad but still 14 points left, right?
7 plays later you have another pass TD on 4th and 13 with a 29 yard pass and it's 27-34.
1:58 to play and another onside kick ... Surprise! (or ... well ... you know ...)
Your team was well aware and a player fell on the ball, but the ball went through his legs and a Houston player recovered.
TWO improbable onside kick recovers in 1 quarter.
A blown coverage in the middle of the field led to a big gain on one play and later for another big gain and a TD.
Houston then gambled for a 2 point conversion and another blown coverage lead to the 35-34 lead.
Still you try to get back into the game.
A deep pass to the 25 yard line was in the receivers hands and he dropped it!
The 4th down try was a bad throw after that and Houston won.
How many mistakes!
Well ... Congratulation to Houston, that's a game you can talk about for ages.
Houston 35 - Pittsburgh 34 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 18-15

Friday, January 2 2015, 3:20 PM ET TAXSLAYER BOWL
Iowa vs. Tennessee @ Everbank Field, JACKSONVILLE, FL
I think that game was a relieve for Vols fans and a nightmare for Hawkeye fans.
Iowa was totally outplayed by Tennessee and they only were able to score in garbage time.
The future looks good for the Vols, while I'm totally sure that Iowa will not go anywhere.
Iowa 28 - Tennessee 45 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 18-16

Friday, January 2 2015, 6:45 PM ET VALERO ALAMO BOWL
#11 Kansas State vs. #14 UCLA @ Alamodome, SAN ANTONIO, TX
UCLA did look more like the team everyone wanted to see the whole season, than the team, which did play the regular season and lost the important games against Utah, Oregon and Stanford.
Here they did battle KSU very good and they were at some point leading 6 - 31 to that half.
After that came KSU a bit back, but UCLA was able to keep them in check until the game was over.
THAT was a good example how to handle an upcoming, momentum swinging situation.
Once KSU was able to cut the lead down to one possession, they were able to score and extended the lead again.
And ... they were able to recover the KSU onside kick.
#11 Kansas State 35 - #14 UCLA 40 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 19-16

Friday, January 2 2015, 10:15 PM ET TICKETCITY CACTUS BOWL
Washington vs. Oklahoma State @ Sun Devil Stadium, TEMPE, AZ
That was so lame of Washington.
Who would have thought the Huskies would be not able to score a single point in the first half?
We are talking about a team, lead by THAT coach, which did light up the scoreboard with Boise State the last gazillion years.
The Cowboys did lead 0 - 24 at the half.
Then did Washington wake a bit up, but not enough.
They did cut the lead to 8, the Cowboys did miss a field goal and the next Washington drive with under a minute to go was stopped by an overthrown pass, which was intercepted.
Basically did Washington only play 1 half ....
Washington 22 - Oklahoma State 30 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 19-17

Saturday, January 3 2015, 1:00 PM ET BIRMINGHAM BOWL
East Carolina vs. Florida @ Legion Field, BIRMINGHAM, AL
This was more open than expected.
Game was tied at the end of the 1st quarter.
Then did Florida score right after the start of the second quarter and later on a long drive.
7 - 21 at the half.
Not over yet did East Carolina score a few more points, than Florida in the 3rd quarter and the lead was only 17 - 28.
Early in the 4th did ECU kick a field goal and the lead was only a one position lead. 20 - 28.
But with all tools and effort were the Pirates not able to get into the endzone one more time and they were also not able to kick another field goal.
Gators won.
East Carolina 20 - Florida 28 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 20-17

Sunday, January 4 2015, 9:00 PM ET GODADDY BOWL
Toledo vs. Arkansas State @ Ladd-Peebles Stadium, MOBILE, AL
This was an offense showdown.
First quarter score? 21-14.
Second quarter score? 33-17. Arkansas State did held Toledo a very long time in check, but failed late in the quarter and a fumble return TD sealed the big Toledo lead.
Then did Arkansas State fight back in the 3rd quarter and did cut the lead to 11 points. 42-31.
In the 4th quarter did the game become a score-on-every-possession game and the score board did light up.
Since Arkansas State was not able to contain Toledo, they lost at the end.
Toledo 63 - Arkansas State 44 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 21-17

And now comes the last Bowl, the National Championship game.


#2 Oregon vs. #4 Ohio State @ AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
This is the first College Football Playoff National Championship game.
Each team gets around 22.000.000$.
There is no BCS-Ranking anymore but it is quite likely, that none of both teams would have been here in the BCS era.
In the BCS era the #1 and the #2 ranked teams would have been selected for the game.
It's hard to say, how the computer models and the human polls would have ranked the teams, but AP poll AND coaches poll did have Alabama and Florida State at #1 and #2.
Thanks to the semi finals Oregon and Ohio State got the chance to play for the Championship.
The problem with playoffs is always that a team might win or lose by one perfect game or one bad game, but that can be said for every game, so I'm not getting into that.
Fact is, we will probably see a very nice matchup.
Key factor for Oregon is from my point of view, if they will be able to get their great offense rolling and if their defense, especially their defense line, will be able to stop Ohio State often enough to let the Ducks offense outscore the Buckeyes Offense.
Key factor for Ohio State will be to crush the Ducks offense at the line of scrimmage and to contain their QB. Second priority will be to get good mix of pass and run plays going on offense to counter the scoring (if it happens).
For Oregon I would assume would be a game be perfect where Ohio State has to play catch-up.
For Ohio State I assume a game would be perfect where Oregon is stopped on almost every down and Ohio State can dictate the speed of the game.
Now, let's do a pick.
I like it how Ohio State did manage the whole season, now playing for the Championship with their 3rd stringer, looking like a good candidate for a Heisman next season.
I'm sure they will play tough football.
Why I still pick Oregon is, they are so good, it's hard to imagine them to stumble over the Buckeyes.
Yes, this will not be a blowout win, and yes, it will be close.
But at the end of the game, it will probably depend on a quick scoring drive and that's what Oregon can do best.
So ... Duck will win their first National Championship.

'Til next time

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