To no one's surprise, both #1 Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl on January 3rd. Unlike last season when USC captured a share of the National Championship by winning in the polls despite not playing for the BCS title, it is very unlikely Auburn could do so this time. The main reason the Tigers have virtually no shot at even a split title, despite an undefeated season in the tough SEC, is that their pre-season ranking was too low. While the various polls all had USC and Oklahoma near the top right from the start, Auburn had to gradually move up from their starting spot in the upper teens. Clearly, this is not only unfair, but inane. A simple and logical solution is to eliminate all polls until at least the beginning of October. Of course, this is so simple and logical that it will never happen. As I've written many times in the past, the only real solution is a playoff system similar to that which exists in Divisions 1-AA, 2, and 3. Don't hold your breath on that idea either!
Another travesty in the BCS Bowl process was Mack Brown spent last week wailing about how unfair it would be for Texas to be excluded from the BCS. Apparently enough voters were swayed, since the Longhorns edged past California into 4th place in the BCS Standings even though the Golden Bears remained slightly ahead of the Longhorns in both the A.P. and Coaches' Polls. It was reported that six coaches moved California down on their ballots after this weekend. In the previous Coaches' Poll, California was no worse than 6th on any ballot. In the final voting, four coaches dropped the Golden Bears down to 7th place and two all the way to 8th. Would California be headed to the Rose Bowl instead of the Holiday Bowl if Tedford's offense managed to score a meaningless last-minute TD on Saturday? I guess we'll never know, but it's certainly possible.
The final BCS Bowl features undefeated Mountain West champion Louisville. To that, I'd respond if these armchair experts have a better solution to the BCS mess, let us know BEFORE the season begins. It's so very easy to second-guess after the fact!
Several more coaching vacancies were created in the past week. Gone are Gary Crowton at South Carolina that cost both schools a bowl game. However, Bowden did make some major staff changes, firing his offensive and defensive coordinators and linebackers coach.
In the "Hirings Department," John Robinson who retired. Stanford Offensive Coordinator Bill Cubit to replace the fired Gary Darnell. Cubit had previously served as the Broncos' offensive coordinator, and his son Ryan is a QB at the school. California rewarded Jeff Tedford with a five year contract extension, through 2009.
In the "Rumor Department," Stanford's top two choices to replace the fired Buddy Teevens are USC Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow and Pittsburgh Head Coach Walt Harris. Both will be interviewed this week. Utah wants their Defensive Coordinator, Kyle Whittingham, to replace Urban Meyer. However, Whittingham is also the top target of arch-rival BYU, and he's a former Cougar player. That should make for a lot of "buzz" in the Beehive State!
Next week, I'll begin to preview the upcoming bowl games. Meanwhile, here's a recap of last week's action:
Midwest - In the MAC Championship Game at Detroit's Ford Field, West champion Iowa State in the Independence Bowl on December 28th.
East - Army. The Middies' nine wins are the most
since 1963, when "Jolly Roger" Staubach was their QB. After a scoreless first fifteen minutes, Navy
scored twice in the first 3:54 of the 2nd quarter. Senior QB Aaron Polanco broke the ice on a 10 yard run,
and senior RB Kyle Eckel followed with a 23 yard TD run. The Middies scored twice more on a 67 yard
interception return by senior FS Josh Smith and a 12 yard TD pass from Polanco to junior WR Mick
Yokitis. The Black Knights finally got on the scoreboard in the final minute of the first half on a 6 yard TD
pass from junior QB Zac Dahman to Jimmy Trimble. Polanco completed 7 of 11 passes for 100 yards and 2 TDs. Eckel carried 26 times for a career-high 179 yards. Dahman was 20-39 for 163 yards and 2 scores.
The Middies will take on New Mexico in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco on December 30th.
South - In the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, #3 Auburn remained unbeaten with a 38-28 win over #15 Tennessee. Senior QB Virginia Tech on January 3rd. Tennessee will be headed to the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day where they'll meet Texas A&M.
#4 California held off Southern Mississippi 26-16 in a game rescheduled from September 18th. The Golden Bears led 17-10 before Golden Eagles' junior QB North Texas (7-4) in the New Orleans Bowl on December 14th.
Senior QB Montavious Stanley and a 3 yard TD run by LeFors. LeFors finished with 19 completions in 27 attempts for 247 yards and a TD. Shelton had 57 yards and 2 TDs in 18 carries. Carmody booted all 7 PATs, and broke the NCAA record for consecutive conversions with 72. Louisville set an NCAA record, becoming the first school to score at least 55 points in five consecutive games. The Cardinals' defense totally shut down the Green wave, limiting them to 107 yards of total offense including minus 17 on the ground. With the loss, Tulane fell to 5-6 and out of bowl contention. Louisville will meet undefeated Boise State in the Liberty Bowl on December 31st.
In a showdown at the Orange Bowl for the ACC title, Virginia Tech edged Miami 16-10. The winning score came on a 39 yard TD pass from senior QB Brock Berlin and the Canes defense all afternoon. Berlin completed 16 of 31 passes for 140 yards, but Miami only amassed 51 rushing yards and had just 7 first downs. Virginia Tech will face Auburn in the Sugar Bowl on January 3rd. Miami will travel to Atlanta's Peach Bowl to play Florida on New Year's Eve.
#19 Pittsburgh locked up a BCS Bowl bid with a 43-14 thumping of Malcolm Postell extended the Panthers' lead to 14-0 when he returned an interception of a Pat Julmiste pass 15 yards for a TD. It was Postell's third defensive TD of the year, all on interception returns, which broke the school record. Postell had a second interception later in the game. Lee, a Tampa native, had 8 receptions for 153 yards. For the Bulls, Julmiste was 12-21 for 129 yards. Pittsburgh will take on undefeated Utah in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day.
Southwest - #2 Oklahoma kept their focus on the Big Twelve Championship Game, and it paid off with a 42-3 rout of Houston Bowl on December 29th.
West - #1 USC made it into the Orange Bowl, but not without a struggle. The Trojans held off city rival Wyoming in the Las Vegas Bowl on December 23rd.
UAB on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl.
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