Banished Buck Bowl Awards

Best Hair Award – Definitely Hawaii.  This team had guys with more hair than Crystal Gale.  These guys should hawk hair products if the NFL does not work out.

Can We Just Stay on the Bus?Iowa.  It looked to me like a couple items factored into this game:  (1)  Iowa wanted to be in the Rose Bowl and was unhappy about being shuffled to Miami.  (2)  USC just wanted to be in the BCS and was happy to be there. (3)  Iowa had not played since the middle of November  (4)  Iowa was satisfied to be in a BCS bowl after a decade of bottom feeding.

Florida Schools – Fans kept waiting for the Big 3 Florida Schools and their speed to just blow out their opponents.  Florida Journalists took great pains to impress upon everyone before the Fiesta Bowl that there is "FLORIDA SPEED" and then there is "everyone else's speed".  I am still waiting but very confident that at some point in the near future the FLORIDA speed will kick in to help the Canes defeat Ohio State.  About the only speed I saw from Miami that outmatched Ohio State on Januray 3rd was:  1.  ‘Canes fans were quick to cry about the refereeing when in fact a multitude of calls also went against Ohio State.  2.  ‘Canes fans were quick to sell their tickets instead of supporting their team.  3.  ‘Canes fans were quick to leave the stadium after being defeated.

In essence, this whole speed item is the best example of sloppy journalism and "group think" that I have seen in a great while.  I.e., the more opinions that are similar, the more it must be the truth, and the more it must be the truth, the more anyone who doubts it must be a moron…  Question:  Who looks like the moron now?

Biggest Upset – This is a no-brainer, but it probably is not the one you might pick if you read this site very often.  Tulane over Hawaii.  Tulane had the largest point spread against them, were 3-9 in 2001, and they played Hawaii AT Hawaii.  This is the same Hawaii team that if not for a horrible self-destruction would have defeated Alabama to end their season.  For Tulane to come in and pull the upset was a real shocker to most – though I personally gave them a chance because of their strong pass defense.  Second Place goes to Ohio State over Miami.  This was not as big of an upset in reality as the media made it to be.  OSU had a great defense but the media convinced everyone that OSU had no shot.  Then when OSU won, the media was able to save face by calling it a huge upset.  Third place is awarded to Ole Miss over Nebraska.  Yeah the Cornhuskers stunk it up this year but Ole Miss has really struggled against rushing teams the past few seasons.  Ole Miss stopped the Huskers cold and tossed it over their collective heads for TDs.

Most Deceptive ScoreWashington State and OU.  In case you have not heard, Jason Gesser and the Cougars really won this game.  You see, the scoreboard had it all wrong in the end.  Just like Ohio State, Washington State defeated Oklahoma.  Forget that 34-14 (and 25-7) baloney.  Any fool who can read a box score can see how lopsided this game really was.  The Cougars led the Sooners in the number of times they allowed their quarterback to be sacked (6), the number of interceptions thrown (2), punts (6), penalties (9-52), and even fumbles (3).  Clearly the only place the Sooners actually came out on top was the scoreboard…

Florida Speed – Look out.  At any minute that speed will kick in and blow out the Buckeyes.  As all the Miami folks rightfully tell us,  "speed kills…"

Best Game – Ohio State and Miami.  The Hurricanes discovered the Buckeyes were tough nuts to crack.  Meanwhile Ohio State found that weathering a hurricane was not nearly as difficult as they had been led to believe.  This was a game for the ages.

Ready for Gang Warfare – Several teams displayed a stunning lack of class in their bowl games.  Auburn took cheap shots at Penn State the whole first half of their contest.  Hawaii looked like they were auditioning to join the mafia.  They really need to clean it up down there considering their conduct against both Cincinnati and Tulane was beyond disgraceful.  Toledo not only lost, but they lost ugly when they decided to play outside the boundaries of the rules.  Here is hoping that these three programs decide to discipline their players and teach them cheap shots are uncalled for and unwelcome in collegiate athletics.

Worst Coaching Job – Penn State.  Granted, Tommy Tubberville of Auburn is not an easy opponent but still… This is the same Penn State team with a positively studly defensive line, Larry Johnson and Zack Mills in the backfield, and another Johnson at wideout… 

Shoulda Left Dodge While the Getting' was GoodMike Price.  Here is why a lame duck coach should never coach his former team in their bowl game if he has accepted another job.  All he did was hurt both schools.

Florida Speed – Any minute that speed will blow by like the rushing wind.  Any minute.

Where is the Gatorade? – Ohio State players truly proved that the program is "old school" and has not been in a title game in a while.  How?  They neglected to douse Tressel with Gatorade.  Granted, this omission should be noted within its context since the game's final play was a 4th down for Miami near the 1 yard line of Ohio State.  Next year's team needs to seal up the championship a little earlier so that the coach can be properly rewarded for his efforts.

Most Disappointing League – First off, allow me to say that I do not buy into this "Bowl Cup" idea for a second even if the Big Ten did win it.  Bowls are all about matchups and with the alignments of today – few are very equitable.  The only reason the Big Ten performed so well is that it pulled off some pretty big upsets.  Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, and especially Ohio State surprised the critics.  Still, the SEC was takes the award of the worst power league this year.  Georgia struggled to defeat a depleted Florida State squad that entered the game without its best defensive lineman and its starting Quarterback (FSU played a WR at the QB slot for a good portion of the contest).  Arkansas was humiliated by Minnesota.  Tennessee failed to score at least a touchdown in its bowl for the first time since the 1950's.  Florida and LSU at least played hard but both fell to better opponents in Michigan and Texas.  Only the upset wins of Auburn and Ole Miss allowed the league to salvage any sense of decorum.  The SEC will be back, but this season was a forgettable one for them with sanctions, investigations, bowl losses, etc.

Most Over-rated Team – Who else?  Notre Dame.  Willingham did a fairly fine job this season, but this squad was inches from a sub .500 season.  Purdue imploded, Michigan missed a field goal at the end of regulation, Michigan State stunk it up, and 1-10 Navy barely lost.  Notre Dame was exposed late in the season by USC and in their bowl by NC State.  Don't get me wrong, those two teams are good – but if Notre Dame was worthy of its lofty rankings (#11 going into its bowl game and once as high as #3 in the land) this season, no way do they get humiliated like they were.  Next year, expect national title talk for them to die an early death.  Their first eight games are: Washington State (win), @ Michigan (loss), Michigan State (probable win), @ Purdue (loss), @ Pitt (loss), USC (win), @ Boston College (?), Florida State (?).  I expect them to pull at least one big upset in that stretch, but I do not expect them to get through it with only one loss.  There are too many legitimately good programs on that list.

Dial-a-DefenseOregon coaches should look into this new service.  For some reason the Ducks put together great offenses but neglect to put together a strong defense.  As smart as Bellotti appears to be in other areas, this is baffling.  I think he is a fabulous offensive mind and has an eye for talent that is almost unmatched.  So why the lack of defense year after year after year? 

Best Bowl Coaches – Who has the ability to outwit tough opponents?  (1)  Barry Alvarez.  Never, ever bet against the man in a bowl.  (2)  Ralph Friedgen.  Imagine what this guy could do with some talent.  (3)  Jim Tressel.  Ok, his name on the list might be premature in some respects, but I include him due to his I-AA playoff stats and his win this year in the Fiesta.  He knows how to win his rivalry games and bowls.  He is flat out a fine coach.  (4)  Bob Stoops.  His confidence in himself, his coaches, and his team may put some off, but he will outsmart most folks in the business given enough time to prepare.  He is now 3-1 in bowls with the only loss coming in his first season at OU.

Worst Bowl Records – Who do you want to face in a bowl game from this year's coaches?  In no particular order, the "winners" are:  Houston Nutt.  He is now 1-4 in his bowls with the only victory being against Texas in what amounted to a rivalry game.  Gary Barnett.  Barnett is also 1-4 with his only win coming in the Insight.com Bowl against Boston College in 1999.  Frank Solich is struggling.  He now sits with a 2-3 bowl mark after being upset by Ole Miss.  With wins only over the physically overmatched Tennessee and Northwestern teams, the Cornhuskers have been upset by the Rebels and Arizona and humiliated by Miami.  

Florida Speed – Aaannyy minute…

Triple Team MeRashaun Woods is a whale of a football player.  No matter what you do with this kid, he is going to get open.  Fields is a solid QB as well, and the Cowboys of Oklahoma State should do well next season under Les Miles.  About the only way this offense will not be potent in 2003 is if Woods jumps early to the pro ranks or is sitting on the bench with an injury.  Even so, Fields will burn defenses.

Over-rated and Under-rated at the Same Time – Texas.  How does this team lose a game?  With the talent in Austin, I really do not get it.  How do they lose?  Nobody except Miami has their depth, size, and athletic ability.  At some point you figure they will have to win a title, but then again?  They choke every year against OU and another team (take your pick).  They should be very good in 2003, but I would not pick them to win a title.  As of yet, no Mack Brown coached team has ever won its conference, let alone a bigger prize.

BCS Bowls the Way They SHOULD Have Been -  I said it right after they picked the teams, and I still believe it.  The BCS stunk up their bowl picks this year, and they have the Orange Bowl to blame.  Personally, I think the rest of the bowl commissioners ought to let them have it behind closed doors.  My lineup looked like this:

Rose à  Iowa vs. Washington State

Sugar à OU vs. Georgia

Fiesta à OSU vs. Miami

Orange à USC vs. FSU

Those would have been much better than the clunker games the Orange Bowl sentenced everyone to when they messed over the Rose Bowl to take Iowa.

Florida Speed – For those who are still waiting (like myself) for the Florida Speed to show up, I am sorry to announce that Elvis has left the building.

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