The Holiday Bowl Aftermath

By breakfast time on New Years Eve morning Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach had still not caught a wink of sleep and he was perfectly ok with it. After hours upon hours of congratulations and high-fives flying everywhere Leach was looking for eggs and bacon instead of a mattress and pillow, but this was not a case of insomnia.

"I'm really proud of our guys," Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach said just hours after whipping 4th ranked University of California at Berkley 45-31 in front of 63,711 at Qualcomm Stadium west of downtown San Diego. This crowd was the second largest Pacific Holiday Bowl crowd in history only behind 1998's match between Nebraska and Arizona which had a crowd of 65,354.

Gerald Myers, Texas Tech's Athletic Director referred to the victory as "huge", maybe even the biggest victory in school history.

The Red Raiders (8-4) had never beaten a Top 10 team in a bowl game; certainly not in a nationally televised game with a payout of $2 million, but the Red Raiders made light of the Cal Golden Bears (10-2) and all their BCS hype Thursday night at the home of the San Diego Chargers.

Myers said, "No Question, It's huge for our program."

Just three weeks ago Cal's junior quarterback Aaron Rodgers was quoted calling the University of Texas's head coach Mack Brown "classless" for lobbying that his team belonged in one of the BCS bowls. Well Mack, after another BCS controversy you got your wish and now Cal is headed home with a big bag full of nothing for their nearly unblemished regular season while your Longhorns rode Vince Young's Michael Vick-like legs to a 38-37 victory in the 91st annual Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

At the post-game press conference Thursday night you knew it was coming; the question was who had the guts to ask it. Cal head coach Jeff Tedford quickly grew annoyed when asked about the BCS system.

"You have to continue to bring that up," said Tedford. "The BCS, we have to work on it. As a college football entity, we have to work on it because there glitches in it."

Yet, anyone that watched the Holiday Bowl on Thursday knew that the only glitch Cal faced was Sonny Cumbie and the unstoppable Texas Tech offense that went off for nearly 600 yards of total offense and 45 points. Mike Leach's spread offense was running on all cylinders as he watched Cumbie slice and dice one of the nation's top defenses for 520 yards and 3 touchdowns on 60 attempts, a new Pacific Holiday Bowl record.

Cumbie, a former walk on from Snyder, Texas has struggled at times during the season with the interception bug and early in the season was even booed at Jones SBC Stadium, but Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium you never would have known it. Cumbie was on the money with every pass and seemed as if he could do no wrong in his last game as a Red Raider.

So how does bowl play affect recruiting in the Big 12?

With the Big 12 South heading into bowl season with five teams ranked in the top 25, the recruiting battle was anything but over. University of Texas head coach Mack Brown isn't called "Coach February" for nothing while Bob Stoops and the program he has built at Oklahoma always pulls in some of the nations blue-chippers, yet the biggest news coming out of the south might be Oklahoma State head coach Les Miles and the latest news that he will be headed to LSU to take the place of Nick Saban.

As far as Texas Tech goes, the Holiday Bowl did nothing but boost recruits confidence of heading out to West Texas. After the best bowl showing in years and evidence that the program is on the rise, the projected top 15 national recruiting class should do nothing but improve. Mike Leach's job now is to develop this young talent and lead the Red Raiders to a Big 12 championship and BCS over the next few years.


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