College football bowl season in review

Jacob Pollack

Staff Writer

At least this time, Nick Saban enjoyed his Gatorade bath.

Confetti flew throughout Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans as the Alabama Crimson Tide rang in yet another BCS National Championship, officially snuffing out the flickering light of 2011 college football season. Yet, while that image will be the last remembrance of this year’s college football, season, ‘tis the time to wrap up the bowl season, and shed light on the other bowl games that were played.

Oklahoma State kick
Oklahoma State kicker Quinn Sharp kicks the game-winning field goal in overtime to beat the Stanford Cardinal in the Fiesta Bowl.

Most exciting BCS bowl game: Fiesta Bowl

After the Oklahoma State Cowboys were excluded from the BCS National Championship, the Fiesta Bowl became their sloppy seconds. Taking on the Stanford Cardinal, the Fiesta Bowl promised to interest its national television audience and did not disappoint in the slightest. With just a few ticks remaining in regulation, Stanford shifted their winning chances onto the shoulders of redshirt freshman kicker Jordan Williamson to win the game. His 35-yard attempt went wide left, sending the game into overtime. In the first overtime, Williamson again had the opportunity to give Stanford the lead, yet shanked his 43-yard kick, giving the Cowboys possession and the chance to win the overtime thriller. Quarterback Brandon Weeden floated a 24-yard pass to an open receiver in the end zone, which was caught for the touchdown; however, it was overturned thanks to video replay. Kicker Quinn Sharp sent his 22-yard attempt right down the middle to give Oklahoma State its first ever BCS Bowl victory, 41-38.

Honorable Mention: Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (Oregon vs. Wisconsin)

Michigan State celebration
Michigan State celebrates their Outback Bowl victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Most exciting non-BCS bowl game: Outback Bowl

Big 10 runner-ups Michigan State met the Georgia Bulldogs in the Outback Bowl on January 2. Georgia led 16-0 at the half, but with 8:22 remaining, the Spartans charged back to life to lead 20-19. After falling behind by a touchdown with 6:44 left, halfback Le’Veon Bell scampered into the end zone with fourteen seconds remaining to tie the game at 27. In triple overtime, Michigan State prevailed, 33-30, capping an outstanding come-from-behind victory to beat the Georgia Bulldogs, which also gave head coach Mark Dantonio his first bowl win at Michigan State.

Honorable Mention: Valero Alamo Bowl (Washington vs. Baylor)

Biggest head-scratcher: Why no Jarrett Lee?

Of course, LSU started quarterback Jarrett Lee in the ever-so-thrilling BCS National Championship Game (insert snicker here). LSU seemed out of sync all night, as the nation’s most productive offense failed to accumulate over 100 yards of total offense and did not cross midfield until eight minutes were left in the game. Thus this begs the question: Why did Les Miles refuse to put Jarrett Lee in the game to replace Jefferson? Let’s remember here, without Lee, the Tigers probably would not have even been in the championship game. (Lee started all the games that LSU played during the time of Jordan Jefferson’s suspension.) Since they were already trailing 21-0 when we remembered that Lee even existed, the Tigers probably would not have come back to beat Alabama even if Lee took Jefferson’s place; however, the change might have made a difference, and could have made the 21-0 final score more respectable.

MVPs in a winning effort:

Case Keenum – Houston (532 yards passing, 3 touchdowns)

LaMichael James – Oregon (159 yards rushing, 1 touchdown)

DeAnthony Thomas – Oregon (155 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns)

Brandon Weeden – Oklahoma State (399 yards passing, 3 touchdowns)

Geno Smith – West Virginia (401 yards passing, 6 touchdowns)

MVPs in a losing effort:

Keith Price – Washington (438 yards passing, 4 touchdowns)

Bryn Renner – North Carolina (317 yards passing, 3 touchdowns)

Montee Ball – Wisconsin (164 yards rushing, 1 touchdown)

Andrew Luck – Stanford (347 yards passing, 2 touchdowns)

College football may be over, but it doesn’t mean that you have to hang up that unwashed, lucky shirt, or cover up your tacky bumper sticker. College football may be over, but that doesn’t mean that you have to roll up your banners and pennants and take down your flag that reminds you each day why your pride in your team is everlasting. College football may be over, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to look forward to this offseason.

Hey, here is the way I think about it: National Signing Day is in two weeks! So, here’s to the season to remember. Another season is in the books, and another season lives forever in our hearts.

Only eight and a half months until college football kicks off yet again. And counting.

All photos courtesy of