Traditionalists aside, this was great college football
Some people like their football in certain ways. Just like they like their grits, iced tea, and, well anything else that folks are particular about. Traditionalists, and there are many, eschew games like we saw today — the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. Those same people are the ones who get downright giddy over a 9-to-6-in-overtime game of the century, and at the same time find absolutely no joy in the recent Alamo Bowl that featured 1,397 yards of total offense, 123 points scored, 17 touchdowns, and a newly-crowned Heisman Trophy winner. Two ends of a very long spectrum, no doubt. But it is hard to understand how college football fans could not be enamored with the drama of this evening’s double-header of New Years Day (plus one) bowl games.
Rose Bowl: Oregon 45 Wisconsin 38
In Monday’s first game of appreciation, the Oregon Ducks defeated Wisconsin, in part by gaining the second most total yards (621) in the history of the Granddaddy of Them All. Together, the Ducks and Badgers put 83 points on the board for the highest tally ever seen in this bowl series. It was 14-14 after the first quarter, 28-28 at the half, 38-35 Wisconsin at the end of three, and Oregon put 10 unanswered points up in the final quarter for the win. And it all happened with two teams going at each other tooth and nail, one dressed in uniforms from the 1960s and the other with togs from 2035. The helmets of the Ducks — those Nike darlings of footballing attire — looked more like those spherical objects placed in the vineyards of Napa Valley to ward off birds from eating away the future profits. And Wisconsin, the traditionalists of the football fashion world, just needed an old-fashioned muddy field to make them look the part.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma 41 Stanford 38 (OT)
The nightcap was a game every golfer with the yips has nightmares about. Stanford’s Jordan Williamson, who every mother in the country wants to put their loving arms around to provide comfort, missed two field goal attempts of makeable distance (a 35-yarder as the fourth quarter expired followed by a 35-yarder in the first and only overtime session) to mar an otherwise whale of a game between the nation’s number 3 and number 4 teams that each belonged in a four-team playoff that someday will exist. Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck were the two marquee players coming into this Fiesta Bowl game, and they didn’t disappoint. Luck will make the Indianapolis Colts very happy that they had a miserable season to earn the number one NFL draft pick. Blackmon caught eight passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and announced on the field to the ESPN post-game audience that he would make himself available in the upcoming NFL draft. Overshadowed by the starpower of Luck and Blackmon was Cardinal running back Stephan Taylor who was a workhorse for his 177 rushing yards on 35 carries. And the Cowboys’ 28-year old quarterback Brandon Weeden didn’t do too badly either, throwing for 399 yards and three touchdowns.
In today’s college game, the bowl season is a very long, very drawn out affair, filled with mostly mediocre teams. There are many close games that are played poorly, and there is also a signifcant share of simply bad games that are virtually unwatchable. That all just made this evening’s bowl season fare that much more enjoyable. And come to think of it, after getting dizzy watching all these points being scored of late, maybe I will be able to relax into a good old fashioned line-of-scrimmage slugfest that is bound to appear next week from LSU-Alabama II. I’m ready for anything.