When BYU officials threatened to sue the officials of the BCS, they must have forgotten that they had one game left on the schedule. Upset that they were going to be left out of a BCS bowl game, BYU jumped the gun and began to complain. The news obviously made the bulletin board at Hawaii, though, because the Rainbow Warriors came out and torched BYU, scoring 70 points on the pathetic Cougar defense. How could the people at BYU doing something so stupid you might ask. Hawaii had already proved that they were a decent team by knocking off Fresno State earlier in the year. And with RB Luke Staley out with a broken leg, the victory wasnít guaranteed. Besides, they barely escaped with a last-second three-point win over a Mississippi State team that finished 2001 with a 3-8 record. And if you go back farther than that, the Cougars used all of four quarters to knock off a Wyoming team. Not exactly the stuff BCS teams are made of huh? I donít think so either. If BYU wants to play the big boys in the postseason, they need to show that they can finish the regular season first. But when you make goof like that, you often get what you have coming. And BYU got theirs.
The Thundering Herd, that is. Marshall came from down 24-0 and 38-8 to knock off QB David Garrard and East Carolina. It took two overtimes and 125 points for the two teams combined but the marathon was finally over nearly four and a half hours after it began. This was the second year in a row that Mobile has played host to a great college football game. In 2000, QB Jeff Kelly of Southern Mississippi led the Golden Eagles to a game-winning TD with less than a minute left to knock off TCU. The biggest story of this yearís GMAC Bowl had to be the play of Marshall junior QB Byron Leftwich. He showed toughness, courage, and determination in leading his team to a miraculous victory. Even after he was bothered by low back pain after being hit in the second half, he repeatedly got up from hit after hit. The pain didnít slow him from taking on tacklers down field either. More often than not, Leftwich was dishing out more punishment than he was receiving. And just when Marshall thought they had the game won, the game-winning extra point was missed wide to the right. The teams matched TDís in the first overtime. Then the Marshall defense stood up and held ECU to a field goal. On third and goal, Leftwich threw a 7-yard TD pass to win the game. If Leftwich stays around for his senior year at Marshall, the Herd will no doubt be a top 25 team and likely win the MAC Championship. The guy is that good, in my opinion.
Texas senior QB Major Applewhite played like a big league quarterback in UTís win over Washington in the Holiday Bowl. He completed many of his 55 passes for over 450 yards. Some people liked head coach Mac Brownís decision to start the fan-favorite Applewhite while others did not. And for three quarters, it was easy to second-guess Brown. But in the end, when his team was down 36-17 and needed him most, he came through. You canít help but feel great for the guy after what the people at Texas have put him through. Who is actually the better QB, Chris Simms or the Major? Theyíve both had their moments. But in the end, Major got his final shining moment and Simms still had time to make noise. The fans got their QB and the Texas nation got their W.
Hereís a quick look back at the bowl games weíve seen so far and my opinions on
--NEW ORLEANS: Colorado State won, North Texas lost. Who cares?
--GMAC: We discussed this one earlier. Byron Leftwich is a remarkable QB, and he surely won respect from many who watched his brilliant performance against East Carolina.
--TANGERINE: Pitt and WR Antonio Bryant came out with something to prove while NC State seemed to be lost much of the game. Even normally calm Pitt head coach Walt Harris looked a little excited.
--LAS VEGAS: Utah dominated this game, and both defenses played well. It probably took the Utes longer to put the game away than they hoped but they got a good win over a big-name team heading into the offseason.
--SEATTLE: The Cardinal could not find their offensive game while GT QB George Godsey played a great game. Georgia Tech, unexpectedly, seemed to be the more focused team in Seattle.
--INDEPENDENCE: Iowa State had as many chances to put away the Tide as you could hope for, but in the end, senior QB Andrew Zow walks away the winner.
--GALLERYFURNITURE.COM: Are there any worse offenses in the country? TCU could do nothing right, and A&M was just a tad better than that. Give an ugly, ugly, ugly W to A&M.
--MUSIC CITY: Turnovers were the story for the Georgia Bulldogs. Twice they turned the ball over inside BCís 20 yard line, and that was eventually the difference in the game.
--HOLIDAY: Year in and year out, this is the best non-BCS bowl. San Diego always gives us a good, close game. The comeback kings of college football couldnít quite put this one away. They actually gave it to Texas in the fourth quarter. And by the way, watch out for Washington TE Jerramy Stevens to be a star on Sundays very soon.
--MOTOR CITY: Cincinnati played better than I expected, while Toledo did not play extremely well. The Rockets, led by RB Chester Taylor, came from behind to beat an in-state rival in a bowl game, winning their 7th bowl game in school history.
--ALAMO: This was a close game, just as I expected. Neither offense was able to get much going, which is a credit to the defenses. Iowa was able to get a late FG and then hold off the Red Raiders in the final minute.