2012 New Year's Bowl Games: 5 Things We Learned from Monday

Eric MatulaContributor IIJanuary 3, 2012

2012 New Year's Bowl Games: 5 Things We Learned from Monday

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    It felt weird seeing no college football bowl games on New Year's Day. Since Jan. 1 fell on a Sunday, the college football world had to take a backseat to the NFL.

    But, it was worth the wait. Monday's games were exciting.

    In the six games played on Jan. 2, four of them were decided by seven points or fewer. We saw two overtime thrillers, the highest scoring Rose Bowl game in history, and Florida save itself from a losing season.

    Here are five things we learned from the New Year's bowl games.

No. 1: Andrew Luck Should Be the First Overall Pick

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    I know Robert Griffin III is getting a lot of hype right now, and deservedly so. RG3 won the Heisman, and helped a less-than-stellar Baylor team to a good season. Even ESPN's Mark May and Lou Holtz are jumping on the bandwagon. They agreed that Griffin should be the No. 1 overall pick for the upcoming 2012 NFL draft.

    Here's why they're wrong.

    1) Stanford didn't have the WR weapons that Baylor had. The third-fastest receiver on Baylor would be the fastest on Stanford. Imagine Luck with NFL WRs? Yeah, that's scary.

    2) Luck is used to running a pro style offense at Stanford. I know Cam Newton dominated this year, but he's the exception. Luck is ready to be a difference maker. Think Matt Ryan.

    3) In the four biggest games of the year for Luck (vs. USC, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Ok. St) Luck was spectacular. He averaged 291.5 yards passing, 3 TDs, and just 9.75 incomplete passes per game. 

No. 2: Justin Blackmon Is a Stud

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    What could be more impressive than Andrew Luck throwing only four incomplete passes and going 15-for-15 on touchdown drives during the Fiesta Bowl?

    Justin Blackmon.

    After being visibly upset with the Cowboys' 27 yards of offense in the first quarter, Blackmon went off. The junior hauled in eight receptions for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

    With the monster performance, Blackmon could have made a case for the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL draft.

    But, imagine if Blackmon could fall to the Panthers? How fun would it be watching Cam Newton, Steve Smith and Justin Blackmon?

No. 3: Never Trust the Big 10

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    Excuse me if I sound like a broken record, but never trust the Big 10 -- ever.

    The Big 10 was represented in five of the six games on Monday, and they went 1-4.

    Penn State lost 30-14 to Houston, Nebraska was routed 30-13 by South Carolina, Ohio State was defeated 24-17 by Florida, and Wisconsin was edged 45-38 by Oregon.

    The only winner on the day was Michigan State, who needed three overtimes to beat Georgia 33-30.

    In every pool that I'm in, I live by one rule: the bigger the game, the more I stay away from picking a Big 10 team to win.

    The only Big 10 team with a winning record in BCS bowls is Ohio State at 6-3. Wisconsin is 2-2, Penn St. is 1-1, Iowa is 1-1, Michigan is 1-3, Purdue is 0-1, and Illinois is 0-2.

    Words of wisdom: Stay away from the Big 10.

No. 4: Where's the Defense?

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    I guess chicks really do dig the long ball.

    Well, in this case, high-scoring offenses.

    Maybe the most important thing learned from Monday is that the only two teams that can play defense are LSU and Alabama.

    In the six games played on Monday, at least one team scored 30 points in five of the games. The average total points scored for each game was 58.83.

    If you wanted to see a smash mouth, defensive struggle, well I hope you didn't turn on the TV.

    That's just the trend for the bowl season this year though. In the 58 teams that have competed in bowl games thus far, 26 of them have scored more than 30 points.

No. 5: De'Anthony Thomas and Those Oregon Unis Looked Awesome

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    First off, how great did those shiny helmets look?

    There are only a few teams that can pull the look off, and the Oregon Ducks certainly have the swagger to do it.

    Additionally, freshman De'Anthony Thomas was shining just as bright as those helmets.

    If there was an early showing for 2012 Heisman favorite, it was Thomas' performance in the Rose Bowl.

    Thomas had two carries for 155 yards and two touchdowns. That's an average of 77.5 yards per carry. He also had four receptions for 34 yards. The super freshman finished with 314 all purpose yards in the 45-38 Rose Bowl victory. Overall, Thomas just looked scary fast.

    With LaMichael James most likely declaring for the NFL, it will be Thomas' team next year.