Outside of the obvious answer of which team was better prepared or more talented, there are many things that can be learned from watching a college football bowl game.
Which teams might make some noise in 2012, who should have stayed home and which uniform combinations looked the best are just a few of the things you may have been able to pick up on if you watched every bowl game this post season.
This list runs down one observation from each game.
Final Score: Temple 37, Wyoming 15
What We Learned: Temple can play defense.
Bernard Pierce was the star for the Owls, as he has been all season.
However, the Owls defense stepped up in a big way, limiting Brett Smith and the Cowboys to only 267 yards and forcing three turnovers.
Temple fans knew the defense was good, but if the rest of you had not seen them in action this season, this game should confirm that for you.
Final Score: Ohio 24, Utah State 23
What We Learned: Tyler Tettleton is worth watching in 2012.
Tettleton plays quarterback for Ohio, and boy does he know what he is doing.
The kid was only a sophomore, and yet, when his team needed him to come up big, he led a 61-yard scoring drive capped by his one-yard dive into the end zone.
He scored all three touchdowns the Bobcats managed in the game and demonstrated poise and class while doing so.
Final Score: ULL 32, San Diego State 30
What We Learned: The Ragin' Cajuns can play some football!
For most of us, this was the only time this season we had a chance to see the Cajuns play, and even though San Diego State is not a perennial BCS contender it is no slouch.
It would seem the Cajuns had no shot.
Then ULL quarterback Blaine Gautier stepped on the field.
The man had 492 yards of offense and three scores by the end of the day.
Brett Baer nailed a 50-yard field goal as time expired to win it for ULL, and these guys got the win in their own backyard.
Final Score: Marshall 20, FIU 10
What We Learned: "Trickeration" is alive and kickin'.
Ok, so it wasn't quite a trick play, but it sure felt like we were all fooled by the final score of the game.
On fourth down and leading by three, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato dropped back to pass, apparently surprising everyone in the stadium.
There were only 30 seconds on the clock, and Cato completed a 35-yard touchdown scoring strike to Aaron Dobson, putting the game out of reach.
Final Score: TCU 31, La. Tech 24
What We Learned: Don't go to Casey Pachall's stylist.
TCU's quarterback had a great year, filling in admirably for the departed Andy Dalton, and leading the Frogs to an MWC title.
He did this by making accurate throws and excellent decisions.
It appears as if that ability to make good decisions disappeared just prior to the Poinsettia Bowl.
Check out the artwork on the side of Pachall's head...
Final Score: Boise State 56, Arizona State 24
What We Learned: Boise State's defense, not Kellen Moore, made this team successful.
We are going to miss Moore.
As the quarterback with the most career wins in NCAA history, he has provided us with plenty of exciting moments and startling upsets.
However, it was not due to Moore's play that the Broncos had another incredibly successful season.
This was never more evident than in the Broncos' pasting of Arizona State.
They allowed negative-11 rushing yards.
Any time you can make a team one-dimensional on offense, you are doing something right.
Final Score: USM 24, Nevada 17
What We Learned: Playing special teams is optional for this game.
Two of the more potent offenses in the country put up a total of 41 points on Christmas Eve.
Part of the reason for the offensive ineptitude was the fact the two teams played special teams as if they did not matter.
Nevada had a punt blocked and lost a fumble on a kickoff return.
Southern Miss lost a fumble on a punt return, and also had a fumble of its own on a kickoff return.
Final Score: Mizzou 41, UNC 24
What We Learned: Missouri will be fine in the SEC.
Missouri struggled along this season, never quite living up to expectations.
Then it laid the wood to North Carolina in this game, as everything seemed to click for the Tigers.
The defense stepped up, and James Franklin was the catalyst for offensive success.
While some would suggest that Missouri cannot compete in the SEC, if the Tigers play the way they did against UNC, they will be better than half of the conference next season.
Final Score: Purdue 37, Western Michigan 32
What We Learned: Jordan White > Chuck Norris.
White's one-handed grab against Purdue was the best of the bowl season and will be part of highlight reels for a long time to come.
Final Score: N.C. State 31, L'ville 24
What We Learned: Don't throw anywhere near David Amerson.
If teams had not figured this out by the time the Belk Bowl rolled around, they had to be either stupid or arrogant.
Amerson has been an incredible playmaker all season long, and his two interceptions in the bowl game tied him in the record books for second most in FBS history.
Final Score: Toledo 42, Air Force 41
What We Learned: Fourth down can be very productive.
Even though Air Force and quarterback Tim Jefferson lost, they accomplished some crazy stuff on fourth down.
The Falcons converted five of six attempts on fourth down and scored a remarkable three touchdowns as well.
Toledo eventually emerged victorious, 42-41, but Air Force's performance on fourth down deserves some notice.
Final Score: Texas 21, Cal 10
What We Learned: Turnovers = Loss.
While Cal undoubtedly has some talented players at the skill positions, and a solid coach in Jeff Tedford, it's well-nigh impossible to win games when you shoot yourself in the foot.
Cal turned the ball over five times to the Longhorns' zero.
Mack Brown was pleased with his team's performance, and a good time was had by all—those wearing burnt orange, that is.
Final Score: Florida State 18, Notre Dame 14
What We Learned: Well, it was more confirmed than learned, but the Irish make far too many mistakes to win any big games.
Five penalties and three interceptions led to their demise, in spite of holding a lead for most of the game.
The Irish coaches have got to focus on ball security; the team lost at least three games this season due to horrible turnovers.
Final Score: Baylor 67, Washington 56
What We Learned: Keith Price will be in the Heisman conversation in 2012.
Price is the quarterback for the Huskies.
In a game that featured a Heisman winner and Terrance Ganaway playing the best game of his career, Husky fans still have something exciting to look forward to in 2012.
Robert Griffin III did his thing, Ganaway scored five times and their team won the game, but Price was the star.
He tossed four touchdowns, completing 23 passes for 438 yards.
Final Score: BYU 24, Tulsa 21
What We Learned: If you get a second chance, you better take advantage of it.
Tulsa was leading 21-17 with about six minutes to go in the game and was forced to punt.
However, a running into the kicker penalty gave the Golden Hurricane new life.
They were unable to capitalize and went three-and-out.
BYU took over, Riley Nelson orchestrated a fantastic scoring drive and the Cougars pulled out the W.
Final Score: Rutgers 27, Iowa State 13
What We Learned: Punting is in vogue.
This game was the absolute antithesis of the Alamo Bowl on the preceding day.
There were only four third-down conversions out of 26 attempts in the entire game.
Another lesson to be learned is that a 5'7" corner (Jeremy Reeves) should not be covering 6'6" Brandon Coleman.
That matchup will almost always be won by Coleman.
Final Score: Mississippi State 23, Wake Forest 17
What We Learned: You can lose the turnover battle by four and win the game.
That's right—even though conventional wisdom would say a team that loses four turnovers and forces none would lose, the Bulldogs pulled it out.
Vick Ballard averaged 12.9 yards per carry and scored twice in the win.
Final Score: Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14
What We Learned: The "Skycam" is a hazard, and the Big Ten was doomed.
Oklahoma's defense absolutely dominated this game, flustering the Hawkeyes and forcing mistakes and bad decisions all day long.
Late in the game, Iowa's star receiver, Marvin McNutt, barely missed getting hammered by ESPN's Skycam when it fell onto the field, and the game had to be stopped for a few minutes to clear the wiring.
As for the start to the Big Ten's bowl games, it was pretty much par for the course.
After an absolutely disastrous year last season, the Hawkeyes got it started on the wrong foot yet again for the conference.
Final Score: Texas A&M 30, Northwestern 22
What We Learned: The Aggies can hold onto a lead.
Texas A&M blew all kinds of opportunities this season, losing multiple games in which it held a lead in the second half.
Against a miserable Big Ten team, it was finally able to get it done.
Watch out, SEC, A&M figured it out.
Final Score: Utah 30, Georgia Tech 27 (OT)
What We Learned: It's all about John White.
Utah went 8-0 this season, including this win, when running back John White IV rushed for more than 100 yards.
He reached 115 in this one and scored the game-winning touchdown in OT.
Now the Utes can try and forget that they lost to Colorado.
Final Score: Cincinnati 31, Vanderbilt 24
What We Learned: The SEC can lose a bowl game.
The SEC's dominance in the world of college football has been well documented.
However, Zach Collaros and the Bearcats outplayed Vandy and gave the SEC its first loss of the bowl season.
Collaros was shaky and looked rusty in his first game back from injury but was just good enough to muster the win.
Final Score: Illinois 20, UCLA 14
What We Learned: The Illini got the monkey off their back when they tossed the Zooker.
Ron Zook was fired at the end of a six-game losing streak for Illinois to end the season.
It's not a coincidence Nathan Scheelhaase and Co. pulled out their first win in two months in their first game without him.
Final Score: Auburn 43, Virginia 24
What We Learned: Virginia is not quite there.
Mike London has done his thing, getting the Cavaliers back on the right track and into the postseason.
That said, their game against the Tigers confirmed that they are not quite ready to assert themselves atop the ACC.
Auburn handled them with relative ease, asserting SEC superiority yet again.
Final Score: Houston 30, Penn State 14
What We Learned: Case Keenum can handle a good defense.
Penn State's defense was one of the best in the Big Ten all season, in spite of some key injuries.
But Houston quarterback Case Keenum made the Nittany Lions look like a junior high squad in the TicketCity Bowl, throwing for 532 yards and three touchdowns.
Keenum may have struggled against USM, but it looks like it was just an "off day."
Final Score: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30 (3OT)
What We Learned: Don't listen to Lee Corso
Corso has been enjoyable all season long on ESPN's GameDay set, from his famous mascot picks to his apology for letting an obscenity slip on air.
However, he was way off on this one.
Corso predicted Georgia would win the game, and Blair Walsh, its plackicker, or another member of special teams would be the difference.
He got it right, but not in the way he predicted.
Walsh missed the field goal in the first overtime that would have won the game and had another blocked in the third overtime for the loss.
Final Score: South Carolina 31, Nebraska 13
What We Learned: Alfonzo Dennard ain't scared.
The Gamecocks destroyed Nebraska, and the game was not that entertaining, especially for Husker fans.
However, Dennard displayed some spirit in this altercation when he kept egging on the much-larger Alshon Jeffery.
Dennard is obviously not scared—maybe stupid, but not scared.
Final Score: Florida 24, Ohio State 17
What We Learned: Urban Meyer has his work cut out for him.
Under Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes won with hard-hitting defense, careful offense and disciplined tackling on special teams.
None of those facets was in evidence for OSU in this loss, and Meyer will have his hands full getting this team back to the top of the B1G.
Final Score: Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38
What We Learned: The ball cannot be spiked with two seconds on the clock.
We learned that Ducks are faster than Badgers, and these two teams are extremely efficient offensively.
However, at the end of the game, Russell Wilson moved his Badgers to the Oregon 25-yard line with a shot at tying the game.
However, he tried to spike the ball instead of running a play, but time had run out, and Oregon had its first Rose Bowl win in 95 years, and head coach Chip Kelly's first BCS bowl win.
Final Score: Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 38
What We Learned: Andrew Luck is ready for the NFL.
If you did not believe this fact already, Luck's play against Oklahoma State confirmed it.
In spite of the loss, Luck was the best player on the field, making NFL-like throws and reading coverages with apparent ease.
There is no doubt the guy is the best quarterback in the draft—my apologies to Robert Griffin III backers.
Final Score: Michigan 23, Va. Tech 20
What We Learned: Brady Hoke is the right guy for Michigan.
Look, it may have been ugly.
It may have been between two undeserving teams, but the Wolverines won a BCS game.
Brady Hoke instantly helped to make the Wolverines better in his first season, establishing that they can play defense when absolutely necessary, and U of M is on the way back.
This team may be a title contender in 2012.
Final Score: West Virginia 70, Clemson 33
What We Learned: West Virginia is ready for the Big 12.
The Mountaineers were supposed to be the weakest team in a BCS game.
Clemson had just come off handing Virginia Tech a whupping and had some serious momentum heading into this one.
Geno Smith and Tavon Austin put a stop to that, as both of them were catalysts in WVU's 70-point outburst.
I think Dana Holgorsen's squad is ready for its new conference.
Final Score: Arkansas 29, Kansas State 16
What We Learned: Arkansas' defense was underrated.
Yeah, we focused a ton on Tyler Wilson and his stable of bruising running backs and athletic wide receivers.
However, we forgot to pay much attention to the defensive side of the ball.
K-State's offensive success is predicated on the ability to move the ball on the ground. Arkansas held it to just over two yards per carry in the game.
Not good enough for the 'Cats to sneak out a win.
Final Score: SMU 28, Pitt 6
What We Learned: The Panthers need Paul Chryst.
June Jones led the Mustangs to the win, his 100th as a coach, and Pitt could do nothing of note on offense.
Chryst takes over the program, coming from an offense he coached to two consecutive seasons in the top five in the nation in total points scored.
That is a much-needed shot in the arm for a Pitt offense that could only muster 10 yards rushing and six points for the game.
Final Score: Northern Illinois 38, Arkansas State 20
What We Learned: Chandler Harnish has professional potential.
He's no Andrew Luck, but in spite of being hobbled by a sore ankle, NIU quarterback Harnish completed 17 of his 31 attempts for 275 yards and two scores in the Huskies' bowl win.
Harnish had to deal with the loss of the team's leading running back a new coach and an almost entirely new offensive line, and still managed to put up some very solid numbers in 2011.
What We Will Learn: Absolutely nothing.
This game has obviously not taken place.
However, this game already took place.
If the Tigers win again, they remain the No. 1 team in the nation.
If Alabama wins the game, they split for the season and we have no resolution.
In my opinion, which has been known to be a bit skewed at times, even though these are the two best teams in the country, there is nothing to be gained from this rematch, except the last few hours of meaningful football before several long months of nothing.