Just when we thought we had learned everything there was to know about the best college football teams in the country, the 2011 bowl season happened.
There were huge blowouts, bizarre upsets and everything from a shutout to the most points scored in regulation in a bowl game.
Let’s take a look back at the final BCS standings and grade some of the teams as either over or underrated.
There was arguably no worse bowl performance than Clemson’s. The Tigers gave up the most points ever allowed in a bowl game, including 35 in a matter of eight-and-a-half minutes.
I didn’t even think that was possible, but the team has officially brought back the term “Clemsoning.” Clearly there was something about Virginia Tech specifically, because losing to Georgia Tech, N.C. State and South Carolina in embarrassing form is without a doubt this team’s M.O.
When Houston had faced tough defenses in the past, the team had collapsed under the pressure. That was not the case this year when the Cougars faced the fifth-best defense in the country in Penn State.
Case Keenum and Patrick Edwards absolutely decimated the Nittany Lions’ secondary for 17 first-quarter points. With only one loss on the season, this team is certainly better than 19th in the country.
Many people thought that the Wildcats deserved to play in the Sugar Bowl over Michigan and/or Virginia Tech, but they certainly didn’t help their cause by getting handled by Arkansas. They held the ball for just under 34 minutes but only totaled 260 yards of offense and had two turnovers.
The Razorbacks nearly doubled the rushing average of Kansas State and converted 8-of-17 third downs. Bill Snyder and company got to the Cotton Bowl by winning the close games but against a better defense, potent offense and explosive special teams, they looked average at best. The team is still at least a year away from being a top 10 team.
The 2011 Broncos weren’t as complete of a team as they were in 2010, but they certainly would have been a great matchup for any of the teams ranked above them, including LSU and Alabama. Kellen Moore gets all the credit, but guys like Doug Martin, Shea McClellin and Billy Winn are the real nucleus of this surprisingly physical team.
Unfortunately, we don't know just how good this team truly is, but odds are they are better than seventh.
At the end of a season, wins and losses are the only things that matter, but in terms of ranking teams in the Top 25, how a team wins has to factor in considerably. In that regard, Michigan failed miserably in the Sugar Bowl.
Virginia Tech held Denard Robinson and company to a season low of yards and boneheaded special teams mistakes—including a roughing the kicker, fumbling a kickoff and batting a fake field goal into a waiting Wolverine—made Michigan look bad. If the Hokies had ended up winning this game, the storyline would be about how they absolutely dominated on offense and defense.
A win is a win is a win, but with respect to the Top 25, let’s keep things in perspective when discussing the 2011 Michigan team.