Virtual Simulation Stimulation: College Football's Bowl Season
The bowl season is upon us, and the College Football Gods have presented us with 35 more games before we all become insufferably cantankerous in a gloomy world without football.
Before we make our way into the darkness, however, we’re going to go out in style. Our captain on this final voyage is none other than NCAA 13, and after the season it had on the simulation front, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Throughout this year’s CFB campaign, we simulated the top games of each week using the greatest video game ever created. In fact, “video game” doesn’t do this all-knowing predictor the justice it deserves.
NCAA 13 went 51-22 during the regular season and championship weekend, and it heads into the bowl season confident and slightly intoxicated from all the free drinks it was bought at the bar. It’s certainly ready for one last bit of greatness, though.
If you’re wondering how long it takes to simulate an entire bowl season on your PS3—where each matchup has to be created and simulated individually—the answer is around five hours and nearly a half-case of beer. But it was worth it, of course, and I wouldn’t change a thing. We highlight the BCS bowls, but all 35 bowl games are included.
‘Tis the season, and we’re celebrating accordingly.
Orange Bowl: Florida State 28, Northern Illinois 7
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Despite the fact that Northern Illinois outgains Florida State by 14 yards, the Seminoles cruise like many believed they would.
FSU quarterback EJ Manuel throws for only 138 yards and is picked off, but he does find the end zone twice. The running backs are solid, however, and combine to rush for 177 yards on 32 carries.
On the other side, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch throws for 255 yards and rushes for 55 more. He scores the team’s only touchdown, and the MAC’s BCS voyage isn’t exactly a pleasant one.
"This is the greatest day of my life," ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit says following the game. He then throws eggs at the Northern Illinois team bus as it leaves the stadium and follows it, yelling obscenities into a megaphone.
Sugar Bowl: Florida 34, Louisville 31
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Although Louisville jumps out to a 14-0 lead, the Gators battle back and win this one with a late touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Florida QB Jeff Driskel throws for 331 yards and four touchdowns—yes, this actually happened in this game—and he also runs for 35 yards and a score. NCAA 13 is apparently feeling its oats here.
Louisville’s star player, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, throws for 291 yards and three touchdowns. The Cardinals’ running game, however, is not nearly as successful, running for 65 yards on 36 carries.
If you are wondering who wins the Will Muschamp-Charlie Strong post-bowl wrestling match, the answer, of course, is all of us and certainly not the hundreds of onlookers injured during this seven-hour event.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin 34, Stanford 28 (3OT)
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What a game, and the touchdowns come in bunches in overtime.
Montee Ball does most of the damage for Wisconsin, rushing for 168 yards and three touchdowns. In total, Wisconsin racks up 397 yards overall against a very solid Stanford defense.
As for the Stanford offense, it is led—as it usually is—by running back Stepfan Taylor. Taylor runs for 90 yards on 22 carries and also catches four passes for 68 yards. He finds the end zone twice overall.
I've been saying all season that the Big Ten isn't as bad as many believe, and with that I'd like to congratulate it on being totally awesome. Forget about all the blood, tears and screaming from the regular season.
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon 28, Kansas State 24
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The Fiesta Bowl goes in Oregon’s favor, although the game is much closer than many anticipate.
The Ducks finish with 399 yards of total offense, and the team’s duo of talented backs are a big part of it. Kenjon Barner finishes with 144 yards of offense, while De’Anthony Thomas runs for 122 yards on 11 carries.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein throws for 237 yards and an interception, and he also runs for 65 yards and all three of his team’s scores. While the Wildcats' effort is solid, it just isn’t enough.
Chip Kelly's presser following the game includes his own hat selection ceremony for where he'll coach next season. Present hats include: an Oregon hat (which blinds three people), a Philadelphia Eagles hat and an Anyone-but-the-Browns hat.
BCS National Championship: Alabama 31, Notre Dame 21
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Alabama racks up 453 yards of total offense, and Notre Dame simply doesn’t have the firepower to answer.
Quarterback AJ McCarron is the star of the show, throwing for 303 yards and three scores. On the ground, Eddie Lacy goes for 125 yards on 23 carries and also finds the end zone.
For Notre Dame, quarterback Everett Golson is solid, although he does turn the ball over twice. His 271 yards passing and three touchdowns, however, keep Notre Dame in this one well into the fourth quarter. In the end, Alabama is just too much.
Congratulations must go out to Alabama for winning its 989th national championship and its 13th in 2013 alone. That's two national championships a day for those keeping score at home, and wait, yes, it just got another one. Very impressive indeed.
Other Bowl Games
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New Mexico Bowl: Arizona 42, Nevada 21
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State 34, Toledo 24
Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego State 28, BYU 25
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl: Central Florida 24, Ball State 20—Beef 'O' Brady commercials are just the best.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: East Carolina 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 31
Maaco Bowl Las Vegas: Boise State 45, Washington 28
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State 44, SMU 28
Little Caesars Bowl: Western Kentucky 21, Central Michigan 17—And now it's Bobby Petrino's turn. I can't believe I wrote that and it's not an attempt at a failed joke.
Military Bowl: San Jose State 38, Bowling Green 10
Belk Bowl: Cincinnati 24, Duke 17
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: UCLA 41, Baylor 25
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Louisiana-Monroe 38, Ohio 30
Russell Athletic Bowl: Virginia Tech 28, Rutgers 24
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech 48, Minnesota 10—Lookin' good, Big Ten!
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force 27, Rice 20
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Arizona State 41, Navy 27
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia 37, Syracuse 14—This is the part where West Virginia fans set New York City on fire.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan State 37, TCU 19
Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas 28, Oregon State 21
Music City Bowl: NC State 24, Vanderbilt 21
Hyundai Sun Bowl: USC 38, Georgia Tech 14
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Iowa State 31, Tulsa 21
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson 42, LSU 7—This Les Miles presser is going to be EPIC.
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Oklahoma State 48, Purdue 21
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl: Mississippi State 27, Northwestern 14
Outback Bowl: South Carolina 35, Michigan 21
Capital One Bowl: Georgia 28, Nebraska 18
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M 34, Oklahoma 32—Texas A&M's last month > Your month
BBVA Compass Bowl: Ole Miss 24, Pitt 18
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Arkansas State 38, Kent State 35