Baylor vs. Washington: 5 Things We Learned from the Alamo Bowl

Jim Sullivan@jsully711Featured ColumnistDecember 30, 2011

Baylor vs. Washington: 5 Things We Learned from the Alamo Bowl

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    The final whistle has been blown. The Alamo Bowl has come to a close, finishing out a fantastic season for both universities. A superb victory by a strong Baylor squad over their Washington opposition is the end result, the final tally coming up as 67-56.

    Next season now looms on the horizon for both of these highly improved teams.

    What can the coaches use from this bowl game to help them better understand what to fix over the long break? Where will the focus be for the coaches? What can be learned?  

    We'll take a look for ourselves. The Alamo Bowl may be over, but the effects it will have will on next year are yet to be known, so let us dig in.

Both Defenses Need Improvement

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    This game broke bowl records. Putting up a combined 1,397 yards between the two offenses, it really shows that both of these two defensive squads need to step it up next year.

    The Pac-12 and Big 12 alike love offense. Defense has never been that important, as both have adopted and used the West Coast offense very efficiently. Allowing a total of 123 points between the two of them, it may just be beyond acceptable, even by the standards of these two conferences.

    The defenses of both really need some big improvements, and with just a little, these two teams are championship-caliber.

Robert Griffin III Deserved the Heisman

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    How many a bowl game have we seen the Heisman Trophy winner fall flat on his face right after being rewarded for an amazing season? Way too many. 

    RG3, however, just proved to everyone that he has the composure and ability to deserve such a prestigious award. Despite his team's performance, as compared to the other Heisman candidates, Griffin showed that without him, Baylor would be nothing more than a lowly Big 12 squad.

    His huge bowl win over the Huskies in one of the highest-scoring bowls ever just concludes this player's fantastic 2011 year in a fashion deserving of the Heisman winner.

Chris Polk Should Return for Next Year

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    Washington's RB didn't have a career game like everyone expected. The Baylor defense held down the superstar to just 147 yards and one TD on 30 carries. 

    He is easily one of the best players in the nation at his position, and no one likes to end their last season at a university with a tough loss.

    Additionally, Polk got to see his sophomore QB look like a Heisman candidate. He must be thinking their combined offensive production could equal a Pac-12 championship.

    He might chose to leave, but Polk should definitely stay for one more year.

Art Briles Deserves a Big Raise

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    This man just took a team that hadn't won a conference game and turned them into a 10-win squad. He landed recruits like Robert Griffin III who go out and win the Heisman and bring some huge exposure for a university that usually gets none.

    Briles won his first bowl game. His offense put up 67 points on national TV and won a game that could turn out to be the game of the postseason. He is the man Baylor wants to keep for a long, long time. 

    With so many open positions at storied universities coming agape, Art Briles could be on his way out the door if the university doesn't give him a raise. Baylor needs to oblige him to the fullest extent possible.

Keith Price Will Be Huge in the Pac-12 Next Season

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    This first-year starter for the Huskies put up giant numbers. He finished the Alamo Bowl 23-of-37 for 438 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. The offense, led by him, scored a huge 56 points.

    As a sophomore for a major university, this kid will be one heck of a danger for the next two seasons for Washington. His prowess and calm demeanor in the pocket set him apart from the rest of the Pac-12 quarterbacks.

    Watch for the Huskies to be competing for the Pac-12 North next season under the leadership of this young, talented QB.