(Better late than pregnant, as they say...my first posting and it's two or three weeks after the fact. Oh well...)
Here is my list of the Top Bowl Game Surprises, ranked in order of surprise
1. Utah Utes-Alabama Crimson Tide
The obvious top-ranked surprise was the Utah Utes' beatdown, a$$ kicking, and annihilation of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Wow. I know I was shocked.
Judging by the fan’s faces and the faces of the Bama players, they were also surprised.
If the number of GDs I counted coming out of Nick Satan’s mouth is any indication, he was mighty surprised as well.
Alabama’s first half against Utah was strikingly similar to the Georgia Bulldog’s first half against the Tide.
Turnovers, dumb coaching calls, getting flat out beat on the line of scrimmage, looking like they just woke from a winter nap and John Parker Wilson having about one nanosecond to throw the ball before having his skull cracked against the turf looked just like Bama vs. UGA in Athens.
Minus the black jerseys.
Say what you will about injuries being a part of the game and that every team has them and every team just makes adjustments—but Andre Smith’s suspension from the team before the game wreaked havoc on the Alabama offensive line. Every player on the O-line had a brand new position to play.
Hmmm, that sounds familiar. Every player had to adjust to playing somewhere new after playing in that spot for the last 12 games.
So, you’re telling me that Bama has no depth? No, I’m not saying that, I’m saying that having a key offensive tackle go down or go out is a huge game-changer.
Just ask UGA how badly the injuries on their O-line hurt them.
Oh, that’s right, no excuses. No sweat, no excuses, but it’s an explanation. Your QB gets punched in the face the first few plays, he’s going to be a changed man (boy, in John Parker Wilson’s case—he just looks like a 16-year-old to me).
Defense wins ball games. Offense just makes the highlight reel on ESPN.
2. Ole Miss Bit$%-slapping Texas Tech.
Yee-haw, that was fun.
Texas Tech looked like they had no idea what hit them. Here’s a hint—it’s called defense. Those are the people that line up on the other side of the ball.
Again, the Ole Miss defense won that game for them. The third-best team in the highly-touted Big 12 got creamed by the 25th-ranked Rebels.
Graham Harrell got beat around pretty good—granted he still had 360 yards passing.
But get this, he attempted 58 passes. Holy cat balls that’s a lot. (Have you ever seen a cat’s balls? They’re hilarious. If the cat is white they look just like cotton balls. Kinda cute for little gonads).
Anyway, the game wasn’t even close and I expected the game to be not very close in the other direction.
Houston Nutt has done an amazing job at Ole Miss getting that program from the cellar of the SEC into the top four, possibly in the top three.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they leap frog UGA in the rankings. Honestly, I think they deserve it.
3. Texas vs. Ohio State
Everyone, and I do mean everyone, expected that game to be another embarrassing Ohio State BCS flop.
Well, it wasn’t.
Granted, Ohio State lost with 16 seconds on the clock but they controlled most of that game. They beat Texas on both sides of the ball and had the game in the bag, until THE Ohio State safety made a bad decision and got beat as time was about to expire.
The score at the half was 6-3 Ohio State.
Holding Colt McCoy to three points is amazing.
Mack Brown made some good adjustments at half time and was able to change the game from there.
Jim Tressel hasn’t made an adjustment to his team’s strategy or his sweater vest in 10 years, and they got beat.
I’ll say this. That Terrell Pryor kid will be striking the Heisman pose in a few years.
He’s good. Very good.
It was clear that the Big 12 was very confused by a running game. All those Big 12 “prolific passers” have made the Big 12 run defense soft.
Or all of the above.
4. Vandy beat Boston College
This was before the BC coach got fired for interviewing for the NY Jets job. If you’d have told me that Vandy would win that game, I would have had you committed to an asylum.
Vandy started the year strong then lost six of their last seven games.
BC, on the other hand, was in the ACC championship game.
Granted, they lost to Va Tech but they were the second or third best team in the ACC.
They lost to Vanderbilt.
Vandy’s first bowl game win in 26 years. Loved it. Loved it a lot. Almost as much as beer.
5. LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Speaking of SEC vs. ACC smackdowns, lest we forget our hometown heroes embarrassment at the hands of the LSU tigers.
That had to rank in my top five best NYE of all time (ok, not really but you get the point).
If LSU had just won the game it would have been good but to expose the Georgia Tech insects for the chumps that they are was just tops for me.
Don’t forget the new genius of all things football, Coach Paul Johnson.
Great call there, pal. Down 21-3 in the second quarter, 4th-and-7 on your own 20 and you call a fake punt.
The final score was 38-3 and it really wasn’t even THAT close. I always thought LSU had a very good chance to win the game—they had a very good run defense.
I also said that their new QB, Jefferson, was going to be very good and that I hoped he got the start. He did and he really stepped up.
Everything seemed to go the Tigers way and nothing went in Tech’s favor. I’ve been on that end of a ball game before, pretty much all season, in general.
It’s not fun.
I’ll say this though, the Tech fans* in the office haven’t stopped by to “chat” about football and that’s been rather nice.
6. USC vs. Penn State
I wasn’t surprised that USC won the game.
I guess I was more surprised at how easy they made it look.
Then I was even more surprised by all the talk from the media that they should be the national champions.
I’m sorry, but no. Please don’t even go there.
*- I use the term "fan" lightly - they're only around when their program is winning. Also commonly referred to as fairweather fans, bandwagon fans, etc.