Show of hands.
Who out there actually thought Illinois had a shot to beat USC?? Anyone? Bueller……Bueller?
Despite the preconceived notion that mobile quarterbacks were a threat to the Trojans, Illinois never had a chance…..because their quarterback never had a chance.
And now starts the debate among the pundits about the national standing of the Big Ten. Again, a conference rep failed to win the Rose Bowl, and Michigan had to drastically change their gameplan (Kudos, by the way for doing so) to beat Florida.
Purdue struggled with a team they banged up earlier in the season, Indiana was out muscled and OUTMANNED! by Oklahoma State, Michigan State blew its chances, and Penn State needed to rally from 14 down to beat A&M.
Really the two best performances were the Nittany Lions and Michigan. And why did they win those games? Because they (in Michigan’s case) threw in an entirely new scheme, or in PSU’s case, adjusted to what the defense was giving them (Daryll Clark) and took chances (Morelli’s fourth down TD pass to Butler). Penn State and Michigan played like they wanted to really win both games. I can’t say the same for Illinois, Indiana or even Purdue despite their win.
Save for those two, the conference really hasn’t shown its spine yet.
And they have one chance to do it yet, and that comes against LSU in the national title game. The Big Ten really needs Ohio State next week to save some face nationally.
NYD BOWL WINNERS AND LOSERS
Winner: Tony Temple, for stealing the spotlight from Darren McFadden.
Loser: Duh. Did McFadden even care he was playing?
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Winner: The trio of Hart, Henne and Long, for finally winning a big game.
Loser: Urban Myer. Wonder if the polish from his title win and that smirk are finally wiped away. Seriously, is there a more overrated coach in football? Nice running game, by the way.
Winner: Seriously, Tyler Donovan who showed some serious guts in the loss.
Loser: Tennessee, because they can’t get rid of Phil Fullmer now…..
Winner: USC, because they may have just earned a split national title with that win.
Loser: The Big Ten, a no-brainer. Wonder when the next time a Big Ten team will win the Rose Bowl is?
Winner: June Jones, yes June Jones. If you heard the story about his recruiting budget, and the office he works out of, you’d have a whole new appreciation for him.
Loser: Mark Richt. His kids played with less class as the game wore on and what’s with throwing up 34-3 in the fourth quarter? It’s called respect, look it up.
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl takes place tonight, it was the scene of the crime last season for Oklahoma in their incredible overtime loss to Boise State. Bob Stoops has a reputation for getting to the big game, but not winning it.
West Virginia, on the other hand could be flat, and more inclined to show Rich Rodriguez up than win the game itself. Interesting….
The Case for WVU: They still have Pat White, Steve Slaton, Noel Devine, etc etc. So that means they can match speed for speed with Oklahoma. White can throw the ball, he will have to, and this is Noel Devine’s coming out party (see: Harvin, Percy, Florida, 2007 BCS title game.)
The Case for Boomer Sooner: They are hungry and playing as well as anyone in the country right now. Last year’s Fiesta Bowl left a seriously bad taste in their mouth. Plus they have speed everywhere. If Bradford is healthy, has time, look out. Plus their rushing attack, when up to speed, is as lethal as any.
The Pick: Rodriguez’s departure is a distraction, no matter what anyone says. Plus it means the Mountaineers have to get up and play for a coach they won’t be playing under in 2008….makes it for a rough night.
Oklahoma did a great job in the Big 12 title game of getting to the receivers, not allowing the big play and limited the threats Missouri had offensively. Tonight’s attack is a little different, but with speed everywhere for the Sooners, it’s the same result.
Oklahoma 31, West Virginia 20