On a scale of 1 to 10, the bowl season was just about a three. The two biggest reasons for me was because the supposed National Championship game was a massacre and the Co-Champions of the Big XII exposed just how weak the conference was in 2012.
Only Oregon, out of any other conference besides the Southeastern Conference, could have given Alabama a game. The real national championship game was probably played in Baton Rouge on November 3rd. Even though the Aggies looked very good in a thorough whipping of the Oklahoma Sooners and even though they beat the Crimson Tide a week after Alabama had come back with a late victory over LSU, I still think that Nick Saban and his boys could have beaten anyone in the country in the big game.
Oregon made Kansas State look very slow and completely outmatched. I was hoping for better from the Wildcats but wasn’t really expecting a different outcome. I really admire Collin Klein but the Ducks proved why Johnny Manziel was the easy Heisman winner. I would have loved to see how Alabama would have played the up-tempo/fast paced offense of Oregon. Saban is quite a defensive mind so given the thirty or so days to prepare I think he would have managed quite fine. But the Ducks were the only real contenders outside the SEC.
Bob Stoopes said that Manziel was the best quarterback that he had ever coached against. I would think so given the 500 or so yards that he racked up in the Cotton Bowl blowout. And just think, the Sooners were co-champs of the Big XII. It has been a long time since I have seen the Sooners as completely dominated in all three phases of the game as they were by the Aggies. Even though Landry Jones had a lot of completions those three straight three and outs starting the second half proved to be a dagger to the OU hopes. Quite a disappointment for all the Big XII faithful!
As for Notre Dame, they looked like they didn’t belong and all the pundits on facebook and other social media outlets more than reinforced that same thought. I really believe though, that Alabama who seemed to be more on a crusade than a mission, would have handily beaten any challenger on that night. They were playing about 10 feet above their comfort zone plus they were doing it with a roster full of future NFL stars as well. So let’s be fair to the Irish, who if you remember had beaten all comers, and tell it like it is because even though they were obviously outmatched and outmanned didn’t just throw in the towel. Still it was a disappointing night for all of us who had waited with great anticipation.
I can’t go without saying that I was pleasantly surprised with the Longhorns win over Oregon State. I haven’t figured out that bunch yet. The reason their season was so disappointing for me is that when they have their motors running they can be impressive. The big question for me is why they can’t keep their motors running. Those kids have a lot of promise for 2013 and we’ll just have to wait and see if it ends up being broken promises.
I was proud of the Red Raiders and their team. With the coaching turnover taking place it was really up to the kids to win that game. And while much credit goes to Coach Thomsen and his preparation of a team that he basically had broken affiliation with, I still like the leadership that the older guys provided in the win over Minnesota. There were chances in that game for them to hand it over to the Golden Gophers but they would have none of that and prevailed in a thriller.
How about those Baylor Bears! Don’t tell anyone this but those boys may have been the best team in the Big XII by season’s end. They were definitely the hottest team in the end. If I were an athletic director at any school in the country with a blank check to hire the coach of my choice it would be hard for me to offer it to anyone other than Art Briles. But kudos to Coach Briles for staying committed in Waco. You don’t see a whole lot of that these days but what a great future he has on the Brazos. How proud were all of you “Good Ol’ Baylor Line” supporters for the finish that Nick Florence had. It was more than impressive as he just got better and better and the team followed suit. And that defense that was AWOL during the early part of the season was playing lights out at the end and especially as they were helping the potent offense of a complete dismantling of the supposedly much improved UCLA Bruins.
I felt badly for TCU but felt even worse when I left the game at halftime because I thought that the defensive brilliance of Gary Patterson would continue to stymie Michigan State’s offense. But just like Texas, those were some really young kids on that field. The Big XII had better take notice in a hurry next year especially if Casey Pachall comes back at quarterback ready and determined. It is just what the other Big XII schools don’t want to see: an offense as potent as that defense.
And what can I say about the very very disappointing West Virginia Mountaineers. What looked to be such a talented crew on offense just turned to mush by season’s end. And at no point in the year did they ever prove that they could play a lick of defense. Syracuse, like most everyone else, just punished their defense more and more as the game went on. It was just another disappointing loss for WV.
Another disappointing bunch was Florida. The most disappointing thing about them was how undisciplined they looked. It was evident that they have a talent level that is close to matching that of Alabama. But give credit to Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals as they were never intimidated by the Gators and their antics.
Sure, LSU lost in a last second comeback to Clemson but the Tigers got some big plays from their skill people to pull off the mild upset. And the other Tigers, LSU, played hard and didn’t just give up the ship. I’m sure that their minds may have been wandering what could have been in Miami, if they could have just held off the Tide back in November.
Come on BCS, Northern Illinois in a BCS game! I don’t care what all the scenarios were that had to happen for them to get there, it just wasn’t right if your system is to have any credibility. And the talk of their quarterback being a Heisman contender; give me a break! Florida State was very talented on defense but their offense was average at best, thus keeping the game from being a blowout.
I was impressed with the physical play of the Cardinal of Stanford. Those brainy type kids can sometimes be good but they aren’t normally considered “slobberknockers” but this group was. It was a very good game with the Badgers from Wisconsin who can get physical with anyone but in the end the talent and the ability to win in the trenches proved to be the difference for Stanford.
Oklahoma State really wore out the Boilermakers of Purdue and looked almost as potent as Baylor in their victory. This is another Big XII team that will be on everyone’s watch list come this fall.
I know there were many other bowl games to talk about such as the overtime win for Virginia Tech over Rutgers but I can’t get them all. And I won’t close without once again giving David Bailiff, his staff, and his Rice Owls credit for a very convincing victory over Air Force and the same goes for June Jones, his staff, and the SMU Mustangs for their thumping of Fresno State……………………….RC