NCAA Football

NCAA Football Recap: Florida, West Virginia, Iowa, Georgia and More

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So that we can cover all the remaining bowl games in one fell swoop, 500 Words or Less will be delayed by one day next week and will post on Tuesday January 11 after the BCS National Championship Game, which is set to take place Monday night. The past week was certainly an interesting one full of players stepping up, chaotic endings and even a Cinderella story or two...sort of.

Recapping in 500 words or less, this is what we learned about the season:

  • Florida International got things started last week with its first ever bowl victory in its first ever bowl appearance. A big congratulations for the last second win on a field goal as time expired.
  • West Virginia's miscues killed them in the Champs Sports Bowl and NC State became the first team to score more than 21 points against the Mountaineers. Will this strange coach-in-waiting dynamic work out in Morgantown? If you don't want Bill Stewart at the helm, move him to his new role in the athletic department now.
  • It was nice to see Ralph Friedgen win his final game as the Maryland coach. Whether or not he was the long-term solution at Maryland, Maryland handled it poorly.
  • Justin Blackmon is now the Oklahoma State single season leader for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
  • The referees made an awful, awful call when they got Kansas State's Adrian Hilburn for 'celebrating' in the Pinstripe Bowl. Nobody knows if the Wildcats would have converted the two-point conversation from the three-yard line, but Kansas State deserved a fair shot at that two-point conversion and Syracuse deserved to win that game without an assist from the officials.
  • North Carolina ran the ball down three with time running out. They tried to get to the line to spike the ball, but the field goal unit ran on the field. Quarterback T.J. Yates spiked the ball with two seconds left. No ten-second run-off. Five-yard penalty. They kicked a last second field goal to tie the game and eventually won it in the second overtime. They should have lost that game.
  • Here's hoping Al Golden can spark to the Hurricanes, who seemed easily discouraged in the Sun Bowl against Notre Dame. Four interceptions didn't help, either.
  • Mark Richt was handed his first losing season at Georgia at the hands of UCF, who earned its first ever bowl victory.
  • There is still a lot of talent on the Florida Gators, but they need to throw the football more effectively. Having three players who can play the quarterback position, all in their unique way, is great, but there has to be one player who is 'the man'. Congratulations to Urban Meyer for a wildly successful career in Gainesville.
  • Alabama is one of the ten best teams in the country.
  • What a Rose Bowl. Once again, there will be more than one undefeated team at the end of the season. We'll never know if TCU would have beaten Auburn or Oregon. Thanks, BCS. Playoff now.
  • UConn was outmatched in the Fiesta Bowl. They got off to a good start early, throwing short to intermediate passes, but they couldn't run the ball, averaging just 2.7 yards per carry. The Sooners were able to key in on the pass as the game went on.

There were many, many players who became a New Household Name this week as some of the smaller programs were featured on national television and really stepped up. To name a few, DB Kreg Brown of FIU who picked off two passes in the Little Caesars Bowl (WR/KR T.Y. Hilton wasn't bad, either), RB Adonis Thomas of Toledo, WR Marcus Sales of Syracuse, etc. The distinction this week, however, goes to Washington defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu, who was a disruptive force for the Huskies as they held Nebraska's dynamic offense to 91 yards rushing and 98 yards passing (total of 189 yards) in the Holiday Bowl. Ta'amu recovered a fumble on the first drive of the game and later sacked Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, but his contributions cannot be measured in statistics alone. He and the rest of the defensive line were a force Thursday night as the Huskies were able to get a little payback for the embarrassing 56-21 loss in September.

More than any player last week, TCU linebacker Tank Carder Proved He's Worth the Hype in the Horned Frogs Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin Saturday evening. Carder recorded six tackles (three for a loss) and sacked the quarterback once, but the biggest play he made, and the biggest play of the entire game, came as Wisconsin went for a two-point conversion to tie the game with two minutes left in the game. Carder gave his account of the play after the game: "I was definitely on the blitz," Carder said according to ESPN.com. "We thought they were going to run. Coach [Gary] Patterson put me on the blitz. I got blocked so I stepped back and he [Tolzien] cocked his arm back and I jumped up and swatted it down." The play may go down as one of the most memorable in TCU, and Rose Bowl, history.

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This week's bowl games:

Jared Levine and I are previewing each bowl game this season, so make sure you come back before the game for a quick word on what each team has to do to win and who we think will come away with the victory.

Monday, January 3, 2011
8:30 PM ET ESPN- Discover Orange Bowl: No. 4 Stanford (11-1) vs. No. 13 Virginia Tech (11-2)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011
8:30 PM ET ESPN- Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 6 Ohio State (11-1) vs. No. 8 Arkansas (10-2)

Thursday, January 6, 2011
8:00 PM ET ESPN- GoDaddy.com Bowl: Middle Tennessee (6-6) vs. Miami (OH) (9-4)

Friday, January 7, 2011
8:00 PM ET FOX- AT&T Cotton Bowl: No. 11 LSU (10-2) vs. No. 17 Texas A&M (9-3)

Saturday, January 8, 2011
12:00 PM ET ESPN- BBVA Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh (7-5) vs. Kentucky (6-6)

Sunday, January 9, 2011
9:00 PM ET ESPN- Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: No. 15 Nevada (12-1) vs. Boston College (7-5)

Monday, January 10, 2011
8:30 PM ET ESPN- Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 Auburn (13-0) vs. No. 2 Oregon (12-0)

Danny Hobrock is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.

Email Danny at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at DannyHobrock