More notes from the silly season, Leaders and Legends in the Big Ten, and the bowl season kicked off to a somewhat subdued reception as all three games were decided by 23 points or more. Let's get to it.
Recapping in 500 words or less, this is what we learned about the season:
- Four of the six teams that played on Saturday came in with a winning record, but it doesn't do much to quell the call for fewer bowl games. We can do without sitting through 6-6 BYU and UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl, or Ohio and Troy in a New Orleans Bowl that managed 40% of the Superdome's football capacity. If bowl eligibility required a 7-5 record, Ohio and Troy would both have went to bowl games, but with fewer bowls, each one would be that much more rewarding.
- BYU has several key pieces returning for next season—their first as a football independent. Freshman quarterback Jake Heaps threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns, while freshman running back Josh Quezada and junior running back J.J. DiLuigi rushed for 101 yards and 98 yards, respectively. Freshman wide receiver Cody Hoffman caught eight passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns. One man who will not be returning, though, is Andrew Rich, who picked off two passes, recorded five tackles and one sack.
- Chandler Harnish shined for Northern Illinois as they smacked Fresno State 40-17. Harnish—who will presumably return for his senior season—threw for 300 yards and a touchdown and rushed 10 times for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Going into next season, one of the storylines to follow in the MAC is whether the Huskies can continue their success on offense without running back Chad Spann, who rushed for 1,429 yards this season and ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the bowl win.
- Troy put up 602 yards of offense Saturday night in the New Orleans Bowl. Eight Trojans had at least 30 yards receiving, while Tebiarus Gill led the team with 80 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman Corey Robinson threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 3,726 yards and 28 touchdowns for the season. His three leading receivers are seniors, however, making next season quite interesting as the Trojans look to maintain their highly-ranked passing offense. Ohio is now 0-5 all-time in bowl games.
- Last month, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson stated that ACC Coach of the Year Ralph Friedgen would remain the coach at Maryland. Now, reports indicate that Friedgen has been asked to retire, presumably clearing the way for Mike Leach to return to coaching. Coach-in-waiting James Franklin took the Vandy job, which many believe sparked Anderson to move on this season rather than next when Friedgen's contract is up. Not exactly the finest moment for the Maryland AD who treated a loyal alum like a used Volvo that's served you well, but hasn't gotten you noticed the way you'd like.
- The general, almost unanimous dissatisfaction with the Big Ten's choice of division names hasn't fallen on deaf ears. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany called the "90 percent non-approval rating...humbling" on WGN Radio 790 in Chicago and gave us all hope that the conference will explore changing the names in the future.
UTEP wide receiver Kris Adams caught three passes in the New Mexico Bowl against BYU for 153 yards and three touchdowns, becoming a New Household Name among college football fans. Other players like Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish and Troy quarterback Corey Robinson were impressive as well, but Adams got behind a tough BYU defense three times and came away with three scores albeit in a losing effort. Perhaps most impressive about his performance is that his touchdowns came at moments when it appeared that the Miners had no shot at the win, yet Adams never slowed down.
BYU safety Andrew Rich, Proved He's Worth the Hype more than anybody on Saturday, although there are quite a few who probably did not know much about Rich to begin with. After the game, Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall named Rich, a former walk-on, among the top safeties he's coached, putting him in the company of Brian Urlacher and Aaron Francisco. Rich's five tackle, two interception, one sack performance in the New Mexico Bowl was a good way to end his BYU career and he even made a big hit to keep Marlon McClure from catching a touchdown before halftime.
This week's bowl games:
Jared Levine and I will be 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.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
8:00 PM ET ESPN- Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl: Southern Mississippi (8-4) vs. Louisville (6-6)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
8:00 PM ET ESPN- MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: No. 19 Utah (10-2) vs. No. 10 Boise State (11-1)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
8:00 PM ET ESPN- San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Navy (9-3) vs. San Diego State (8-4)
Friday, December 24 2010
8:00 PM ET ESPN- Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: No. 24 Hawaii (10-3) vs. Tulsa (9-3)
Sunday, December 26 2010
8:30 PM ET ESPN- Little Caesars Bowl: Florida International (6-6) vs. Toledo (8-4)
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.
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