Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Trends accrue as bowl season winds down
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, second from right, leads his team onto the field for the Music City Bowl NCAA college football game against North Carolina State, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
LITTLE ROCK A few comments while waiting to see if Florida can beat Louisville and all but assure the SEC of not having a losing record in postseason bowls.
First, kudos to the brainiacs. Vanderbilt, Rice, Northwestern, Stanford and Tulsa are schools known for academics, but all won bowl games. Duke lost its bowl, but it was in one. Northwestern was 2-0 vs. SEC teams this season, beating Vanderbilt early in the regular season. In all honesty, Baylor is a strong academic school, too, and it beat UCLA 49-26.
A final note about Vanderbilt and its head coach, James Franklin, who should have been on Jeff Long’s short list of Arkansas coaching candidates. Franklin should be on everyone’s short list after what he has accomplished in twoyears at a school where figuring rocket thrust to the moon is easy compared to getting to back-to-back bowls.
However, anyone who thinks Long offered anyone - and that means ANYONE - $5 million needs to turn the kitchen stove off. Your electricity is back on. Long made it clear it was a crazy rumor that he was prepared to make the Arkansas coach the highestpaid in the country. Long said the rumor was preposterous.
OK, back to the bowls.
Did anyone else yell at the television during the Outback Bowl when the official signaled twice that Michigan had made a first down when it was clear the football was at least two inches short of the necessary yardage?
Sorry, Chuck Monan (the pastor at Pleasant Valley Church of Christ and a lifelong Michigan fan), but Steve Spurrier was still ticked about that call after the game and South Carolina had managed to win on a 32-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Dylan Thompson with 11 seconds to play.
Don’t know if that official looked like a Michigan man or the Michelin man, but he sure came across as biased.
Before the Capital One Bowl a big deal was made of Nebraska’s pass defense, whichwas No. 1 nationally coming into the game. But when a team can’t stop the run, most people aren’t going to pass a lot. Georgia’s Aaron Murray lit up the Huskers for 427 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
The Big Ten didn’t come up so big in the bowls and will finish 2-4, but that has a lot to do with Ohio State and Penn State being on NCAA probation. The Buckeyes went undefeated, but obviously it was a down year for the Big Ten.
That was underlined by the way Oklahoma State destroyed Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, 58-14. The Cowboys led 28-0 at the half and finished with 524 yards of total offense.
The Orange Bowl was stuck with Northern Illinois, which proved again the BowlChampionship Series selection process is flawed. The Huskies were two-touchdown underdogs and lost by three touchdowns as they totaled only 259 yards. The game was about as interesting as a Scrubs rerun.
It has to be pointed out that Boise State beat Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl, and that left Chris Petersen and the Broncos 11-2 on a season when 15 starters had to be replaced.
That’s why his name keeps coming up for every job. Obviously it doesn’t hurt that he plays in a very soft conference. The Mountain West went 1-4 in postseason play.
Most of the LSU Nation thought they got jilted by having to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and then the Tigers laid an egg after taking a 24-13 leadinto the fourth quarter. LSU gave up 12 points in the final quarter and lost 25-24. Running back Jeremy Hill had 124 yards on 12 carries, but never touched the ball in the final period.
Giving up a 26-yard completion on fourth-and-16, which led to the game-winning field goal as time ran out, was priceless in Clemson, S.C., and unacceptable in Death Valley.
Of course, there are some really interesting bowl games left, including Sunday night’s GoDaddy.com Bowl, when interim coaches at Arkansas State and Kent State hook it up.
Sports, Pages 15 on 01/03/2013