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 member and past president 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. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Hogs didn’t get shot to hurt Big 12’s mark
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman points toward the field of play during a game against Tennessee on Nov. 7, 2020 in Fayetteville.
It seemed the Arkansas Razorbacks were a lot more excited about playing TCU in the Texas Bowl than the Horned Frogs were about playing the Hogs.
It didn’t seem rude the Hogs found out the game was being canceled minutes before boarding buses that would take them to the airport for a trip to Houston. It was rude.
The Frogs had to have some sort of idea they were having a virus outbreak before the bewitching hour.
The late call made it impossible for the Razorbacks or Texas Bowl officials to find a replacement — if the Texas Bowl folks really wanted to proceed with a bowl that would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Whatever the thinking, the cancellation was not because the Horned Frogs were afraid.
The Big 12 was a weird conference all season, and no team bothered to make a case why it should be included in the College Football Playoff.
Its best team, the Oklahoma Sooners, was 0-2 in league play to start the season, then reeled off seven consecutive victories. A two-loss team never has made the playoffs, though.
Iowa State was second best and had three losses, including a season-opening loss to Louisiana-Lafayette of the Sun Belt.
For the record, Texas finished 5-3 in league play and 7-3 overall. Coach Tom Herman apparently was fired before beating Colorado 55-23 in the Alamo Bowl, but he just didn’t know it.
The Big 12 entered the bowl season with something to prove, and it made a point as one of only two conferences to go undefeated in postseason play.
Besides Texas, other winners included Oklahoma State over Miami 37-34, West Virginia over Army 24-21 and Iowa State 34-17 over Oregon.
The Sooners were the biggest winners, knocking off Florida 55-20 in the Cotton Bowl. Auburn was the only other SEC bowl loss.
The Mid-American Conference was 2-0 in bowl play.
The Sun Belt was an impressive 4-1.
The SEC was 6-2 and the Big Ten was 3-1, so both won 75% of their games. The tiebreaker for fourth-best bowl record winning percentage will be Monday when Alabama and Ohio State meet for the national championship.
The Mountain West was 2-1, followed by the American Athletic at 1-5.
Independents were 2-1.
Yet, the ACC went 0-6 and the Pac-12 was 0-2.
Obviously the ACC had two teams in the playoffs, Notre Dame and Clemson, and both were beat soundly.
Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney — who no longer seems like the down-to-earth, good-old boy — had given Ohio State motivation by voting the Buckeyes No. 11 in the coaches poll.
Other coaches apparently had watched the Buckeyes’ six wins, and their votes made Ohio State the No. 3 team in the country.
Swinney claimed it wasn’t personal, only that OSU had played just six games. The Buckeyes apparently took it personal and kicked the Tigers’ tail 49-28.
Maybe the football selection committee got confused and thought it was picking the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The ACC is arguably the best basketball league in the country.
Conference USA was 0-6 to tie the ACC for the worst bowl season.
The Power 5 leagues were a combined 14-11 because the ACC and Pac-12 couldn’t get a single win.
The fact there was a bowl season shows how hard most schools tried to not let covid-19 sully their season.
In the end, several bowls were canceled and the Rose Bowl was moved to Dallas. But for the most part, the games went on.
Arkansas was primed and ready to go to Houston to face TCU but had the ball yanked away at the last second because the Horned Frogs couldn’t field a team of 53 scholarship players.
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