One of those games being overshadowed was played last night, The Humanitarian Bowl (who’d a thunk?!). In likely what will be one of the best games this bowl season, WR Freddie Barnes had a record-breaking performance against the Idaho Vandals, who pulled out a W in the waning seconds of the game. After tying the score at 35 a piece, Bowling Green got the ball back with 1:42 remaining in the game. Barnes then hauled in a 51-yard pass to take the lead with 32 seconds remaining. Idaho, who had one of the best turnarounds since last season (second only to SMU), was then able to drive 66 yards in 24 seconds for a touchdown and a 2-point conversion with only :04 remaining. This lifted the Vandals over BGSU to a final score of 42-43, and only their second bowl victory in school history. Like I said: who’d a thunk?
As for Freddie Barnes, someone I have been high on all season, he set the FBS record for catches in a season, beating the previous record of 143 by 12. Barnes logged 17 receptions for 219 yard and 3TDs, and ended the season with a record 155 catches, over 1,700 yards, and 19 scores. With stats that sound like they should be attributed to a RB, he is obviously one of the premier WRs in the league. Listed at only 6ft. tall, Barnes has a unique vision and uncanny ability to ensure the ball ends up in his hands – and displayed these skills by putting on a 2009 season that will not soon be forgotten. I sure am glad I was able to have Barnes on my fantasy squad for his senior season, and any NFL team would be lucky to grab him next year.
Another player I was lucky to have for most of the season was Bernard Pierce. The Temple RB game was hot out of the gates in the EagleBank Bowl, rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown in the first half against UCLA. With a 21-10 lead at halftime, the Owls hoped to finish off the Bruins, but were unable to as UCLA put up 20 unanswered points in the second half. Much of Temple’s inability to score late in the game has to be attributed to the fact that Pierce injured his shoulder in the second quarter, essentially eliminating Temple’s ground game. Who knows what would have happened, had fantasy-stud Bernard Pierce got to finish the game?
In other games, we saw the Nebraska defense led by Ndamukong Suh completely dominate the Arizona Wildcats in a 33-0 victory in the Holiday Bowl. SMU went to their first bowl game in 25 years, and destroyed Nevada 45-10 in the Hawaii Bowl. BYU defeated the Rogers Brothers and Oregon State 44-20 in Las Vegas. Utah took care of Cal 37-27 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Additionally, Wisconsin got a win against Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, FL. Having just played the Florida high school state championships on the same field, Miami was plagues by poor field conditions, and a solid Wisconsin game plan that held the Hurricanes to a mere 61 yards rushing. The field conditions are a concern for the CapitalOne Bowl that will be played tomorrow afternoon between LSU and Penn State – so we will have to wait and see how that all plays out.
Even though we are in the middle of the Bowl season, and have plenty of games to be played today, tomorrow, and up until Jan. 7, the major stories in college football have surrounded Urban Meyer pulling a Brett Favre, and Mike Leach pulling a Bob Knight. The reports about the Gators’ coach and his health have been vague and confusing, with UF first telling the nation that he only suffered from dehydration, but now there have been stories that the 45 year old sustained at least one, if not multiple heart attacks this season. On Christmas Day, he told his family he was going to announce his retirement, but recanted only days later. This puts the UF offseason in a state of upheaval, but likely will not affect their Sugar Bowl preparations. But on the other hand, the Mike Leach firing that took place yesterday could very well throw a wrench in things for the Red Raiders, and their prep for Michigan State and the Alamo Bowl on Saturday. Now, all I know about the whole situation is what ESPN and other news outlets have given us, but locking a student athlete – who was diagnosed with a concussion – in an equipment room and later electrical closet is in no way acceptable. Not to mention the sheer stupidity of doing it to a player whose father is one of the premier football analysts in the nation. Not too bright Coach Leach, not too bright at all.
Anyway, we still have a lot of football to watch in the next 8 days. Get ready for some great games. Some close ones, some blowouts, and hopefully some exciting upsets. Happy New Year to all!
Remaining Bowl Games (all times EST):
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – NOW - ESPN
Houston v. Air Force
Brut Sun Bowl – 2pm – CBS
Oklahoma v. Stanford
Texas Bowl – 3:30 – ESPN
Navy v. Missouri
Insight Bowl – 6pm – NFL Network
Minnesota v. Iowa State
Chick-Fil-A Bowl – 7:30pm – ESPN
Virginia Tech v. Tennessee
Outback Bowl – 11am – ESPN
Northwestern v. Auburn
CapitalOne Bowl – 1pm – ABC
Penn State v. Louisiana State
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl – 1pm – CBS
Florida State v. West Virginia
Rose Bowl by Citi – 4:30pm – ABC
Ohio State v. Oregon
Allstate Sugar Bowl – 8:30pm – FOX
Cincinnati v. Florida
International Bowl – 12pm – ESPN2
South Florida v. Northern Illinois
PapaJohns.com Bowl – 2pm – ESPN
South Carolina v. UConn
AT&T Cotton Bowl – 2pm – FOX
Oklahoma State v. Ole Miss
AutoZone Liberty Bowl – 5:30pm – ESPN
Arkansas v. East Carolina
Valero Alamo Bowl – 9pm – ESPN
Michigan State v. Texas Tech
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – 8pm – FOX
Boise State v. TCU
FedEx Orange Bowl – 8pm – FOX
Iowa v. Georgia Tech
GMAC Bowl – 7pm – ESPN
Central Michigan v. Troy
Citi BCS Championship Game – 8pm – ABC
Texas v. Alabama