15 Biggest Disappointments of the College Football Bowl Season
15 Biggest Disappointments of the College Football Bowl Season
The Auburn Tigers rode a wave of “destiny” to an SEC title in 2013 and a spot in the BCS National Championship. There, they faced off with the heavily favored Florida State Seminoles who had been dominating opponents all season long. But Auburn played with incredible confidence and jumped out to a quick 21-3 lead as they hoped to secure the eighth straight title for the SEC and fifth straight for the state of Alabama.
But the talent of FSU slowly chipped away at Auburn’s lead and the two teams went back and forth in a wild finish that will go down as one of the best national championship games ever. Auburn ultimately gave up the lead with just 13 seconds to go to fall 34-31 after scoring a go-ahead touchdown just barely a minute earlier. The Tigers capped off a remarkable turnaround in 2013 under first year head coach Gus Malzahn, but fell just short of finishing the season off with a perfect ending and a crystal football for the mantle.
It is a disappointing way for the season of “destiny” to end, for sure, but the Tigers have nothing to be ashamed about the way they played this season. Even in their final defeat, they pushed FSU like nobody else had been able to this season and made the Noles earn every point. On that night, on that field, Florida State proved to be the better team and that’s nothing that Auburn should feel down about.
But elsewhere in college football, there were some very disappointing aspects of the bowl season. Some teams and players just did not bring their best game to the big stage and fell flat to end the season. Let’s count down the 15 biggest disappointments of the college football bowl season.
15. Oregon Ducks Passed Over for BCS
The Oregon Ducks had been to four straight BCS bowl games coming into 2013 (winning the last two) and finished the regular season ranked No. 10 in the final BCS rankings. They were qualified for a BCS at-large bid but were passed over for the open spots by the Oklahoma Sooners and Clemson Tigers, both ranked lower than Oregon. The Ducks had only themselves to blame and had to settle for the Valero Alamo Bowl where they dominated the Texas Longhorns leaving college football fans wondering what they could have done in a major bowl this postseason.
14. Andre Williams Flat in Final Outing
Andre Williams had been unstoppable all season long for the Boston College Eagles, eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark in 2013, winning the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back, and being named a Heisman Trophy finalist for his efforts. But in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl, Williams looked flat all day long, finishing his final college game with just 75 yards on 26 carries, averaging a meager 2.9 yards per carry as he failed to break off a run longer than seven yards the entire game.
13. Washington State Cougars Clock Management
The Washington State Cougars held a 15-point lead with three minutes to play in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, seemingly set to secure the first bowl win for Mike Leach at WSU. But the Colorado State Rams scored a touchdown to cut the lead to eight. Then the Cougars fumbled the ball away trying to run the clock down and the Rams drove to tie the game with just 33 seconds left. It seemed like bowl season's first bowl was bound for overtime...until WSU fumbled the kickoff, allowing Colorado State to kick a field goal as time expired to win the game. All because WSU couldn't kill three minutes off the clock.
12. Arizona State Sun Devils Fail to Show Up
The Arizona State Sun Devils looked to be taking a huge step forward towards becoming a nationally relevant program in college football. They won the Pac-12 South and even hosted the Pac-12 Championship game, appearing to be on the cusp of contending for the Rose Bowl Game on an annual basis. But then they went to the National University Holiday Bowl and got shredded by the Texas Tech Red Raiders, a team that came into the game on a five-game losing streak. Head coach Todd Graham admitted after the fact that the team did not practice well leading up to this game and it showed. That is not the kind of effort that elite teams put forth in bowl season.
11. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Out-Rushed by Ole Miss Rebels
The identity of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is clear: run the football with the triple-option to control the game. They have used that same philosophy all year long to get into postseason...where they were out-rushed by the Ole Miss Rebels in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl 221-151. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, not known as the fleetest of foot, ended up leading all rushers with 86 yards on the ground as GT manage just 3.1 yards per rush in a game that went down far differently from how the Jackets drew it up.
10. Teven Reese "Returns" from Injury for Baylor Bears
The Baylor Bears had the No. 1 offense in the country this season with so many explosive playmakers at every level, it was almost unfair. They had continued their high-powered attack even after an injury to receiver Tevin Reese, who had been one of the most explosive receivers in the country. With Reese set to come back in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, it seemed like Baylor would have yet another weapon to use in their bowl game, but he turned out to be an afterthought. He finished the day with just five catches for a season-low 43 yards as he made next to no impact on the Baylor offense and the Bears were upset by massive the Central Florida Knights, a massive underdog coming into the game.
9. Derek Carr Plays Dud of a Final Game
2013 was the year of Derek Carr. The senior signal caller led the nation in passing this season for the Fresno State Bulldogs and looked to cap his collegiate career with a big day against a big-time opponent in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Instead, Carr had his worst game of the season, completing just 29-of-54 passes for 216 yards with only two touchdowns and an interception. It was a dud of a performance to cap what has been a tremendous senior season.
8. MAC Falls Flat
The MAC will go down in history as the last non-BCS conference to send a team to a BCS bowl in 2012 but 2013 will go down as a disaster for the conference in the postseason. The MAC sent five teams to a bowl this season and all five ended up on the losing side of things. Even their best teams couldn't find a way to come away with wins, with three losses coming by one possession. It's a disappointing way to end the BCS era, especially considering the conference was a Northern Illinois Huskies win in the MAC title game away from having back-to-back BCS busters in 2013.
7. Big Ten Bowl Struggles Continue
The Big Ten has a bad reputation as a conference that does not compete well against elite competition. This bowl season won't do much to change that perception after the conference went just 2-5 in their seven bowl games while averaging just 21.7 points per game, the lowest total among BCS conferences. They got one highlight with the Michigan State Spartans winning the Rose Bowl Game, but fell flat in just about every other contest. The reputation of the conference won't be helped by their performance this postseason heading into the College Football Playoff era.
6. Ohio State Buckeyes Fall Apart on Defense
The defense of the Ohio State Buckeyes failed them in the Big Ten title, ending a 24-game winning streak to start Urban Meyer's tenure in Columbus. They were hoping to get things fixed in time for the Discover Orange Bowl but were disappointed yet again when they were gashed by the Clemson Tigers in a 40-35 shootout loss. Tajh Boyd piled up 505 yards of total offense on his own with six total touchdowns and Sammy Watkins was unguardable as he caught 16 passes for 227 yards and a pair of touchdowns. For a team with national title aspirations in 2013, the defense kept Ohio State from reaching their goals this season.
5. Miami Hurricanes Return to Bowl Season with a Whimper
The Miami Hurricanes have been away from the postseason for a while now, the last two years due to a self-imposed ban while the NCAA conducted an investigation into the program. With the NCAA out of their hair, Miami was able to make a triumphant return to the bowl season in 2013...except they forgot about the triumphant part. The Canes were blown off the field by the Louisville Cardinals in a 36-9 romp. The U still has some room to grow before they're really truly "back" to being a college football power.
4. Michigan Wolverines are a Total Mess
The Michigan Wolverines came into 2013 with high expectations but fell flat down the stretch. With an injury to starting quarterback Devin Gardner, things looked bleak for their bowl matchup with the Kansas State Wildcats in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and their performance underwhelmed even their modest hopes this postseason. The offensive line has been a mess, the running game completely non-existent, and the defense struggled to contain what has been a mediocre K-State passing attack. All in all, plenty for Brady Hoke to fix this offseason.
3. Jordan Lynch Falls Short of Historic Mark
Coming into the bowl season, Jordan Lynch was just 119 rushing yards short of becoming the first player in NCAA history to record 2,000 yards rushing and passing in the same season. After suffering disappointments in losing the MAC title, a BCS bid, and the Heisman Trophy, getting this record would have been a great accomplishment to cap an illustrious career. Unfortunately, the Utah State Aggies had other plans for the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and held Lynch to just 39 yards rushing, 80 yards shy of the 2,000-yard milestone.
2. Mack Brown Goes Out on a Low Note
Mack Brown stepped down as head coach of the Texas Longhorns this season after 16 seasons at the helm. Many thought that the Horns would rally around Brown and win one to send him out on a high note in the Valero Alamo Bowl, but got overwhelmed by the Oregon Ducks and ended up losing 30-7. Texas could never get their offense on track to give them any real shot at winning this one. In the end, Brown leaves Texas with a disappointing finish, much like his last few seasons on the job.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide Get Gashed on Defense
The Alabama Crimson Tide won three of four BCS National Championships and came a missed field goal return in the Iron Bowl from possibly playing for another one this season. Their success has been built on an elite defense that imposes their will on opponents. In their matchup in the AllState Sugar Bowl, however, the defense came apart at the seams, getting shredded by the Oklahoma Sooners, losing 45-31 in one of the most uncharacteristic losses of the Nick Saban era.