Amidst the drama of the first round of the NFL playoffs and the hype for tonight’s BCS National Championship Game, the college bowl season played on this weekend, starting with a Cotton Bowl that lived up to expectations on Friday night and continuing on with two more games that wrapped around the NFL first-round quartet, early Saturday and late Sunday. Here’s a look back…
Missouri 41 Oklahoma State 31: An exciting game in Dallas wasn’t complete until Mizzou thwarted a late Okie State drive for at least a tying field goal, when Shane Ray scooped up a fumble and went 73 yards for the Tigers’ clinching touchdown.
The Oklahoma State defense forced Missouri quarterback James Franklin into a harried night, at 15/40 passing, while the Cowboys’ own Clint Chelf went 33/57. Missouri was able to make up for it by winning the ground game and committing only four penalties, while Oklahoma State racked up double-digit flags amounting to triple-digit yardage.
Vanderbilt 41 Houston 24: This one was wild, as Vandy led 24-0 at half, and then Houston tied it up by the end of the third quarter before the Commodores pulled away one last time. Perhaps Vanderbilt was distracted by the rumors that are swirling around their head coach, James Franklin. (Between the Vandy coach and the Mizzou quarterback it was James Franklin Weekend in the college bowl season).
Franklin was linked to the Texas job, before it was announced that Charlie Strong had been hired. Franklin is strongly rumored to the Penn State opening, and the Washington Redskins are interested in interviewing him. As a friend of mine texted me last night, it appears the only job Franklin isn’t linked to for next year is Vanderbilt.
Arkansas State 23 Ball State 20: This was an upset, as the Red Wolves were at least a touchdown underdog. Ball State’s Keith Wenning had an erratic night throwing the football, and the Cardinal defense couldn’t stop the running game at all. This completes an 0-5 wipeout for the MAC in bowl play, each one marked by an opponent running all over them.
The college bowl season is now complete–the last game left doesn’t have the word “bowl” attached to it, as all that remains is for Florida State and Auburn to settle the whole thing in the BCS National Championship Game.