During 35 college football bowl games, a lot of wild and wacky things can happen.
The thing about the bowl season is, if you care only casually, it’s merely a blizzard of 35 games mostly repeating nothingness. But look a little deeper, and it’s an overstuffed exercise in the odd, the unfathomable and sometimes, the downright laughable.
You mean you missed Lane Kiffin’s get-up — sunglasses, baseball hat, hood — at the Sun Bowl? You didn’t catch the punch thrown by an Arizona player in the New Mexico Bowl — aimed at a teammate?
The postseason didn’t play to great live audiences. The Sugar Bowl had its poorest crowd since 1939, as, amazingly, Florida fans bought only 7,000 tickets through their school. The Military Bowl featured 17,835 passers-by rattling around RFK Stadium.
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• In the Fight Hunger Bowl, Arizona State scored touchdowns on Navy the first nine times it had the ball. Fortunately, Navy does a lot better defending the republic.
• Northwestern broke a nine-bowl losing streak in the Gator. Last time it had won, Truman was president.
• June Jones’ SMU team, a 12-point underdog to Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl, won 43-10. As a 12-point ‘dog to Nevada in Hawaii in 2009, it won 45-10. The only guy with a more formidable rep in the Islands than Jones, the ex-Hawaii coach, is King Kamehameha.
• In the span of six minutes, eight seconds, here’s what happened to San Diego State QB Adam Dingwell, whose team had a 6-3 fourth-quarter lead on Brigham Young in the Poinsettia: He fumbled and BYU took it in for a score. Then he fumbled and BYU scored on the next play. Then he got sacked and penalized for intentional grounding. Then he threw a pick-six. His quarterback rating was not immediately available.
• Nevada had 39 first downs against Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl, and lost.
• In the Holiday, UCLA converted one third down in 17 tries against Baylor’s 119th-ranked defense.
• In the Sun, USC QB Max Wittek completed 14 passes in 37 attempts for 107 yards against Georgia Tech, or 2.9 yards per attempt, not easy to do when you’re throwing to Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.
• With 1:32 left, Duke was at the Cincinnati 5-yard line in the Belk Bowl, going in for the score that would break a 34-all tie. The Blue Devils lost, 48-34, which must have bemused the gamblers who had Duke and 7 ½ points.
• South Carolina’s fearsome Jadeveon Clowney separated Michigan back Vincent Smith from his head — no, wait, that was his helmet — with the hit of the postseason.
• In the Fiesta, Oregon scored a point — one point — on a safety. You can look it up.
• Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, after saying before the Orange Bowl that NIU planned to have Florida State defenders “on their knees” by the fourth quarter, ran 23 times for 44 yards and completed 15 of 41 passes.
Exactly what’s under that white hat?
No high-level coach succeeds in spite of himself like Les Miles at Louisiana State, who makes $3.8 million a year for coming to conclusions like not inserting QB Jarrett Lee for a profoundly struggling Jordan Jefferson in last year’s insipid title-game effort against Alabama.
Then there was the New Year’s Eve Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson.
Leading 24-22 with less than three minutes left, Miles and the Tigers had a second-and-2 near midfield. Somewhere, even Martha Stewart was probably shouting, “Run the ball!”
No. LSU tried two passes, incomplete, allowing Clemson to save its timeouts, get the ball with 1:39 left at its 20 and drive for a winning field goal.
When you know you’re having a bad officiating day
A zebra under the left upright signaled a field-goal attempt by USC’s Andre Heidari good. Even with a bad angle on the sideline, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson complained, and after the play was reviewed, the kick was ruled wide.
1. Louisiana-Monroe, playing an hour from home as a solid favorite over Ohio in the Independence, lost 45-14.
2. Fresno State, a big favorite over SMU in the Hawaii, lost by 33 points. But it had a great time snorkeling and surfing.
3. USC, whose Sun Bowl, wrote LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke, “was the last milepost in arguably the most unsightly journey ever taken by a football team in NCAA history.” Uh, Plaschke should have been in our state in 2008.