The NCAA’s final year under the current BCS system came to a close last Monday. This year’s slate of games had perfect matchups as every game came down to the wire. Unfortunately, the state of Texas saw a pretty mediocre bowl season with blow-out losses and close wins. The record for the seven schools from the state was just 3-4.
The bowl season started for the state of Texas with a UT Oregon matchup in the Alamo Bowl. Mack Brown coached his final game for the Longhorns and it wasn’t pretty. Oregon dominated Texas on defense, forcing two pick sixes and pressuring quarterback Case McCoy all night. Oregon’s offense put up 469 yards but only 16 points, which proved to be enough for a decisive 30-7 Oregon win.
Texas Tech followed up Texas’ performance that night with a dismantling of Pac-12 South champion Arizona State. Davis Webb had his best game of the year throwing for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Red Raiders rolled to a 37-23 victory.
New Years Eve featured two Texas schools in bowl games. Rice vs. Mississippi State was the first of the two. Rice couldn’t stop Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State offense all night. Prescott totaled 5 touchdowns as the Bulldogs bulldozed over Rice 44-7.
The second game of New Years Eve might have been the brightest spot of the bowl season for Texas. Texas A&M played a well-coached David Cutcliffe Duke team in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. This Bowl was arguably the best bowl game of season. A&M fell behind 38-17 at half, but with one last magical performance by Johnny Manziel, A&M overcame the deficit and won 52-48. The sophomore from Kerrville had 455 yards of offense and 5 touchdowns to cap a magnificent college career.
The new year started off right for North Texas as they defeated UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. UNT and UNLV were tied at half 7-7, but the Mean Green came alive in the second half and outscored the Rebels by 22. The result was a North Texas 36-14 victory in their first bowl appearance in nine years.
The final non-BCS bowl game for the state featured Vanderbilt and Houston. Vanderbilt came out with a roaring 24-0 run. Johnny O’Korn and the Houston offense didn’t lay down as they came back to tie Vandy 24-24 entering the fourth quarter. The Vanderbilt running game put the game to rest with a 17-point fourth quarter and a 41-24 win.
The BCS season might have been the best in recent memory and featured many unlikely opponents in the NCAA.
The first BCS game of the year pitted Michigan State and Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The Big Ten winner and the Pac-12 winner engaged in a throwback for the ages. Stanford took the lead early on, 10-0 through the legs of Tyler Gaffney and the strong Stanford running game.
Michigan State came roaring back with a gutsy performance from sophomore quarterback Connor Cook. Cook put together a wonderful performance against one of the top defenses in the nation going 22 for 36 for 322 yards with 2 touchdowns.
Stanford put a late drive together in the fourth quarter, but on a fourth and one backup linebacker Kyler Elsworth made a Troy Polamalu-esque tackle to stop Stanford for the win 24-21.
The day was not over because Baylor and UCF played in the Fiesta Bowl that night. A game that many people had already decided the outcome even though neither of the teams had ever played in a BCS bowl. The consensus pick was Baylor and some polls even had the bears winning by 17.
The game quickly turned into a shootout with two of the top QBs in the country. The black knights were too much for the bears as they crumbled late in the fourth quarter to lose 52-42.
Alabama and Oklahoma met in the Sugar Bowl for the final BCS game of the night; a bowl that, in many people’s minds, was decided before it even started. Alabama, the winner of the last two national titles came in heavily favored against the offensively-confused Sooners.
The two teams looked like they switched roles. Redshirt freshman Trevor Knight looked composed and in control against the tough Tide defense, while A.J. McCarron looked uncharacteristically rattled by a stout Sooners’ defense. Oklahoma had the lead for most of the game and rode the momentum to a shocking 45-31 upset of Alabama.
Ohio State and Clemson kept the high scoring frenzy going in the Orange Bowl. Two of the nations top dual-threat QBs, Tajh Boyd and Braxton Miller, showed off those abilities throughout the game. Tajh Boyd’s final game saw him account for all six touchdowns and 505 yards. Miller didn’t play quite at that level but did account for four touchdowns. He also threw two costly interceptions in an otherwise great game. Clemson hung on in a nail-biter 40-35.
The national title came down to two teams with completely different identities. Florida State came in 13-0 with the Heisman Trophy winner with quarterback Jameis Winston. Auburn came in as a team of destiny with a 12-1 record.
Florida State started off slow which allowed a 21-3 halftime lead. Jameis Winston showed why he deserved the Heisman in the second half. The Seminoles were down 31-27 with 1:19 remaining. Winston, with the season on the line, came up big and with 13 seconds left threw the game winning touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin.
The current BCS system ended on a high note with a true national champion this season. It didn’t have to be decided through a playoff system to see that the only undefeated team left standing was Florida State.