1. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42 (OT)
MVP: Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky for overcoming failure. After throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown with a minute left in the game, Zabranksy led his team down the field to tie the game and eventually win.
Craziest plays of the game: Zabranksy threw a slant to Drisan James who lateraled to Jerard Rabb, who then ran 35 yards for a touchdown to tie the game with seven seconds left. Following their overtime touchdown and trailing by one, the Broncos went for two instead of playing it safe. They called the “Statue of Liberty” play, and it worked to perfection.
– Alex Prosperi
Texas Tech 44, Minnesota 41
The most surprising thing from the game: Minnesota coach Glenn Mason lost his job because of the collapse. Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi admitted that Mason would probably still be employed if he had won the game.
I didn’t change the channel because:Well actually I did change the channel when Minnesota was up 38-7. When I realized that nothing else was on, I came back and witnessed the Red Raiders’ 31-point comeback.
– Ian Robinson
3. Brut Sun Bowl
No. 25 Oregon State 39, Missouri 38
The most shocking play of the game: After cutting a 14-point deficit to one with 22 seconds to go, Oregon State just needed an extra point to tie the game and send it to overtime. But head coach Mike Riley sent his offense back onto the field and Yvenson “Rocky” Bernard took a handoff straight ahead to give Oregon State two points and the win.
Quirkiest moment of the game: The cameras consistently returning from commercials showing “fans” who climbed the mountains surrounding the stadium in El Paso, Texas, for a view of the game. Props to those resourceful few who not only got some exercise, but were also smart enough to know that bowl games in El Paso are rarely worth buying a ticket for.
– Nate Sandals
1. Holiday Bowl
No. 20 California 45, No. 21 Texas A&M 10
MVP: California back-up running back Justin Forsett. He ran for 124 yards on eight carries and one touchdown, out-gaining the official Holiday Bowl Most Valuable Player, running back Marshawn Lynch (111 yards on 20 carries).
Craziest moment of the game:On a rushing attempt by Lynch at the Aggies’ two-yard line. Lynch fumbled the ball into the end zone and the initial ruling on the field signaled Aggies’ first down. But after a review, the call was reversed and the Bears notched another six points. The call deflated any comeback attempts by Texas A&M.
– Ashley Bilkie
2. Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl
Brigham Young 38, Oregon 8
You knew the game was over when: Oregon started quarterback Brady Leaf, younger brother of former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf. Ryan might have been a star during his college days, but Brady clearly learned more from Ryan’s pathetically brief NFL career. Brady completed 6-of-14 passes for 44 yards and one interception. The Ducks never had a chance.
The funniest moment of the game: the announcers mistakenly referring to Brady Leaf as Brady Quinn. It was understandable, considering Quinn has been on TV about 60 times more than Leaf. Even so, Quinn might be one of the most overrated players in college football, but he isn’t nearly as bad as Leaf, who was simply awful.
– Stephanie Wright
3. Motor City Bowl
Central Michigan 31, Middle Tennessee 14
You knew the game was over when: I went down to the field level with about eight minutes left in the game and the two trophies for the post-game ceremonies were already inscribed. Central Michigan’s champion and Middle Tennessee State’s runner-up trophies were already prepared. Talk about no confidence in the Blue Raiders.
Most inspiring effort: belonged to me. Following the game, all seemed well until my friends ran into a Middle Tennessee player’s mom and dad outside Ford Field. The two parties exchanged words, and when the phrase “I’m not afraid to go to jail,” came up, I figured it was time to step in. My courageous effort stifled any potential fight, and translated into my first ever “Most inspiring effort” award (awarded by myself).
– Scott Bell
And the rest
Florida State 44, UCLA 27
I knew it was over when: UCLA defeated Southern Cal on Dec. 2, 2006. Even with a few weeks between games, the Bruins were bound to have an upset hangover after being the monkey wrench that completely messed up the Bowl Championship Series. I’m sure the college football gods weren’t too pleased with that, and there was no way that they would allow the sport’s jolly old man, Bobby Bowden, to end another season with a loss.
MVP: Seminole running back Lorenzo Booker was like McDonald’s – he was everywhere. Booker ran 22 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns; he also caught five passes for 117 yards. That’s more mileage than he’ll put on the Hummer he’ll buy with his pro contract.
– H. Jose Bosch
Hawaii 41, Arizona State University 24
I didn’t change the channel, even during the largely uneventful first half, because: I was entertained by the Santas in swimsuits, the reindeer antlers worn by shirtless fans, and the attire of both coaching staffs: Hawaiian-print shirts, beads, shorts and yellow visors. It was hard to take the coaches seriously when they were calling plays in leis.
The most interesting part of the game: watching a potential frontrunner for next year’s Heisman Trophy. Hawaii junior quarterback Colt Brennan set the NCAA single-season record for touchdown passes with 58, outscoring Heisman winner Troy Smith by more than 20 touchdowns. After the game, an ESPN analyst remarked that Brennan “worked Arizona State like a part-time job tonight.”
– Courtney Ratkowiak
R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Troy 41, Rice 17
I didn’t change the channel because: Troy coach Larry Blakeney obviously isn’t a very creative man. Apparently he stole his playbook from NCAA ’07 and decided to throw hail mary passes for half the game.
The funniest moment of the game: speaking deficient Ohio State alum and ESPN color commentator Chris Spielman single-handedly set the English language back centuries with his syllable-slurring statement: “That was an amazing sack of Haugabook by Bio Bilaye-Benibo.”
– Adam Wood
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Utah 25, Tulsa 13
You knew the game was over when: Eric Weddle, Utah’s all-purpose player, ran for a three-yard touchdown with a minute left. Weddle played five different positions including quarterback, running back, cornerback, holder and returner.
The most interesting part of the game: that the only Tulsa player who could score touchdowns was quarterback Paul Smith, who ran for two touchdowns on a severely injured ankle.
– Adam Wood
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
South Carolina 44, Houston 36
You knew the game was over when:Starting at the South Carolina 36 following a great fourth-down stop, Houston looked to erase an eight-point deficit late in the fourth quarter. But Cougar quarterback Kevin Kolb was pinned 13 yards backward. Even ESPN knew Houston didn’t have a chance, switching to the Florida Citrus Bowl two plays later.
I didn’t change the channel because:Following a 41-point second quarter, an old-fashioned shootout was brewing in Memphis. But after a halftime performance by LeAnn Rimes, Houston couldn’t fight the moonlight, giving up the next 17 points.
– Anthony Oliviera
Georgia 31, Virginia Tech 24
The most interesting part of the game was: the lack of class displayed by both teams. The Dawgs and Hokies combined for an overwhelming six personal fouls and several more instances of intense pushing, shoving and trash-talking. Watch out Miami, these teams may have less class than you.
MVP: Georgia should give its most valuable player trophy to Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon. With a 21-13 lead going into the fourth quarter, Glennon turned the ball over four times, resulting in 18 points that put the Dawgs up for good.
– Andy Reid
Texas 26, Iowa 24
The most shocking part of the game was: when Iowa forgot which end zone it was supposed to run to. Down by two points late in the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes were on track for a winning field goal after gaining a first down near midfield. But instead of pushing forward, they ran a reverse – and lost 11 yards. At second and 21, Iowa was out of field-goal range and out of the game.
The quirkiest play of the game was: Iowa’s frantic imitation of Michigan’s controversial 2005 Alamo Bowl play. With the clock at zero, the Hawkeyes started a lateral play that, unlike last year, did not catch the opponent unaware. The play was so short that there was no time for the Longhorns to mistakenly rush the field – Iowa fumbled at its own 20-yard line to end the game.
– Courtney Ratkowiak
Capitol One Bowl
Wisconsin 17, Arkansas 14
I didn’t change the channel because: I wanted to see whether Arkansas quarterbacks Casey Dick or Mitch Mustain could actually throw a decent pass.
Most interesting aspect of the game: Despite Wisconsin’s inability to put together any semblance of a cohesive offense, Arkansas’s passing game was inept enough to allow the Badgers to squeak by with the win.
– Chris Meszaros
Penn State 20, Tennessee 10
Biggest momentum change possible: In a 10-10 game in the fourth quarter, Tennessee was in the red zone – until an Arian Foster fumble was returned 88 yards by Tony Davis to give the Nittany Lions a lead that would never be threatened.
Why I didn’t change the channel: The excessive camera shots of Penn State coach Joe Paterno directing his team from the booth because of a broken leg. What better reason is there for HDTV than to constantly be looking at an 80-year-old?
– Rob Kaitz
T&T Cotton Bowl
Auburn 17, Nebraska 14
You knew the game was over when: With less than two minutes to go in the first half, Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor threw the ball out of bounds on fourth and 11 from the Auburn 30-yard line. On a play in which Nebraska’s offense seemed confused, it might have made sense for Bill Callahan to put his creative offensive mind to rest and simply kick a field goal to tie the game.
I didn’t change the channel because: The Auburn defense came out revamped in the second half and Nebraska made absolutely no half-time adjustments, resulting in only a field goal in the last 30 minutes of play. To make the half more interesting, Fox had an exclusive interview with David Irons Sr., father of both the starting Auburn running backand its cornerback. Irons revealed that, in order to watch both Auburn’s offense and defense during a game, he never went to the bathroom. Play-by-play man Pat Sumerall thought this was “pretty good.”
– Mike Eisenstein
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
Kentucky 28, Clemson 20
MVP: With his 299 yards and three touchdowns leading Kentucky to its first bowl victory in 22 years, quarterback Andre Woodson became the only Kentucky quarterback besides Tim Couch to have more than 30 touchdowns in a season. Watch out, NFL.
The most interesting part of the game: After four consecutive possessions ending in turnovers (two for each team), Kentucky took possession of the ball, only to fake a punt after its previous punt had been blocked. Kentucky then threw a 70-yard touchdown pass on the next play. The only thing going for Clemson at this point in the game was that it could let its kicker be a scapegoat for its woes, as he had missed two field goals in the first quarter.
– Mike Eisenstein
FedEx Orange Bowl
Louisville 24, Wake Forest 13
I didn’t change the channel because: Even though I was tempted to turn the game off, these were still two conference champions playing a relatively competitive BCS game.
I knew the game was over when: Louisville corner William Gay stepped in front of a desperation pass made by Riley Skinner for an interception. Down 24-13, the Demon Deacons had been driving, but with just under three minutes to play, the turnover cemented a bowl victory for the Cardinals.
– Chris Herring
South Florida 24, East Carolina 7
MVP:South Florida coach Jim Leavitt, who decided he was happier coaching a second-tier Big East team than accepting the Alabama coaching vacancy.
I knew the game was over when:The Bulls arrived in Birmingham, Ala. South Florida, a program playing in just its second bowl game in school history, was clearly the better and more prepared team from the get-go.
– Kevin Wright
West Virginia 38, Georgia Tech 35
Most inspiring effort: Georgia Tech quarterback Taylor Bennett passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns. A solid performance from a back-up signal caller who had to take the place of suspended Reggie Ball.
Dumbest play-by-play comment: Gary “SEC Campaign Chief” Danielson was the commentator for the game. Even though this was an ACC/Big East game, it was still difficult to take him seriously.
– David Russell
MPC Computers Bowl
Miami 21, Nevada 20
I knew it was over when: Miami cornerback Chavez Grant made the game-clinching interception to end the final Wolfpack drive.
The most interesting part of the game was: seeing how Miami players would perform for already-fired coach Larry Coker. The players were quoted as saying they wanted to win it for him.
– David Russell
Champs Sports Bowl
Maryland 24, Purdue 7
MVP: Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach, who was 15-for-24 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He finally got the help from his defense – which let Hollenbach down when he shredded Boston College, only to lose a spot in the ACC Championship game when his defense played like Michigan’s in the Rose Bowl.
You knew it was over when: Darrius Howard-Bey somehow used his 4.38-speed to get under a Hollenbach pass and pull it in on a sideline route for a 46-yard touchdown.
– James V. Dowd
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Texas Christian University 37, Northern Illinois 7
The needless national exposure award goes to: The San Diego County Credit Union, which, according to its website, serves not only San Diego County residents, but also the bustling metropolis of Temecula.
The time to hang up the microphone award goes to: Lou Holtz, who could barely get a non-garbled word out as a color commentator. But listening to him was still slightly more pleasant than watching this horrific matchup. After three-and-a-half years of hard work at the Daily, you’d figure I’d get a better assignment.
– Matt Singer
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Boston College 25, Navy 24
You knew the game was over when: it was actually over. Navy surprisingly controlled much of the game, but Boston College hung in there and made a great comeback as the seconds ticked away. You have to love an ending like that, no matter what bowl it is.
Most inspiring effort: Eagle kicker Steve Aponavicius, who booted the 37-yard game-winner with just three seconds left. Not bad for a walk-on who had never played a game of football in his life until this season.
– Amber Colvin
Rutgers 37, Kansas State 10
I didn’t change the channel because: I didn’t have a channel to change! Honestly, who owns the NFL Network. And why is the NFL Network broadcasting college bowl games?
MVP: Rutgers. Sure they’ll be overshadowed by mid-major Boise State after the bowl season is finally finished. But give the boys from Jersey some credit for making college football relevant in the New York/New Jersey area, albeit for only a couple of weeks. The Jets and Giants may not be the only football ticket worth having next year.
– H. Jose Bosch
Louisiana State 41, Notre Dame 14
I knew the game was over when: Notre Dame’s coach was Charlie Weiss. I mean, seriously, has this Jabba-the-Hutt-look-alike won a big game yet since coming over from the New England Patriots?
The most surprising thing from the game: The first half. Notre Dame actually kept it close for the first half. But a late Louisiana State score put the Tigers up by seven going into halftime, and nature took its course from there. Louisiana State and star quarterback JaMarcus Russell scored the game’s final 27 points and extended Notre Dame’s embarrassing bowl game losing streak to nine games.
– Scott Bell
Oklahoma State 34, Alabama 31
The funniest moment of the game: Alabama interim coach Joe Kines incomprehensible tirade during a halftime interview. It left the audience clueless, the reporter speechless and the announcers laughing. Clearly, Kines was the only person to understand his message that his team needs to get off the field in the two-minute drill because his team gave up a game winning field goal with nine seconds.
You knew the game was over when: Cowboy kicker Jason Ricks nailed a 27-yard field goal with nine seconds left to put Oklahoma State ahead for good.
– Ian Robinson