Okay, freshly back from a wedding in California (not MY wedding), I’m now ready to actually talk about the BCS title game and the year that was college football. We’re going to talk about the game that could’ve been, the season that was bookended by injuries, and some other interesting notes that popped up over the season. So, while this is a little late, sit back and enjoy us on your little trip through college football memory lane. Please keep your arms and head inside the windows.
First up, the BCS National Championship Game. So Alabama beat Texas. Everyone picked the Crimson Tide except for the ones that like their picks sexy. They were right, but how it got there was completely unexpected. Alabama got the ball and tried a fake punt deep in their territory that failed pretty heartily. Texas got a field goal out of it and then another one after an interception by Greg McElroy. So it was a bad start for Alabama. But it was worse for Texas. On the fifth offensive snap of the game, Colt McCoy went down with a shoulder injury and could not return to the game. It was all over after that.
Alabama scored 24 unanswered points to end the first half. The last one being an interception return for a touchdown by Marcell Dareus, the guy who injured McCoy. Freshmen quarterback Garrett Gilbert was the guilty party but he got his bearings and almost had the storybook comeback by dropping 14 points in the air to Jordan Shipley in the 3rd quarter. Alas, after nursing a ‘hamstring injury,’ Mark Ingram came back in the 4th and bowled over a tired Texas defense. A late interception return for Alabama sealed it at 37-21. Congratulations to the Crimson Tide.
Everyone will wonder what would’ve happened if Colt McCoy played the whole game. Some even say that Texas would’ve have won the game. Maybe so, maybe not. The game which started out disastrous ended up being very entertaining. The Longhorns can hold their head up high, as they never gave up when their star went down. They also have a new quarterback in Garrett Gilbert which I’m sure will take over the reigns very nicely. Alabama are the champs and Nick Saban earned his pay day. With Florida on its way out with Tim Tebow, look for the Crimson Tide to be the dominate team in the SEC for a couple of more years.
Alabama is not the only thing to look forward to in the coming football years. Last season we saw teams build up and other blow up. Pieces will be picked up and moved somewhere else in the hopes building on or rebuilding other program foundations. Sticking with the Big 12, we saw here in the state of Kansas two teams the display both sides. Bill Snyder 2.0 came back with a fury as he used his Swiss Army Knife of college football knowledge to hack together a program that came super close to winning the Big 12 North. Kansas, on the other hand, spiraled down into a bowl missing season and lost a coach in the process of it. We have very much to see in these two teams in the future.
The Big 12 North changed greatly this year, except at the top. New coach Paul Rhoads brought a bowl winning attitude to Iowa State. Missouri rebuilt very quickly in just one year. Colorado fell very short of expectations again, but at least the coach’s kid is no longer there. Nebraska was the only team to meet expectations. They even came very close to busting up the BCS. The black shirts are back and will be the favorite again going into the next year. All in all, the action in the North was totally worth it.
The Big 12 South saw some unxepected bumps too. Oklahoma started the bookend of quarterback shoulder injuries when Heismen winner Sam Bradford fell in the first game of the Big 12 year against BYU. Oklahoma didn’t recover fast enough, but with yet another Freshmen quarterback in Landry Jones, they mustered a bowl appearance. Baylor was going to be the big upsetter until Robert Griffith went down for the year. Texas Tech fell a bit but went to a bowl game, sans freshly fired pirate Mike Leach. Texas A&M showed back up and made a nice bowl appearance. Oklahoma State were the darlings of the south until they choked big time last in the season. Texas stayed up top here for the year but nearly lost it all against Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game. Some bad decisions by Colt McCoy and Mack Brown almost lost it, but a last second kick sealed the win for the Longhorns. We’re thinking Texas will be in the same place again next year.
As for the rest of college football, the only major teams that jumps into our minds are Oregon, Boise State, and TCU. Oregon’s season almost blew up in the first game when Boise State upset them handily for the season opener. Even more blown up was LeGarrette Blount’s punch to Byron Hout at the end of the game. Blount got suspended and Boise State went undefeated. Oregon recovered so well that they won the Pac 10 and made an appearance in the Rose Bowl. Boise State kept winning, even beating Gary Patterson’s TCU Horned Frogs. TCU started out quiet, but when they kept winning by big numbers against quality opponents, they vaulted up into 3rd place in the BCS standings at one point. They lost their final game against the Broncos, but both mid majors look to be major players in the years to come.
Now we can go on and pick out each conference and what was great and not so great, but we’re not. There was plenty of football to go around Big 12 wise as well as nationally. One thing we can say, and we usually do every year, is that this season of football brought the surprises, the upsets, the heartbreak, the smack talk, and every other thing that makes college football the best sport out there. Thanks to everyone that followed us the last couple of months. We’ll start the off season schedule of Crib Sheets and Mascot Mondays on February 1st. Until then, let’s all bask in the glory that was the 2009 college football season.