West Virginia ran over Oklahoma 48-28 in the Fiesta Bowl and Bill Stewart became the only interim head coach to lead his team to victory in a bowl game this year. Navy, Texas A&M, Houston, UCLA and Georgia Tech all lost with interim head coaches. Pat White threw for 176 yards and 2 TD's, and ran for 150 more yards as the Mountaineers handed the Sooners their second straight Fiesta Bowl defeat. Oklahoma lost 43-42 in overtime to Boise State in this game last year. The Sooners have dropped four straight BCS bowl games. West Virginia has won three consecutive bowl games, two of which were BCS games.
Georgia whipped overmatched Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl 41-10 as the Warriors' 13-game winning streak came to a close, making this the first season since 2003 that no team made it through the regular season and bowl season without a loss. The Bulldogs improved to 9-2 over their last eleven bowl games by shutting down the nation's No. 2 passing attack. Colt Brennan was limited to 169 yards and left the game beaten and battered in the 4th quarter. He finished 22-of-38 with 3 INT's. Tyler Graunke came on to lead Hawaii to its only touchdown as he threw for 142 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT while completing 13-of-19 throws. After Hawaii kicked a field goal to make the score 7-3 in the first quarter, Georgia scored the next 34 points. Hawaii was close to Georgia in total yards (306-340) and had more first downs (21-19), but the Warriors turned the ball over six times.
USC had their way with Illinois, and when it didn't, the Illini shot themselves in the foot as the Trojans rolled to a 49-17 Rose Bowl win. As many expected, Illinois looked completely outmatched against a much more physical USC team that piled up a Rose Bowl record 633 yards. Freshman running back Joe McKnight had 125 yards and a score on only 10 carries, and sophomore Stafon Johnson needed just 9 carries to tally 104 yards. QB John David Booty was 25-of-37 for 255 yards and 3 TD's. Illinois looked like it might make it a game after falling behind 21-3 at halftime. The Illini opened the 3rd quarter with a touchdown and were driving again when Jacob Willis fumbled after a catch-and-run inside the USC 5-yard line. The Trojans then went 80 yards in 8 plays for a 28-10 lead when Illinois could have closed to within 21-17. That was one of four Illinois turnovers in a game that produced 1,078 total yards.
The Capital One Bowl provided a huge upset against the odds as 10-point underdog Michigan gave retiring head coach Lloyd Carr a winning send-off with a 41-35 victory over the defending national champion Florida Gators. Chad Henne threw for 373 yards and 3 Wolverine TD's, while running back Mike Hart collected 129 yards and two scores and overcame two rare fumbles. Florida QB Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner, threw for 154 yards and 3 scores, and tacked on 57 yards rushing and another touchdown. Both teams finished the season 9-4. The game had four lead changes and three ties. Surprising were the facts that Michigan turned the ball over four times while Florida had zero, and the Wolverines amassed a team total of 543 yards despite entering the game as the nation's 74th-best offense. Michigan snapped a four-game bowl losing streak, and Florida head coach Urban Meyer lost a bowl game for the first time ever (4-1).
Texas Tech scored 17 points in the final 3:31 of the Gator Bowl and beat Virginia 31-28 on Alex Trlica's 41-yard field goal with 2 seconds left. Red Raider QB Graham Harrell set Gator Bowl records for yards, completions and attempts as he went 44-of-69 for 407 yards and 3 TD's. The first half saw Virginia grab a 21-7 lead on a combination of two safeties,a field goal and two touchdowns. The safeties came when Harrell was twice flagged for intentional grounding from his own end zone. Cavalier running back Mike Simpson had a 96-yard TD run to set an NCAA bowl record for running backs, and finished the day with 170 yards on 20 carries.
Tony Temple set Cotton Bowl records by rushing for 281 yards and 4 TD's as Missouri blew out Arkansas 38-7. The Tigers finished the season 12-2 with their only losses coming against Oklahoma in the regular season, and again to the Sooners in the Big 12 championship game. Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden was kept to 104 yards and the Razorback's only TD. The Hogs lost four fumbles and threw one interception. Missouri QB Chase Daniel, who finished 3rd in the Heisman balloting, completed just 12-of-30 passes for 137 yards with 0 TD's and 1 INT.
Tennessee held off Wisconsin 21-17 in the Outback Bowl as Erik Ainge threw for 365 yards and 2 TD's. The Badgers were driving for the winning score in the final minute when Antonio Wardlow intercepted Tyler Donovan in the endzone. The Vols finished 10-4 with the victory in their second consecutive Outback Bowl appearance. Wisconsin was playing in its fourth straight New Year's Day bowl game in Florida with two Outback losses sandwiched around a pair of Capital One Bowl victories.
Auburn now has three 3-point bowl wins in the last four years after downing Clemson 23-20 in overtime in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The defensive struggle was deadlocked 17-all after regulation. Clemson took a 20-17 lead on a 25-yard field goal, but Auburn got a 7-yard TD run from Kodi Burns for the game-winner. Auburn was faced with a 4th-and-short on their overtime possession but elected to go for the first down instead of kicking a field goal to force a second overtime. Eight of Auburn's last ten bowl games have been decided by six points or less. Six of those eight were victories.
Oklahoma State rolled 49-33 over Indiana in the Insight Bowl, the Hoosiers' first bowl game since 1993. Indiana took a 3-0 lead on its first possession, then the Cowboys scored 28 straight points to leave no doubt as to which team would win. Oklahoma State led 35-10 at halftime, and 42-17 at the end of three quarters as Zac Robinson threw 3 TD passes and ran for two more scores.
Indiana concluded the season with a 7-6 record under first-year head coach Bill Lynch who served as Terry Hoeppner's offensive coordinator. Hoeppner succumbed to complications from a brain tumor on June 19 and the season was dedicated to him.
In a horribly officiated ballgame that took nearly 4-and-half hours to complete, Kentucky held off a depleted Florida State squad 35-28 in the Music City Bowl. The Seminoles were playing without 36 players who were left behind due to injury or suspension. A valiant late comeback effort from a 35-21 deficit fell short when a Hail Mary pass was batted down in the endzone on the final play of the game.
Justin Roper, a redshirt freshman, threw four touchdown passes as Oregon blasted USF 56-21 in the Sun Bowl. Jonathan Stewart added a career-high 253 rushing yards, including a 71-yard scoring run. Both teams were No. 2 in the BCS Standings at some point during the season. USF was No. 2 when the 2007 BCS Standings debuted on October 14. The Ducks were 8-1 and ranked 2nd when Heisman Trophy candidate Dennis Dixon was lost for the season with a knee injury in a loss at Arizona. Oregon finished the regular season with two more losses to UCLA and Oregon State, and its high-flying offense under Dixon was held scoreless by the Bruins. USF was a 1-TD favorite in the bowl game.
With its 40-28 win over Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl, Fresno State now has three bowl wins over ACC teams since 2002. The Yellow Jackets have been their victim twice. Interim head coach Jon Tenuta led Georgia Tech in the bowl game, but the program now turns over to Paul Johnson who was lured away from Navy.
California erased a 21-0 Air Force lead in the second quarter, and went on to defeat the Falcons 42-36 in the Armed Forces Bowl. It was only Cal's second win in its final eight games of the season after the Golden Bears opened with five straight wins. Kevin Riley replaced Nate Longshore at quarterback and threw three touchdown passes. He also added a 1-yard touchdown run.
In a battle between two 6-6 teams, Alabama scored the first 27 points of the game, then held on for a 30-24 Independence Bowl win over Colorado.
Penn State rallied from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter to down Texas A&M 24-17 in the Alamo Bowl as the Nittany Lions continued their mastery of the postseason in 81-year-old head coach Joe Paterno's 500th game. Paterno is the all-time leader in bowl appearances (34th) and bowl victories (23-10-1 record). Penn State is first nationally in bowl winning percentage (67.5, 26-12-2) among schools with at least ten bowl wins.
Mississippi State edged Central Florida 10-3 in the Liberty Bowl as the Bulldogs held NCAA rushing leader Kevin Smith to 119 yards, leaving him just 61 yards short of breaking Barry Sanders' single-season record of 2,628 set in 1988 at Oklahoma State.
Connecticut won the first half 10-0, but Wake Forest tallied 24 unanswered points in the second half to take a 24-10 Meineke Car Care Bowl win. The result left both teams with 9-4 records.
Yvenson Bernard carried 38 times for 177 yards, and freshman James Rodgers added 115 yards, as Oregon State ran down Maryland 21-14 in the Emerald Bowl. The Beavers fifth straight bowl win snapped Maryland's three-game bowl winning streak.
TCU defeated state rival Houston 20-13 in the Texas Bowl to cap an 8-5 season with three straight victories. A 7-yard touchdown run by Justin Watts early in the fourth quarter broke a 10-10 tie and proved to be the winning points. Houston drove to the TCU 19-yard line in the closing seconds, but three consecutive passes fell incomplete and the Cougars also finished the season with an 8-5 record.
TCU has won three consecutive bowl games for the first time since 1936-1939, while Houston has lost eight straight bowl games with its last victory coming in the 1980 Garden State Bowl. Houston has also lost eight straight games to TCU.
Matt Ryan's three touchdown passes led Boston College to its eighth straight bowl win, and gave the Eagles their first 11-win season since 1940. The 24-21 win over Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl gave Boston College an 11-3 record under first-year head coach Jeff Jagodzinksi.
Arizona State's five turnovers, and Texas RB Jamaal Charles' 161 yards and 2 TD's, helped the Longhorns roll to a 52-34 win at the Holiday Bowl. It's the first time in school history that Texas has won four bowl games in consecutive seasons. The Longhorns won five straight bowl games in the 1960's, but those were spread over seven seasons from 1963 through 1969.
Purdue blew a 41-20 lead with 12:53 to play, but Chris Summers' 40-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Boilermakers past Central Michigan 51-48 in the Motor City Bowl. Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter threw for a school record 546 yards while CMU QB Dan LeFavour threw four TD passes and ran for two more scores.
The 99 combined points is the second-highest ever recorded in a regulation bowl game. The record of 102 was tallied in California's 52-49 win over Virginia Tech at the 2003 Insight Bowl.
East Carolina relinquished a 38-14 third quarter lead, but kicked a 34-yard game-winning field goal as time expired, to upset Boise State 41-38 in the Hawai'i Bowl. The Broncos were a double-digit favorite by Vegas oddsmakers and a nearly 17-point pick by the Congrove Computer Rankings. It was East Carolina's first bowl win since 2000, raising the Pirates' bowl record to 5-4.
BYU freshman Eathyn Manumaleuna partially blocked UCLA freshman Kai Forbath's 28-yard game-winning field goal attempt as time expired to preserve a 17-16 Las Vegas Bowl win. Forbath had made field goals of 22, 50 and 52 yards earlier in the game.
BYU extended its winning streak to ten games while notching its second straight Las Vegas bowl victory. The Cougars (11-2) have played in this postseason affair in each of the last three seasons.
UCLA concluded a disappointing year at 6-7. Karl Dorrell was fired as head coach at the end of the regular season and DeWayne Walker, his defensive coordinator, was interim head coach for the bowl game.
New Mexico handed Nevada its first shutout loss since 1980, and earned its first bowl victory since 1961, with a 23-0 rout in the 2nd annual New Mexico Bowl. New Mexico has been to five bowl games in the past six seasons under head coach Rocky Long, and have played the last two on their own home field. The Lobos lost 20-12 to San Jose State in last season's inaugural New Mexico Bowl.
Ben Mauk threw four TD passes as Cincinnati downed Southern Miss 31-21 in the PapaJohns.com Bowl, ending Jeff Bower's 17-year career as head coach of the Golden Eagles. Cincinnati raised its record to 10-3 to give the school its first 10-win season since 1951.
FAU head coach Howard Schnellenberger improved to 5-0 in bowl games (2-0 with Miami, 2-0 with Louisville) as the Owls beat Memphis 44-27 in the New Orleans Bowl. It was the second straight win for the Sun Belt's representative in the game.
Sophomore QB Rusty Smith threw 5 TD passes as FAU broke to a 7-0 lead on the opening possession of the game. Memphis' Jay Thomas returned the ensuing kick-off 91 yards to forge a 7-7 tie, but the Tigers never got closer than 3 points after that. The Owls opened up a 30-13 lead in the second quarter. After weathering a Memphis rally that closed the gap to 30-27 in the third, FAU scored the final 14 points of the game to secure the win.
Utah won its seventh consecutive bowl game by holding off Navy 35-32 in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Utes opened a 10-point lead with 1:27 remaining, but Navy played all night with a never-say-die attitude. It only took the Midshipmen 30 seconds to climb back to within a field goal. With 57 ticks still left on the clock, Navy successfully converted an onside kick and had a crack at the miracle comeback. This time, however, an interception halted the threaton the second play of the drive.
Utah ripped off eight wins in its final nine games to end the season at 9-4. Navy was playing its first game under new head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who was promoted from assistant head coach when Paul Johnson filled the job opening at Georgia Tech. The loss dropped the Midshipmen to 8-5.
UNBEATEN TEAMS: Hawaii's unbeaten season ended with a 41-10 loss to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It's the first time since 2003 that not a single team made it through the regular season and bowl season undefeated.
WINLESS TEAMS: No one finished the season winless, though Idaho failed to beat a team from the bowl subdivision. 2002 was the last season that failed to produce a single winless football team.
FBS vs. FCS: The divisions were re-named late last year. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
This season, 78 bowl subdivision teams played a total of 80 games against schools from the championship subdivision (WAC members New Mexico State and Hawaii double-dipped). The FBS schools went 70-10 to improve to 290-35 (.892) since 2003.
The ten losses were:
*-Western Kentucky is currently in transition to become the ninth Sun Belt Conference football playing institution and the 120th Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) member. The Hilltoppers will play six SBC teams in 2008 and will be eligible for the conference title and a bowl berth in 2009.
STREAKS: Hawaii had its 13-game winning streak stopped by Georgia in a 41-10 Sugar Bowl loss. The Warriors will enter 2008 on a 15-game winning streak against WAC teams.
BYU has won 10 straight games, and 16 consecutive MWC games. The Cougars defeated UCLA 17-16 in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Boise State has won 44 consecutive regular season home games, and has a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (29-0). Those strings will continue into next season.
Minnesota, Idaho and SMU have each lost 10 straight. All three teams had already completed their seasons with 1-11 records.
NEW COACHES: The 2006 season featured 11 new head coaches. Five led their team to a bowl game.
This year, there were 24 coaching changes for the highest number since 2001 when there were 25. Nine led their team to a bowl game.
There was one bowl game where new coaches faced each other, and in that game Boston College beat Michigan State 24-21 in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Here is how each of the new coaches fared, in order by won-loss record.
Boston College, 11-3 under Jeff Jagodzinski, won 24-21 over Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl.