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Bowl Recaps:
Alabama Gives SEC Fourth Straight National Championship

by Dave Congrove and CFP Staff
January 8, 2010

Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram ran for 116 yards and 2 scores, and Trent Richardson added 109 yards and 2 scores, as Alabama knocked off Texas 37-21 to give the SEC its fourth straight BCS Championship. Texas QB Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury on his opening series and true freshman Garrett Gilbert threw two first-half interceptions as the Tide took a 24-6 halftime lead. Gilbert threw 2 TD passes to Jordan Shipley and a 2-pt. conversion toss to Dan Buckner to get Texas to within 24-21 with 6:15 left in the game. But when the Longhorns got the ball back with 3:14 to play, Gilbert fumbled on a blind side sack and Ingram scored 3 plays later for a 31-21 advantage. Gilbert was intercepted by Javier Arenas on the next series and Richardson scored three plays later for the final points.

Conference Bowl Records
Conference W-L Games Pct.
Independents 1-0 1 1.000
Mountain West 4-1 5 .800
Big East 4-2 6 .667
SEC 6-4 10 .600
Big 10 4-3 7 .571
Big 12 4-4 8 .500
Sun Belt 1-1 2 .500
WAC 2-2 4 .500
ACC 3-4 7 .429
CUSA 2-4 6 .333
PAC-10 2-5 7 .286
MAC 1-4 5 .200
Through games of 1/7

The SEC has won all four games since the BCS Championship game was established as a separate affair in 2006. Nick Saban became the first head coach to win a BCS title at two different schools. Saban was the head coach of LSU's 2003 BCS championship team. Texas saw its 5-bowl winning streak come to an end, as did its undefeated record against Alabama. The Longhorns now lead the series 7-1-1.

Central Michigan snapped the MAC's 14-bowl losing streak with a 44-41 double-overtime GMAC Bowl victory over Troy in one of the best games of the bowl season. The Chippewas' Dan LeFevour threw for 395 yards and Antonio Brown had 403 all-purpose yards. The Trojans' Levi Brown passed for 386 and Jerrel Jernigan amassed 350 all-purpose yards. Brown's 95-yard kickoff return drew Central Michigan back to within 5 points after DuJuan Harris' 1-yard run had just put the Trojans ahead 31-19. Following a Troy punt, LeFevour directed an 85-yard drive that resulted in a 34-31 CMU lead after the 2-point conversion with 1:17 left. But Brown drove the Trojans to the CMU 29 where a 46-yard field goal by Michael Taylor sent the game into overtime. The teams exchanged TD's in the first OT before Vince Agnew blocked Taylor's 32-yard attempt in Troy's half of the 2nd OT. Andrew Aguila then drilled the 37-yard game-winner down the middle for his 5th made field goal of the game. Troy also lost last year's New Orleans Bowl on a blocked field goal in OT. CMU was without head coach Butch Jones who had already moved on to Cincinnati. Steve Stripling, the defense associate head coach under Jones, served as interim head coach. It was the second double-overtime game in GMAC Bowl history. In 2001, Byron Leftwich rallied Marshall from a 38-8 halftime deficit to beat David Garrard and East Carolina 64-61 in 2 OT's.

Ricky Stanzi threw two first quarter touchdown passes and Iowa went on to defeat Georgia Tech 24-14 in the Orange Bowl. The Hawkeyes' 30th-ranked rushing defense held the nation's 2nd-best rushing offense to 143 yards. The Ramblin' Wreck only managed 156 yards overall and 9 first downs. Georgia Tech's only points in the first 47:30 came off an interception return as it took its 5th straight bowl loss. Iowa's victory means the top four teams in the Big Ten - Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State and Wisconsin - swept their bowl games. The Yellow Jackets were making their first appearance in a major bowl game since the 1966 season Orange Bowl and haven't won a major since the 1955 season Sugar Bowl. This was Iowa's first major bowl victory since the 1957 season Rose Bowl. The kickoff temperature was 49 degrees in south Florida making it the coldest Orange Bowl ever played.

TCU and Boise State wanted to prove themselves against "Big 6" schools. Instead, they were paired with each other in the Fiesta Bowl after playing in last year's Poinsettia Bowl. Boise State prevailed 17-10 to avenge last year's loss. The Broncos had won just one of their five previous bowl games and were 0-2 since their monumental overtime upset of Oklahoma in this game three years ago. This victory not only stopped Boise State's bowl slide, it halted the Horned Frogs' 4-bowl winning streak and 14-game overall winning streak while extending the Broncos' own win streak to 14 games. It also handed the Mountain West Conference its first loss of the bowl season.

Trailing 31-27, interim head coach Ruffin McNeill switched quarterbacks and Texas Tech rallied to a 41-31 Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State. Steven Sheffield immediately drove the Red Raiders 77 yards, completing all 6 pass attempts, to put Texas Tech up 34-31. After intercepting the Spartans on the next series, McNeill made two crucial calls that ultimately eliminated any chance of a Michigan State comeback. The first came after Alexander Torres dropped a 3rd-down pass. McNeill eschewed the field goal and went back to Torres with the same play to convert the first down. Moments later, faced with 4th-and-4 at the Spartans' 18-yard line with 3 minutes still remaining, McNeill again opted to trust his offense. After gaining the first down again, Baron Batch ran for a 13-yard TD on the next play and the victory was sealed. Sheffield finished 9-of-11 for 88 yards. Potts was 29-of-43 for 372 yards, 2 TD's and 1 INT.

Both teams dealt with distractions leading up to the bowl game. McNeill was serving in place of the fired Mike Leach who was alleged to have singled-out WR Adam James (son of ESPN analyst and former SMU running back Craig James) for mistreatment after he was diagnosed with a concussion. The school cited cause in terminating Leach's contract one day prior to contractually owing an $800,000 bonus. Michigan State was without several key players that were either suspended or dismissed from the team after a November 22 dormitory brawl.

Alex Tejada's 37-yard field goal in overtime gave Arkansas a 20-17 Liberty Bowl win over East Carolina. Ben Hartman missed on two game-winning opportunities for the Pirates in regulation and missed again in overtime. Hartman came into the game having made 19-of-25 field goals and ranked 3rd in Conference USA in scoring. Arkansas was winless in 3 previous Liberty Bowl appearances and has won just 3 of its last 15 bowl games overall.

Two touchdowns in the final 4:03 of the game broke a 7-7 tie and lifted Ole Miss past Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. Dexter McCluster scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard run from a direct snap, part of his 182-yard performance that included an 86-yard run for a 7-0 lead in the 2nd quarter. The Rebels improved to 21-12 in bowl games and own the 3rd-best winning percentage among teams with at least 20 bowl appearances.

Andre Dixon rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown as UConn won a defensive battle in the Bowl, defeating favored South Carolina 20-7. Connecticut ended the season on a 4-game winning streak, spawned by an overtime upset victory at Notre Dame. South Carolina concluded its season with losses in 4 of its last 5 games, and 5 of its last 7. Four different Big East teams have won this bowl game in its four years of existence.

Mike Ford ran for a career high 207 yards and a TD as USF outscored Northern Illinois 24-0 in the second half of its International Bowl win over Northern Illinois. 189 of Ford's total yards cane in the second half. Redshirt freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels completed of 14-of-22 passes for 217 yards with touchdown tosses of 46 and 7 yards to A.J. Love. The Bulls improved to 3-2 in their fifth consecutive bowl appearance. The Huskies fell to 2-3 in bowl games with their 3rd straight bowl loss.

Northern Illinois' loss was the MAC's 14th consecutive bowl defeat at the time.

Nine teams have played in, but never won, a bowl game. Two are from CUSA, one is from the Sun Belt and a whopping six are from the MAC - Ball State (0-5), Ohio (0-4), Western Michigan (0-4), Akron (0-1), Buffalo (0-1) and Kent State (0-1). The entire list can be found under "Bowl Facts' further down in this article.

Tim Tebow passed for 482 yards and 3 TD's, and ran for 51 yards and a score, as Florida trounced previously unbeaten Cincinnati 51-24 in the Sugar Bowl. In his final collegiate game, Tebow broke Vince Young's record of 467 total yards in a BCS bowl with 533 and the Gators churned up 659 yards of offense as a team. He completed his first 12 passes and finished 31-of-35. He wraps up his career with 145 total touchdowns (88 passing, 57 running). Florida jumped out to a 23-0 lead before Cincinnati got on the scoreboard with a field goal. It was 30-3 at halftime and 44-10 at the end of three quarters.

Terrelle Pryor threw for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 26-17 Ohio State win over Oregon in the Rose Bowl. He added 72 more yards on the ground. The Buckeyes held Jeremiah Masoli to just 81 yards passing and LaMichael James to 70 yards rushing. Ohio State ended its 3-bowl losing streak in its first Rose Bowl appearance since the 1996 season. Oregon last played in the most-storied bowl game in the 1994 season and was looking for its first victory in this game in 93 years. The Ducks' only Rose Bowl win came on January 1, 1917 (1916 season) when it defeated the Penn Quakers 14-0.

Bobby Bowden fittingly went out a winner as Florida State rallied from a 14-3 deficit to down West Virginia 33-21 in the Gator Bowl. It was a battle between the two teams Bowden served as head coach for the last 40 years. Bowden led West Virginia from 1970-1975 and Florida State from 1976-2009. He retires as the No. 2 all-time winningest coach with a record of 389-129-4. The win also secured his 33rd consecutive winning season in his 28th straight bowl appearance.

Almost simultaneously, Joe Paterno notched his 394th win (394-128-3) with a 19-17 last-second victory over LSU in the Capital One Bowl. The Nittany Lions gave up a 13-3 halftime lead but claimed victory on Collin Wagner's 21-yard field goal with 57 seconds left. The game was played on a rain-soaked field in Orlando that was pocked with crater-sized divots.

Northwestern twice overcame 14-point deficits and forced overtime before failing to win a bowl game for the first time since the 1949 Rose Bowl (end of 1948 season). Auburn opened the overtime with a 21-yard field goal and then, a wild game got wilder. Two Northwestern turnover calls were correctly reversed by replay and a penalty for roughing the kicker nullified a missed field goal to give the Wildcats yet another lease on life. But a fake field goal attempt on 4th down was well-defended by Auburn to allow it to finally pull out the 38-35 win in the Outback Bowl.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Williams ran for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns as Virginia Tech rolled over Tennessee 37-14 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Williams set ACC single-season records with 21 rushing touchdowns and 22 total scores. Tennessee had 5 net yards rushing, including 6 sacks for 55 yards in losses as Virginia Tech (10-3) secured its sixth straight season of 10-plus wins.

Minnesota turned the ball over twice deep in Iowa State territory and the Cyclones held on to win the Insight Bowl 14-13. Iowa State was poised to let all of its 14-3 halftime lead disappear when it recovered MarQueis Gray's fumble at its 21-yard line with 4:04 to play. Paul Rhoads posted a winning record (7-6) in his debut season, the first Cyclone coach to accomplish that feat since George Veenker in 1931. The Golden Gophers have lost 4 straight bowl games, the last 3 of which have been in the Insight Bowl.

Navy QB Ricky Dobbs set the NCAA single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 24 in the regular season. He added three more and threw a TD pass in a 35-13 rout of Missouri in the Texas Bowl. The win snapped a 3-bowl losing skid for the Midshipmen.

Landry Jones threw for 418 yards and 3 TD passes to Ryan Broyles as Oklahoma halted a 3-bowl losing streak with a 31-27 Sun Bowl victory over Stanford. The Cardinal have lost three straight bowl games with their last win occurring here in 1996.

Air Force intercepted Case Keenum 6 times in a 47-20 Armed Forces Bowl victory over Houston that improved the Mountain West's bowl record to 4-0. The Falcons piled up 562 yards of offense and held the nation's top passer to 222 yards and 1 touchdown. Jared Tew (176 yards) and Asher Clark (127 yards) each scored two touchdowns. The Air Force victory was its first in a bowl game since the 2000 Silicon Valley Classic, ending a 3-bowl losing streak. The Cougars have lost 9 of their last 10 bowl games.

Nebraska pitched the first shutout of its 46-bowl history, demolishing Arizona 33-0. It was the first time in the 32-year history of the Holiday Bowl that was a team was held to fewer than 10 points. Three of Arizona's 5 first downs, and 72 of its 109 yards, came on its final drive. Matt O'Hanlon intercepted Nick Foles on the third play of the game and Zac Lee scored 2 plays later and the rout was on.

Max Komar made a sliding catch of a 16-yard pass from Nathan Enderle with 4 seconds left pulled Idaho to within one and Enderle's 2-point conversion pass to Preston Davis gave Idaho an improbable 43-42 win in the Humanitarian Bowl. Improbable, because the Falcons had just taken a 42-35 lead with only 32 second left in the game when Tyler Sheehan threw a 51-yard bomb to Freddie Barnes. A 50-yard pass from Enderle to Davis put Idaho in business for the comeback. Barnes caught 17 passes for 219 yards and 3 touchdowns for Bowling Green to set a new NCAA record with 155 receptions in a single season, breaking the record of 142 set by Manny Hazard of Houston in 1989.

Wisconsin sacked Jacory Harris 5 times and John Clay had a pair of 3-yard rushing touchdowns in the first half as the Badgers won the Champs Sports Bowl 20-14 over Miami. Down 20-7, the Hurricanes scored a touchdown with 1:22 and recovered the onside kick, but a sack and 3 incompletions killed the threat. The Badgers broke a 2-bowl losing streak on their 6th consecutive bowl trip to Florida, including four visits to Orlando where they are now 3-1. Wisconsin outgained Miami 430-249, held the 'Canes to 61 yards rushing and controlled the ball for nearly 40 minutes.

Akeem Ayers intercepted a pass at the Temple 2-yard line and returned it for the go-ahead score with 6:01 left to propel UCLA to a 30-21 comeback win in the EagleBank Bowl. The Owls took a surprising 21-7 lead in the 2nd quarter but lost all offensive momentum after Bernard Pierce, the nation's No. 9 running back in yards per game, left with an apparent shoulder injury and never returned. The victory averted a losing season for UCLA (7-6). Temple finished 9-4 to end a string of 18 consecutive losing seasons. The Owls were appearing in just their third bowl game in history and first since the 1979 Garden State Bowl.

Georgia closed out the Independence Bowl on a 30-6 run to defeat Texas A&M 44-20. The game was tied at 14-all in the 3rd quarter before the Bulldogs took over the game. Special teams mistakes were the eventual undoing of the Aggies. Texas A&M had a field goal and a punt blocked, snapped a ball over the punter's head, and allowed an 81-yard kickoff return. Georgia picked up it's 26th bowl win and 4th in-a-row to improve to 11-2 in its last 13 tries. Texas A&M has lost 11 of its last 13 bowls.

Clemson snapped its 3-bowl losing streak, and ended Kentucky's 3-bowl winning streak, with a 21-13 win at Nashville's Music City Bowl. The Tigers capitalized on the only turnover of the game when they recovered a fumble at the Kentucky 19-yard line with 11:33 left to play. C.J. Spiller scored on an 8-yard run just three plays later. The 'Cats following drive ended on downs at the Tigers' 25-yard line and they never touched the ball again as Clemson ran the last 5:28 off the clock. Spiller had 172 all-purpose yards to move into 2nd on the FBS career list for that statistical category.

USC made the most of its first non-BCS bowl appearance in 8 years and claimed the Emerald Bowl trophy with a 24-13 decision over Boston College. It was USC's 4th consecutive bowl win, and 7th in their last 8 tries. The Eagles are on a 2-bowl slide after winning 8 straight from 2000-2007. USC leading rusher Joe McKnight (1,014 yards, 8 TD's) did not play amidst an investigation into his alleged improper use of an SUV, but Damian Williams caught 12 passes for 189 yards to end the year with 1,010. Stanley Havili had TD receptions of 53 and 5 yards as Matt Barkley completed 27-of-37 for 350 yards with 2 TD's and 2 INT's.

Pittsburgh snapped a 3-bowl losing streak with a 19-17 win over North Carolina at the Meineke Car Care Bowl as Dion Lewis broke Tony Dorsett's school freshman rushing record. Lewis ran for 159 yards and a touchdown and Dan Hutchins kicked the game-winning 33-yard field goal with 52 seconds left. The win secured Pitt's first 10-win season (10-3) since 1981. North Carolina has 3 straight bowl losses, all in this game.

MAC teams have lost 3 straight bowl games in Detroit. Marshall sprung to a 21-0 lead, then held on to defeat Ohio 21-17 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The Herd was driving to potentially make it 28-0 before a fumble was returned 75 yards for Ohio's first points. The Bobcats scored a touchdown and a field goal in the 3rd quarter following a 15-yard punt and a blocked punt, but neither team scored after that. Marshall was led by interim head coach Rick Minter in place of the fired Mark Snyder. John "Doc' Holliday will take over as head coach after West Virginia's bowl game. Ohio fell to 0-4 overall in bowl games while Marshall improved to 6-2, including a 4-1 bowl record in Detroit. The bowl made history as Sarah Thomas became the first woman to officiate a college bowl game.

Nevada was without two of its three 1,000-yard rushers - Vai Taua and Luke Lippincott - and maybe it could have used that as an excuse for losing the Hawai'i Bowl to a 19-point computer underdog in SMU, but 45-10 is absurd. It was bad for Nevada, bad for the WAC, and great for SMU. June Jones returned to his former stomping grounds and stomped Nevada from the outset. The former coach of Hawai'i needed just two seasons to get the Mustangs to their first bowl game since defeating Notre Dame here in the 1984 Aloha Bowl. His team needed just 3 plays to take a lead it would never even come close to relinquishing. True freshman quarterback Kyle Padron was 32-of-41 for 460 yards. Nevada's top-ranked rushing offense was held to 137 yards on the ground. The loss was Nevada's 4th straight in a bowl game. SMU turned in a final record of 8-5 after totaling 8 wins in the previous three seasons.

Utah ripped Cal 37-27 in the Poinsettia Bowl. After falling behind 14-0 after the first quarter, Utah scored 27 unanswered points that included 3 Jordan Wynn touchdown passes. After Cal finally got on the board again, the Utes put the game away with Joe Phillips' third field goal and a 27-yard interception return. The Golden Bears tried to make things interesting at the end when Kevin Riley's 24-yard TD pass to Jeremy Ross made it 37-27. However, Riley's attempted 2-pt. conversion pass failed under heavy pressure and the ensuing onside kick attempt was recovered cleanly by Utah.

Max Hall threw 3 TD passes and Oregon State lost two fumbles as BYU routed the Beavers 44-20 in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Oregon State led 7-0 early, but the Cougars ripped off the next 37 points. The Rodgers' brothers - RB Jacquizz and WR James - were held to a combined 97 yards rushing and receiving as the Beavers saw their 5-bowl winning streak come crashing to a halt. Brigham Young was playing in its 5th consecutive Vegas bowl game.

Middle Tennessee QB Dwight Dasher threw for 2 TD's and ran for 2 more in a 42-32 upset win over Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl. In the process, Dasher broke Vince Young's QB bowl rushing record with 201 yards and USM's Damion Fletcher became just the 9th player to rush for 1,000 yards in all four seasons. Southern Miss jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, then was outscored 28-6 over the next two quarters. Middle Tennessee extended its winning streak to 7 games with its first bowl victory (1-1) and secured a 10-win season (10-3). Sun Belt teams have won 3 of the last 4 New Orleans Bowl games.

Billy Anderson's 19-yard interception return just before halftime gave Rutgers a 28-17 lead and propelled a 17-0 run as the Scarlet Knights beat UCF 45-24 in the St. Petersburg Bowl. Only two-and-a-half minutes were left in the game when UCF finally scored again, and Rutgers' linebacker Damaso Munoz answered by returning the ensuing onside kick 37 yards for a touchdown. The Scarlet Knights improved its overall bowl record to 4-2 with its 4th straight bowl win, while the Golden Knights are still winless in three bowl trips.

Wyoming rallied from a 11-point deficit in the 4th quarter and ultimately upset 2-TD favorite Fresno State 35-28 in double overtime at the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque. The Pokes held Fresno State on downs in the 2nd extra period after freshman QB Austin Carta-Samuels had put Wyoming on top with his 3rd TD pass of the game, a 13-yarder to David Leonard. A 19-play drive at the end of regulation set up a 37-yard game-tying field goal by Ian Watts who later missed a 40-yard game-winner in the 1st overtime.

A new coaching story broke on Monday, December 28 when Texas Tech revealed it had suspended head coach Mike Leach indefinitely pending an investigation of alleged mistreatment of an injured player. That player was later learned to be WR Adam James, son of ESPN analyst Craig James. Leach was subsequently fired two days later and defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill was named interim coach for the Alamo Bowl game against Michigan State on January 2.

On Saturday, December 26, Florida announced that Urban Meyer had resigned out of concern for his own personal health. The next day, the resignation became an indefinite leave of absence that would begin after the Sugar Bowl. Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will serve as the interim head coach until Meyer's return.

The BCS Championship game came 33 days after Alabama and Texas had each played their last football game.

This year's bowl games were strewn over 17 days of scheduling. Can we please constrict it to 8 days or so? While we're at it, let's eliminate the double-hosting format so we can shave a week off the wait for the BCS title game - 33 days between the end of a season and a championship game is unnecessary when there are plenty of other great venues which can be used.

Politicians in Washington, D.C. still keep trying to insert themselves in the BCS vs. playoff argument, despite the multitude of larger issues they should be dealing with. They claim they can walk and chew gum at the same time, but most Americans agree they are are constantly tripping over their own feet.

From my perspective - and I know I speak for the majority on this subject - TCU and Boise State both got BCS bowl invitations and still managed to get screwed. They should have have been placed in separate games against schools from one of the "Big 6" conferences, and not pitted against each other for the third time in seven years. We could have had two extremely interesting BCS bowl games instead of one that nobody could get very excited about.

A large predicted margin of victory doesn't necessarily mean that team will even win. While Florida routed Cincinnati 51-24 as a 13.72-point computer pick in the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma only edged Stanford 31-27 as a 14.89-point computer favorite. Meanwhile, Fresno State lost 35-28 to Wyoming in double-overtime as a 13.36-point computer choice, and 19.03-point favorite Nevada was trounced 45-10 by SMU.

The slimmest predicted victory margins in this season's bowl games belonged to Ohio State and Oregon State, each of whom were favored by 0.43 points in their respective games - the Buckeyes vs. Oregon, and the Beavers vs. BYU. Ohio State won 26-17 while Oregon State lost 44-20.

The 2009 bowl season featured 15 games with forecasted margins of 4 points or less, 3 of which had projected spreads of less than 1 point.

Before a single snap was taken in the 2009 season, the Congrove Computer Rankings' preseason projections correctly identified 54 of the 71 bowl eligible teams - including Temple.

The computer also projected the exact regular season record of 23 teams (up 1 from a year ago) and came within one victory on 34 others (8 more than a year).

The computer's preseason rankings correctly tabbed the winners of the Big Ten (Ohio State was forecasted co-champ), MAC, Sun Belt and WAC conferences. It also nailed the winners of both SEC divisions, MAC West and CUSA East. Four more conferences or divisions were won by teams that the computer picked to finish second.

Can We Go Somewhere Else For Vacation Next Year? Please????
BYU played in the Las Vegas Bowl for the fifth straight season.

Four of Kentucky's last five bowl appearances have been in the Music City Bowl.

Minnesota's last three bowl appearances have been in the Insight Bowl. Three of their previous four bowl trips were to the Music City Bowl.

Air Force has played in three straight Armed Forces Bowls. The Falcons met Houston in that game for the second straight season.

Mississippi's last seven bowl destinations have been Independence, Independence, Music City, Independence, Cotton, Cotton, Cotton.

North Carolina's last three bowl appearances have been in Charlotte.

Southern Miss has played in the New Orleans Bowl four times in its last six bowl games.

TCU and Boise State faced each other for the second straight year, and third time in the last seven. They did upgrade this season to the Fiesta Bowl after staging their prior matchups in the Fort Worth and Poinsettia Bowls.

Not Complaining:
Wisconsin has played six straight bowl games in the state of Florida with two visits to Tampa (Outback) and four to Orlando (Champs Sports and Capital One).

Bowl First-Timers:
None of this year's bowl teams fit into this category. The explosion of bowl games has allowed three teams to become first-time participants over the past three years. Last year, it was Buffalo in the International Bowl. In 2007, it was FAU in the Motor City Bowl. In 2006, it was Middle Tennessee in the New Orleans Bowl.

4 Who Have Never Been:
These teams have never played in a major college bowl game:
Western Kentucky

First Time In A Long Time:
Of the teams that made it this year, these had the longest wait to get back to a bowl game:
Temple, 1979
SMU, 1984
Idaho, 1998

Waiting To Return
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl absence:
New Mexico State, 1960
Kent State, 1972
Eastern Michigan, 1987
Baylor, 1994
Duke, 1995
Army, 1996
Utah State, 1997
San Diego State, 1998

Bowl Appearance Streak
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances:
Florida State, 28
Florida, 19
Virginia Tech, 17
Georgia, 13
Georgia Tech, 13

Bowl Winning Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl victories (last season of a bowl loss in parenthesis):
Utah, 9 (1996) - Includes a 37-27 win over Cal in this year's Poinsettia Bowl
Georgia, 4 (2005) - Includes 44-20 win over Texas A&M in this year's Independence Bowl
Mississippi, 4 (2000) - Includes 21-7 win over Oklahoma State in this year's Cotton Bowl
Rutgers, 4 (2005) - Includes 45-24 win over UCF in this year's St. Petersburg Bowl
USC, 4 (2005) - Includes 24-13 win over Boston College in this year's Emerald Bowl

Note: Oregon State had its 5-bowl winning streak snapped in a 44-20 loss to BYU in the MACCO Bowl Las Vegas. Texas had its 5-bowl winning streak snapped in a 37-21 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship game. Cal had its 4-bowl winning streak snapped in a 37-27 loss to Utah in the Poinsettia Bowl. LSU had its 4-bowl winning streak snapped in a 19-17 loss to Penn State in the Capital One Bowl. West Virginia had its 4-bowl winning streak snapped in a 33-21 loss to Florida State in the Gator Bowl. TCU had its 4-bowl winning streak snapped in a 17-10 loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Bowl Losing Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl losses (last season of a bowl win in parenthesis):
Northwestern, 7 (1948) - Includes 38-35 overtime loss to Auburn in this year's Outback Bowl
Ball State, 5 (Never)
Georgia Tech, 5 (2004) - Includes 24-14 loss to Iowa in this year's Orange Bowl
Michigan State, 4 (2001) - Includes 41-31 loss to Texas Tech in this year's Alamo Bowl
Nevada, 4 (2005) - Includes 45-10 loss to SMU in this year's Hawai'i Bowl
Minnesota, 4 (2004) - Includes 14-13 loss to Iowa State in this year's Insight Bowl
Texas A&M, 4 (2001) - Includes 44-20 loss to Georgia in this year's Independence Bowl
Western Michigan, 4 (Never)
UTEP, 4 (1967)

Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)
Ball State, 0-5
Ohio, 0-4 - Includes 21-17 loss to Marshall in this year's Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Western Michigan, 0-4
Central Florida, 0-3 - Includes 45-24 loss to Rutgers in this year's St. Petersburg Bowl
Akron, 0-1
Arkansas State, 0-1
Buffalo, 0-1
Kent State, 0-1
UAB, 0-1
Note: Middle Tennessee notched its first bowl victory with a 42-32 win over Southern Miss in this year's New Orleans Bowl.

Best Bowl Winning Percentage
(Minimum 20 appearances. Source: College Football Data Warehouse)

Penn State, .667 (27-13-2) - Includes 19-17 win over LSU in this year's Capital One Bowl
USC, .667 (32-16) - Includes 24-13 win over Boston College in this year's Emerald Bowl
Mississippi, .636 (21-12) - Includes 21-7 win over Oklahoma State in this year's Cotton Bowl
Boston College, .619 (13-8) - Includes 24-13 loss to USC in this year's Emerald Bowl
Georgia, .611 (26-16-3) - Includes 44-20 win over Texas A&M in this year's Independence Bowl
Florida State, .605 (22-14-2) - Includes 33-21 win over West Virginia in this year's Gator Bowl
Auburn, .600 (20-13-2) - Includes 38-35 overtime win over Northwestern in this year's Outback Bowl
Oklahoma State, .600 (12-8) - Includes 21-7 loss to Mississippi in this year's Cotton Bowl
Oklahoma, .593 (25-17-1) - Includes 31-27 win over Stanford in this year's Sun Bowl
Alabama, .588 (32-22-3) - Includes 37-21 win over Texas in this year's BCS Championship game.

Most Bowl Wins
Southern Cal, 32 - Includes 24-13 win over Boston College in this year's Emerald Bowl
Alabama, 32 - Includes 37-21 win over Texas in this year's BCS Championship game.
Penn State, 27 - Includes 19-17 win over LSU in this year's Capital One Bowl
Georgia, 26 - Includes 44-20 win over Texas A&M in this year's Independence Bowl
Oklahoma, 25 - Includes 31-27 win over Stanford in this year's Sun Bowl
Tennessee, 25 - Includes 37-14 loss to Virginia Tech in this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl
Texas, 25 - Includes 37-21 loss to Alabama in this year's BCS Championship game.
Nebraska, 24 - Includes 33-0 win over Arizona in this year's Holiday Bowl
Florida State, 22 - Includes 33-21 win over West Virginia in this year's Gator Bowl
Georgia Tech, 22 - Includes 24-14 loss to Iowa in this year's Orange Bowl
LSU, 21 - Includes 19-17 loss to Penn State in this year's Capital One Bowl
Mississippi, 21 - Includes 21-7 win over Oklahoma State in this year's Cotton Bowl
Auburn, 20 - Includes 38-35 overtime win over Northwestern in this year's Outback Bowl

Only Alabama (14-0) and Boise State (14-0) finished the entire saeason undefeated.

The computer predicted 6 teams would be undefeated prior to any conference championship games and there were exactly 6 that did so - Alabama (12-0), Boise State (13-0), Cincinnati (12-0), Florida (12-0) Texas (12-0) and TCU (12-0). Florida fell from the list when it lost to Alabama in the SEC title game. Cincinnati lost to Florida in the Sugar Bowl, TCU lost to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl and Texas fell to Alabama in the BCS Championship game.

Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky each finished the year at 0-12. The computer's preseason forecast projected Miami (Ohio) as the only winless team, but the RedHawks went 1-11. Eastern Michigan was projected to 2-10 and Western Kentucky was forecasted to go 1-11.

FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams were 89-5 vs. FCS teams on the year (.947), and are 464-42 (.917) since 2003.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/19: Central Arkansas 28, Western Kentucky 7
New Hampshire 23, Ball State 16. New Hampshire also has wins at Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17)
9/5: Richmond 24, Duke 16; William & Mary 26, Virginia 14
9/3: Villanova 27, Temple 24

This year, 87 FBS teams played a total of 94 games against FCS foes. Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rutgers and USF each played two FCS teams.

Texas had its 17-game winning streak snapped in the 37-21 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship game.

Boise State has 14 straight wins after defeating TCU 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Broncos also have streaks of 25 regular season wins, 26 home wins, 56 regular season home wins, and 42 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (36-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 4-1 in their last five matches against BCS conference schools.

Alabama has 14 straight wins overall and 24 straight regular season wins.

TCU had its 14-game winning streak snapped in a 17-10 loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Cincinnati had its 12-game overall winning streak snapped with its 51-24 loss to Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The Bearcats still own an 18-game regular season winning streak.

Oklahoma has 29 straight home victories. The Sooners defeated Stanford 31-27 in the Sun Bowl.

Utah has 17 straight home wins. Regular season complete. The Utes defeated California 37-27 in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Western Kentucky has lost 20 straight overall and 25 straight to FBS teams. Season complete.

Eastern Michigan has lost 12 straight overall. Season complete.

Washington State has lost 9 straight. Season complete.

Colorado State has lost 9 straight. Season complete.

22 teams had a new college football coach in the FBS ranks this season. Only Eastern Michigan went winless. 17 teams saw a first-year improvement under their new regime.

How New Coaches Fared
Army 5-7 Rich Ellerson Season complete
Auburn 8-5 Gene Chizik Won 38-35 in OT vs. Northwestern (Outback Bowl)
Ball State 2-10 Stan Parrish Season complete
Boston College 8-5 Frank Spaziani Lost 24-13 to USC (Emerald Bowl)
Bowling Green 7-6 Dave Clawson Lost 43-42 to Idaho (Humanitarian Bowl)
*-Clemson 9-5 Dabo Swinney Won 21-13 vs. Kentucky (Music City Bowl)
Eastern Michigan 0-12 Ron English Season complete
Iowa State 7-6 Paul Rhoads Won 14-13 vs. Minnesota (Insight Bowl)
Kansas State 6-6 Bill Snyder Season complete
Miami (O.) 1-11 Michael Haywood Season complete
Mississippi State 5-7 Dan Mullen Season complete
New Mexico 1-11 Mike Locksley Season complete
New Mexico State 3-10 DeWayne Walker Season complete
Oregon 10-3 Chip Kelly Lost 26-17 vs. Ohio State (Rose Bowl)
Purdue 5-7 Danny Hope Season complete
San Diego State 4-8 Brady Hoke Season complete
Syracuse 4-8 Doug Marrone Season complete
Tennessee 7-6 Lane Kiffin Lost 37-14 vs. Virginia Tech (Chick-fil-A Bowl)
Toledo 5-7 Tim Beckman Season complete
Utah State 4-8 Gary Andersen Season complete
Washington 5-7 Steve Sarkisian Season complete
Wyoming 7-6 Dave Christensen Won 35-28 vs. Fresno State (2 OT))
*-Dabo Swinney took over halfway through last season when Tommy Bowden stepped down after a 3-3 start. Swinney was 4-3 over the last 7 games of the season.


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