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College Football Season

Opening Day Of Bowl Season Provides Dramatic Finishes

Ohio Wins In Final Seconds; Louisiana-Lafayette Wins On Final Play

by Dave Congrove
December 18, 2011

See Bowl Schedule and Pairings

The opening day of the 2011 bowl season gave us a lot more than we bargained for.

Yeah, the day started off weak with Temple destroying Wyoming 37-15 in game that wasn't even that close. A late touchdown and 2-point conversion make the final score look slightly more respectable, but the Owls took a quick 21-0 lead in the New Mexico Bowl and never looked back. In Steve Addazio's first year as head coach, the former Florida offensive coordinator led Temple to its first bowl win since 1979 and a 9-4 season overall record. The Owls are 26-12 over the last three seasons, exceeding the 25 total victories for the school from 2000-2008. Wyoming dropped to 6-7 in bowl games while closing out its 2011 campaign at 8-5, still good enough for a 5-win improvement from a year ago and not bad at all for a team that was projected to go 3-9 again this year.

The excitement heated up in game 2 as quarterback Tyler Tettleton completed an Ohio comeback with a 1-yard keeper for a touchdown with 13 seconds left, providing a 24-23 win over Utah State for its first-ever bowl win (1-5) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. It was the first lead of the game for the Bobcats which fell behind 9-0 quickly in the first quarter and trailed 23-10 more than halfway through the 3rd quarter. Utah State is also 1-5 all-time in bowl games after the loss. The Congrove Computer Rankings projected this game to be the tightest one of the entire bowl season with the Aggies tabbed as a 0.11-point favorite.

However, the third and final game of the day was even more dramatic as Brett Baer kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired to lift Louisiana-Lafayette to a 32-30 New Orleans Bowl win over San Diego State in its first-ever FBS bowl game. Just 30 seconds earlier, San Diego State had taken its first and only lead of the game on Ryan Lindley's 12-yard touchdown pass to Colin Lockett. But Ragin' Cajun QB Blaine Gautier led his team from its own 18-yard line to the Aztec 38 where they were set to try a 55-yard boot. It became a little easier when San Diego State was penalized 5 yards for "illegal stemming" (making motions and actions to cause the offense to move). The 50-yarder squeezed past the left upright and probably would have been good from 55 or slightly longer.

New Names
Meineke Car Care switches its sponsorship from Charlotte to Houston. As a result, the "Heineken Car Care Bowl" becomes the "Elk Bowl", and the "Texas Bowl" becomes the "Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas".

The "Humanitarian Bowl" in Boise becomes the "Famous Idaho Potato Bowl".

Bowl First-Timers
Louisiana-Lafayette is the only school making its very first bowl appearance. The Ragin' Cajuns have been a 1-A or FBS member since 1973. UL-L made this year's appearance count with a dramatic 50-yard field goal as time expired for a 32-30 win over an Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl.

The proliferation of bowl games over the last several years has made it easier for teams to achieve bowl eligibility and five of the last six seasons have seen one team break through. FIU did so last year (Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl), Buffalo in 2008 (International Bowl), FAU in 2007 (Motor City Bowl), Middle Tennessee in 2006 (New Orleans Bowl), and now the Golden Panthers in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.

2 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:
Utah State, 1997 (hasn't won a bowl game since 1993)
Arkansas State, 2005 (has never won a bowl game)
Virginia, 2007 (hasn't won a bowl game since 2005)

Note: Utah State still hasn't won a bowl game since 1993 after falling to Ohio 24-23 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Tyler Tettleton's 1-yard run with 13 seconds left in the game. Until that play, the Aggies had led for the duration of the contest.

Waiting To Return
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl absence:
New Mexico State, 1960
Kent State, 1972
Eastern Michigan, 1987
Duke, 1995

Bowl Appearance Streak
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances:
Florida State, 30
Florida, 21
Virginia Tech, 19
Georgia, 15
Georgia Tech, 15

Bowl Winning Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl victories (last season of a bowl loss in parenthesis):
Auburn, 4 (2005)
Mississippi, 4 (2000)
Mississippi State, 4 (1998)
Rutgers, 4 (2005)
USC, 4 (2005)

Note: Utah had its 9-bowl winning streak snapped with a 26-3 loss to Boise State in last season's MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. That was the longest such streak in the nation at the time.

Georgia had its 4-bowl winning streak snapped with a 10-6 loss to UCF in last season's Liberty Bowl.

Bowl Losing Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl losses (last season of a bowl win in parenthesis):
Northwestern, 8 (1948)
Georgia Tech, 6 (2004)
Ball State, 5 (Never)
Michigan State, 5 (2001)
Texas A&M, 5 (2001)
UTEP, 5 (1967)
Minnesota, 4 (2004)
Western Michigan, 4 (Never)

Note: Ohio snapped a 5-bowl losing streak with this year's 24-23 win over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato B owl.

Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)
Ball State, 0-5
Western Michigan, 0-4
Akron, 0-1
Arkansas State, 0-1
Buffalo, 0-1
Kent State, 0-1
UAB, 0-1

Note: Ohio was 0-5 before defeating Utah State 24-23 in this year's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

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

USC, .667 (32-16)
Penn State, .651 (27-14-2)
Mississippi, .636 (21-12)
Oklahoma State, .619 (13-8)
Florida State, .615 (23-14-2)
Auburn, .611 (21-13-2)
Oklahoma, .602 (26-17-1)
Georgia, .598 (26-17-3)
Alabama, .595 (33-22-3)
Boston College, .591 (13-9)

Most Bowl Wins
Alabama, 33
Southern Cal, 32
Penn State, 27
Georgia, 26
Oklahoma, 26
Tennessee, 25
Texas, 25
Nebraska, 24
Florida State, 23
Georgia Tech, 22
LSU, 22
Auburn, 21
Mississippi, 21
Ohio State, 20

FBS vs. FCS:
All of the FBS-FCS games have been played and FBS teams finished the season 91-6 (.938) to raise their record to 638-55 (.921) vs. the FCS since 2003.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/24: North Dakota St. 37, Minnesota 24
9/24: Sam Houston State 48, New Mexico 45 (OT)
9/24: Southern Utah41, UNLV 16
9/17: Indiana State 44, Western Kentucky 16
9/3: Richmond 23, Duke 21
9/3: Sacramento State 29, Oregon State 28

93 FBS teams played at least one FCS foe this year and four of those schools played two such games - Air Force, Eastern Michigan, N.C. State and Wyoming.

LSU - 14 straight wins overall and 17 straight home wins. The Tigers face Alabama in the BCS Championship game in New Orleans on January 9.

Arkansas State - 9 straight wins overall and 8 straight conference wins. The Red Wolves play Northern Illinois in the Bowl on January 8 in Mobile, Alabama.

Northern Illinois - 8 straight wins overall, 8 straight conference wins and 15 straight home wins. The Huskies play Arkansas State in the Bowl on January 8 in Mobile, Alabama.

TCU - 24 straight conference wins. The Horned Frogs play Louisiana Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21 in San Diego.

Virginia Tech - 13 straight wins in true road games (at opponents' venue). The Hokies lost 23-20 to Michigan in OT on January 3 in the Sugar Bowl.

Kansas - 10 straight losses overall. The have completed their season.

Tulane - 10 straight losses overall. The Green Wave have completed their season.

New Mexico - 21 straight road losses. The Lobos have completed their season.

Mississippi - 14 straight conference losses. The Rebels have completed their season.

The coaching carousel may turn out a record year for changes at the top. Many teams will be led in the bowl season by an interim head coach. North Carolina and Ohio State will be led by coaches who spent the entire 2011 season with "interim" preceding their title and now find themselves as lame ducks. Arizona State and Southern Miss will simply be led by lame duck head coaches. Here's the list of who's coaching who at the schools where changes have been announced: ("i" denotes "interim")

Arizona State - Dennis Erickson
Arkansas State - (i) David Gunn, offensive coordinator
Houston - (i) Tony Levine, assistant head coach
Illinois - (i) Vic Koenning, defensive coordinator
North Carolina - (i) Everett Withers, interim head coach for the entire season
Ohio State - (i) Luke Fickell, interim head coach for the entire season
Penn State - (i) Tom Bradley, interim head coach since November 9
Pittsburgh - (i) Keith Patterson, defensive coordinator
Southern Miss - Larry Fedora
Texas A&M - (i) Tim DeRuyter, defensive coordinator
Toledo - Matt Campbell, promoted from offensive coordinator
UCLA - (i) Mike Johnson, offensive coordinator

For a complete and up-to-date list of coaching changes, go to Coaching Changes.


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