Clemson Knocks 'Bama From Its Throne

January 9, 2017 by Dave Congrove

Clemson defeated Alabama 35-31 in Tampa on Monday night (January 9) to win the College Football Playoff National Championship. It is the second national title for the Tigers and their first since 1981. It was also their first win over Alabama since 1905, breaking a string of 13 straight losses in the series. The loss snapped Alabama's 26-game winning streak and denied Nick Saban's a Bear Bryant-tying 6th national title.

Alabama still has ties to the champion coach, Dabo Swinney who played for Alabama (1990-1992) and began his coaching career with the Tide (1993-2000). He has been at Clemson since joining Tommy Bowden's staff in 2003 as a wide receivers coach and ultimately replaced Bowden midway through the 2008 season.

A wild fourth quarter finish saw Clemson post 21 points against an Alabama team that had allowed 32 fourth quarter points all year. Hunter Renfrow caught the game-winning 2-yard TD pass with 1 second remaining in the game, then in true Dabo style, recovered an onside kick to prevent 'Bama from having any last-second chance at a miracle win.

Renfrow's final TD was his second of the game, and came just 2 minutes and 6 seconds after Alabama QB Jalen Hurts rumbled 30 yards to put 'Bama ahead 31-28. The touchdown by Hurts came only 2 minutes and 31 seconds after Wayne Gallman's 1-yard run gave Clemson its first lead of the game and put Alabama behind in the 4th quarter for the first time all season. That's 3 touchdowns and 3 lead changes, all in the last 4:38 of the game.

Clemson easily could have elected to simply go for a game-tying field goal after gaining a 1st-and-10 at the Alabama 26 with 20 seconds left. Instead, Deshaun Watson threw 17 yards to Jordan Leggett to the 9. The next throw drew an interference penalty in the end zone on Alabama and gave Clemson a 1st-and-goal at the 2 with 6 seconds left t set up the winning pass to Renfrow.

Watson finished 36-of-56 for 420 yards and 3 touchdowns. As a team, Clemson amassed 511 yards after gaining a total of 92 on its first 5 possessions and falling behind 14-0 before finally breaching the end zone midway through the second quarter.

Both teams finished 14-1.

Our Feature Picks said "this really should be a gem of a Rose Bowl between two storied programs", and it surely was just that. The highest scoring Rose Bowl in its 103-game history was also filled with wild swings of momentum. USC prevailed 52-49 after scoring the final 17 points of the contest. Matt Boermeester, who missed two earlier field goal attempts, kicked the 46-yard walk-off field goal for the win just one minute and twenty seconds after tying the game on Sam Donald's fifth touchdown pass. In between, Penn State QB Trace McSorley was intercepted on a long pass attempt to give the Trojans an opportunity that they would capitalize on. USC's 17-0 run in the 4th quarter came after Penn State outscored USC 28-8 in the 3rd quarter. USC's 9th consecutive win to close the 2016 season was also its 35th bowl win of all time. The Nittany Lions saw their 9-game winning streak get snapped.

The final bowl game of 2017 saw Oklahoma take control in the second half and pull away for a 35-19 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma has 2 bowl wins in its last 5 tries and both came in the Sugar Bowl where the school is 6-2 all-time.

The first college football games of 2017 were played on December 2. Western Michigan, vying to remain the second undefeated team in the nation, along with Alabama, committed a crucial turnover inside their own 10-yard line in the 4th quarter to help Wisconsin stretch its lead to 24-16 and ultimately go on to win 24-16 in the Cotton Bowl. The Broncos finished 13-1 and fell to 1-7 overall in bowl games. The Badgers went 11-3, capped with a 3rd straight bowl victory to improve to 14-14 in their bowl history.

Meanwhile, Florida stymied Iowa in the Outback Bowl. The Gators hit the 30-point mark for the first time in their last 7 games in a 30-3 victory. Both teams entered the game with 8-4 records. It was Iowa's 5th straight bowl loss.

Alabama and Clemson each won their semifinal playoff game in dominating fashion on New Year's Eve. Washington scored first, but never again and Alabama moved into the National Championship game with a 24-7 win over the Huskies in the Peach Bowl. Then, Clemson shut out Ohio State 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl to give Urban Meyer his first goose egg in all of his 194 games as a FBS head coach.

The Tide (14-0) and Tigers (13-1) will clash for the National Championship game for the second straight year, this time in Tampa on January 9. Alabama won last year's final 45-40 and has captured 4 of the last 7 titles. Clemson's only national title was won in 1981 when the Tigers beat Nebraska 22-15 in the Orange Bowl to conclude a perfect 12-0 season.

The early computer line favors Alabama by 9.64.

Between them, Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer have led their teams to 8 of the last 13 national titles. Saban has 5 (1 with LSU, 4 with Alabama) and Meyer has 3 (2 with Florida, 1 with Ohio State).

In the three years of the CFP Playoffs, only 1 semifinal game has been decided by less than 17 points and that came in the first season of the Final 4 format when Ohio State ousted Alabama 42-35. Half of the 6 semifinal games have been decided by at least 31 points. Last year, Alabama advanced after blanking Michigan State 38-0, and Clemson moved on after dispatching Oklahoma 37-17.

The ACC and SEC split a pair of early games on New Year's Eve. LSU ripped Louisville 29-9 in the Citrus Bowl and Georgia Tech ran over Kentucky 33-18 in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

LSU won its first game in convincing fashion since promoting Ed Orgeron from interim to official head coach. The Tigers held Heisman Trophy winning Louisville QB Lamar Jackson to 10-of-27 passing for 153 yards, and only 33 yards rushing on 26 attempts. Jackson averaged 8 yards per play in the regular season. LSU held him to 3.51 per play.

Georgia Tech did what Georgia Tech does in its win over Kentucky. The Yellow Jackets finish 9-4 behind 266 rushing yards and withstood a late comeback attempt that brought the 'Cats to within 26-18 with 3:57 left. But GT hammered the coffin shut by recovering the ensuing kickoff and driving 58 yards for the final points.

A crazy finish at the Orange Bowl saw Florida State edge Michigan 33-32. The 'Holes controlled the game from the start and were sitting on a 20-9 lead when Deondre Francois threw an ill-advised pass that was returned 14 yards for a Michigan touchdown with 54 seconds to go in the 3rd. Florida State answered, but Michigan tallied 2 touchdowns at the 5:22 and 1:27 marks to take its first lead at 30-27. On the ensuing kick-off, Keith Gavin hesitated to bring the ball out from a yard deep in the endzone before taking off for 67 yards to the Michigan 34. Four plays later, Francois hit Nyqwan Murray for a 12-yard score with 36 seconds left and a 33-30 lead. But Michigan blocked the PAT and returned it for 2 points for what would become the final 33-32 outcome. The Wolverines' chances of more heroics were extinguished with an interception near mid-field.

After falling behind 21-6, Air Force rattled off 39 unanswered points to defeat South Alabama 45-21 in the Arizona Bowl. The young USA program fell to 0-2 in bowl games and completed the season at 6-7. The win made Air Force 10-3 for the second time in the last 3 seasons.

Tennessee never trailed en route to a 38-24 Music City Bowl win over Nebraska. It was the 3rd straight bowl win for the Vols who last lost a bowl game in 2010. The loss dropped Nebraska's bowl record to 26-27, leaving the school with the most bowl losses and the 9th-most bowl wins after playing the 2nd-most bowl games.

A 2-yard TD pass with 25 seconds left at the end of a 97-yard drive brought North Carolina to within 2 points of Stanford in the Sun Bowl, but the Cardinal secured the victory by sacking the North Carolina QB on the 2-point conversion attempt. The 25-23 win was Stanford's 6th straight after a 4-3 start. The Cardinal won a 3rd straight bowl game and finished the year at 10-3 to give David Shaw 10+ wins in 5 of his 6 seasons as head coach. The Tar Heels lost a 3rd straight bowl game and also ended their 8-5 campaign with 3 straight losses. The PAC-12 has won 4 straight Sun Bowls over the ACC.

Georgia downed TCU 31-23 in the Liberty Bowl on December 30 to finish Kirby Smart's first season as head coach at 8-5. The Bulldogs became just the 3rd school to reach 30 bowl wins (30-19-3). TCU slipped to 6-7 with the loss for its second losing season in the last 4 years (4-8, 2013).

The 3 games on December 29th saw all three favorites win, including one epic comeback.

The day began with South Florida establishing leads of 15-0, 22-7, and 39-21, before needing to withstand a furious South Carolina 4th quarter rally that extended the matchup into overtime. In the end, USF prevailed 46-39 in the Birmingham Bowl to finish 11-2 and improve its bowl record to 5-3. South Carolina lost a bowl game for the first time since 2010, ending a 4-bowl winning streak and closing out the season at 6-7. The Gamecocks dropped to 8-13 all-time in bowl games.

Next up was the Belk Bowl where Virginia Tech staged an epic rally to defeat Arkansas 35-24. The Razorbacks won the first half 24-0 as the Hokies began the game with a fumble and continued to do nothing right for 2 quarters. But Virginia Tech flipped the script in the second half and did little wrong as it rallied to a 35-24 victory and notched its first 10-win season (10-4) since 2011. In the process, Virginia Tech elevated its bowl record to 13-17 with its first-ever 3-bowl winning streak, and Fuente became only the 3rd Virginia Tech coach to win a postseason game. Arkansas had a 3-bowl winning streak snapped and the Razorbacks ended their 2016 campaign at 7-6.

The nightcap at the Alamo Bowl was all Oklahoma State as the Cowboys jumped out to a 38-0 lead and prevailed 38-8 over Colorado. Both schools were conference runner-ups with the Cowboys finishing 10-3 and the Buffaloes falling to 10-4. Colorado lost its last 2 games by a combined score of 79-18 and dropped a 3rd consecutive bowl game. The Buffs had last played in the postseason in 2007 and last won a bowl game in 2004.

December 28th bowl games opened with the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium with a 31-24 win by Northwestern over Pittsburgh. It was just the third bowl win all-time for the Wildcats, and only the second since the 1948 season Rose Bowl. It was the third straight bowl loss for the Panthers.

The Russell Athletic Bowl, one of three games at Orlando's Camping World Stadium, was next on the list. The game saw Miami spot West Virginia 7-0 lead before responding with 28 unanswered points. In the end, Miami prevailed 31-14 to finish 9-4 for the season and snap a 6-bowl losing streak that dated back to 2006. West Virginia fell to 10-3. The teams hadn't met since their old Big East rivalry days which ended in 2003 with Miami's move to the ACC. The Hurricanes are now 17-3 all-time vs. the Mountaineers and have won the last 7 meetings.

Kyle Wittingham ran his ridiculous bowl record to 10-1, and Utah is now 17-4 in bowl games, after escaping Indiana 26-24 in the Foster Farms Bowl at Santa Clara, California. The school is 13-1 in bowl game since 1999. At the other end of the spectrum, the Hoosiers fell to 3-8 in bowl games with their 4th consecutive bowl loss. Indiana's last bowl win came in 1991 versus Baylor in the Copper Bowl, now known as the Cactus Bowl. For the second year in-a-row, a close bowl loss dropped the Hoosiers to a sub-.500 finish at 6-7. It was Indiana's first game with Tom Allen as head coach. He replaced the man he worked for as defensive coordinator, Kevin Wilson, when Wilson was fired on December 1 and Allen was immediately promoted.

Kansas State earned the Texas Bowl title with a 33-28 victory over Texas A&M. The Aggies drove to the Wildcats' 19, but turned the ball over on downs with 2:02 left and Kansas State ran out the clock. It was only the second bowl win for Kansas State since a victory in the Holiday Bowl in 2002. Bill Synder, Kansas State's 77-year-old head coach, is 8-10 overall in bowl games, but 2-6 from 2003-present. Both teams entered the contest with 8-4 records. The Wildcats come out of it on a 4-game winning streak.

While half of the games on the 28th produced outright upsets, the underdog took 3-of-4 on December 27.

The day was capped off by Baylor's surprising 31-12 triumph over Boise State in the Cactus Bowl. The much-maligned Bears entered the contest on a 6-game losing streak after starting 6-0, and were playing for the last time under interim head coach Jim Grobe. Former Temple head coach Matt Rhule now takes over. The Broncos finished 10-3 after losing a bowl game for just the second time in the past 8 seasons.

Rhule's former team played earlier in the day and was upset by Wake Forest.

In between, Minnesota downed Washington State 17-12 in the Holiday Bowl to give the school its best finish since 2003. It raised the Golden Gophers' season mark to 9-4, and bowl record to 7-12. Washington State dropped to 8-5 with a third straight loss to end a season that fell below expectations. The Cougars dropped to 7-6 in bowl games. Minnesota will now need to decide if it wants to retain head coach Tracy Claeys who supported a threatened bowl boycott by his team when 10 players were suspended for the bowl game for their alleged involvement in a gang rape. (NOTE: Claeys was later fired on January 3). Claeys was 11-8 overall, 2-0 in bowl games, since replacing Jerry Kill in the middle of the 2015 season.

It was prior to that contest that Temple, the American Athletic Conference champion fell to a mid-level ACC squad in the Military Bowl when Wake Forest stunned heavy favorite Owls 34-26. The Demon Deacons had lost 5-of-6 entering the game while the Owls had won 7 straight. Wake Forest, which had just been embarrassed nationally by what became known as "WakeyLeaks", bolted to a 31-7 halftime lead and held a Temple rally at bay. A former Wake player and broadcaster was found to have handed off some plays to opposing teams on 4 occasions to 3 different teams over the past three seasons. The Deacs seemed to have channeled the fallout into a motivating factor as they're usually modest offense exploded on the nation's 7th-ranked defense in the first two quarters. The 34 points was the most Wake scored all seasons vs. a FBS squad and tied for the most points Temple surrendered all year. The Owls fell to 2-4 in their bowl history with the only wins coming in the 2011 New Mexico Bowl and the 1979 Garden State Bowl. This was the first time in history that Temple was making consecutive season bowl appearances.

Army finished the season with an 8-5 record, its best season since a 10-2 mark in 1996, after beating North Texas 38-31 in overtime in the in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas to start the 4-game set on December 27. It was a rematch of a midseason clash which UNT won 35-18 at West Point when the Black Knights committed 7 turnovers. They won the turnover battle 2-1 in the bowl game, but blew a 17-point lead when the Mean Green scored 2 TD's in the last 2:26 of the first half. North Texas eventually forced overtime on a 37-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in the game, but failed to answer Army's touchdown in the extra period to give the Black Knights a 3rd straight win. Army, which hadn't been bowling since 2010, improved to 4-2 all-time in such games. No doubt Army considered its season an even bigger success by ending a 14-year losing streak to Navy on December 10. North Texas finished the season at 5-8 with its 5th loss in the last 6 games, and fell to 2-6 all-time in bowl games. UNT last went bowling in 2013, also in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Mean Green were one of two teams (Mississippi State) that snuck into the bowl season through the back door via the Academic Performance Rate (APR) qualifying score.

N.C. State ran an interception back for a touchdown on the final play of the game to rub a little salt in the wound of a 41-17 smackdown of Vanderbilt in the Independence Bowl. The Commodores, who once had bowl absentee streaks of 19 and 26 years, as well as a 53-year gap between bowl victories, saw a 2-bowl winning streak get snapped with the loss.

Boston College staked out a 36-13 lead early in the 3rd quarter, then held on for a 36-30 Quick Lane Bowl win over Maryland on December 26. Both teams limped into the postseason with 6-6 records, but heading in opposite directions. The Terrapins went 2-7 in their final 9 games after opening 4-0, culminating with a third consecutive bowl loss. The Eagles finished with 3 straight wins and snapped a 5-bowl losing streak with their first postseason victory since 2007.

It wasn't until the 14th game of the bowl season that a team from a Power 5 conference participated in a bowl game. On the day after Christmas, a 5-7 team from the SEC squared off against a 6-6 program from the MAC. And the MAC had its chance to prevail. Mississippi State blocked a 37-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to hang on for a 17-16 win over Miami (Ohio) in the St. Petersburg Bowl to kick off a 3-bowl set on December 26. Both teams finished 6-7. The RedHawks had one of the greatest in-season turnarounds in history to become bowl eligible by reeling off 6 straight wins after opening the season with 6 straight losses. Still, Miami was a 2 touchdown underdog to the Bulldogs who also blocked an extra point. It was only the 3rd loss ever for Miami (Ohio) in a bowl game, now 7-3. The RedHawks last played in the postseason in 2010. Miami beat SEC teams Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in consecutive Tangerine Bowls from 1973-1975. Mississippi State improved to 12-8 in bowl games. The first 13 games exclusively featured teams from the Group of Five conferences - American, CUSA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt.

Christmas Eve saw Hawaii notch its first bowl win since 2006 with a 52-35 upset of Middle Tennessee in the Hawaii Bowl. Hawaii improved to 6-5 in bowl games while MTSU dropped to 1-5 with a fourth straight bowl loss. The Rainbow Warriors trailed 14-0 out of the gate, then outscored the Blue Raiders 52-21 the rest of the way. Both teams outperformed preseason expectations. MTSU was 8-5 in its 11th season under Rick Stockstill after being forecasted to go 6-6. Hawaii was picked to go 3-10 but finished 7-7 in its first season under Nick Rolovich. Rolovich was a Hawaii QB from 2000-2001.

Troy became the second Sun Belt team to clinch a 10-win season, joining Appalachian State, after scoring a 28-23 Dollar General Bowl win over Ohio in Mobile. The Bobcats repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, committing five turnovers that led to 3 of Troy's 4 touchdowns. The Trojans, now 3-3 in bowl games, finished the season with a 10-3 record for a 6-win improvement over 2015. Troy's last bowl appearance was the 2010 New Orleans Bowl, which also produced a win over Ohio. The Bobcats finished the season with 3 losses in their last 4 games to stumble to an 8-6 mark. Ohio fell to 2-8 overall in bowl games.

Conference USA improved to 4-1 in bowl games in 2016, and the American dropped to 1-4, as Louisiana Tech's 32-yard walk-off field goal sunk Navy 48-45 in the Armed Forces Bowl at Fort Worth. It was a battle between the respective West Division winners and over-all runners-up of each conference. The Midshipmen operated surprisingly well on offense after losing QB Will Worth and RB Toneo Gulley in the conference championship game. Zach Abey, who quarterbacked the loss to Army, ran 25 times for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. He threw for a third score on 7-of-12 passing for 159. Louisiana Tech QB Ryan Higgins was 29-of-40 for 409, with Trent Taylor hauling in 12 receptions for 233 and 2 scores, and Carlos Henderson making 10 grabs for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. Each team had just one turnover. An early fumble by Abey led to a Louisiana Tech field goal, but the Bulldogs gave one up in the 4th quarter after reaching the Navy 2-yard line. Navy, which finished 9-5, was looking for its first-ever back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins. Instead, the Middies lost a third straight game after going 26-5 in the prior 31 contests. Louisiana Tech also finished 9-5 while moving to 3-0 in bowl games under Skip Holtz. Before Holtz' arrival, the Bulldogs were just 2-3-1 all-time in bowl games.

Don't tell Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder these bowl games don't mean anything. Wilder was effusive with pride and child-like moments after his Monarchs edged Eastern Michigan 24-20 in the Bahamas Bowl on Thursday (December 23). It was the first bowl game for ODU which, under Wilder's leadership, reconstituted the football program in 2009 following a 70-season hiatus. This year, the Monarchs finished 10-3. Eastern Michigan slipped to 7-6 after playing in its first bowl game since 1987. The Congrove Computer Rankings went 13-0 picking ODU games straight up, and 8-4 ATS.

Idaho on Thursday (December 22) completed its best season by win percentage since 1998, and moved to 3-0 all-time in bowl games, by rolling over Colorado State 61-50 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Don't let the final score fool you, as the Vandals opened up a 41-7 lead and were still up by 33 with 7:40 to go in the game. The game was played on Boise State's infamous blue Smurf Turf, which at times had the traction of an ice skating rink in the frigid weather of a late December. By finishing 9-4, Idaho won as many games in 2016 as it did in the previous 5 seasons combined. All 3 bowl appearances by Idaho have been in Boise which is roughly 220 miles south of the Vandals' Moscow campus. Colorado State dropped to 7-6 with a third straight bowl loss.

A Wyoming rally attempt came up short in the Poinsettia Bowl and BYU, a hefty favorite, snapped a 3-bowl losing streak with a 24-21 win on a rare rainy night in San Diego. The Cougars held a 24-7 lead until Wyoming scored 14 unanswered points inside the final 7:35. BYU squashed the comeback on an interception with 1:22 remaining. The Cowboys lost for the 4th time in the last 5 games, finishing 8-6 after getting to 7-2 in early November. Oddly, the lone win down the stretch came over San Diego State - a team the 'Pokes would wind up losing to in the rematch in the Conference Championship game. Wyoming dropped to 6-8 overall in bowl games after making its first bowl appearance since 2011. BYU finished 9-4 under first-year head coach Kalani Sitake and will enter 2017 on a 5-game winning streak.

Western Kentucky, as expected, outscored Memphis 51-31 in the Bacon Raton Bowl on Tuesday (December 20). The Hilltoppers finished the season 11-3 while improving their bowl record to 3-1 with their third straight bowl win. Counting conference championship games, WKU has won 5 postseason games in-a-row. Memphis dropped to 8-5 with the loss and saw its bowl record slip under .500 at 4-5. It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Western Kentucky was playing under interim head coach Nick Holt who now gives way to Mike Sanford, Jr.

The lone game on Monday (December 19) saw Tulsa win its 10th game of the season in a 55-10 rout of outmatched Central Michigan in the Miami Beach Bowl. The Chips (6-7) didn't help their cause by throwing 3 picks, en route to their 5th loss in the last 6 games of 2016. Tulsa (10-3) successfully concluded its first winning season (including bowl game) since 2012. Last year, the Golden Hurricane lost 55-52 to Virginia Tech in the Independence Bowl to finish 6-7.

Five games kicked off the 2016 college football season on Saturday, December 17. The action began at the New Mexico Bowl where homestanding New Mexico downed UTSA 23-20. The win boosted the Lobos to 2-2 in bowl games played in their own stadium and, most importantly, improved their 2016 record to 9-4. The Roadrunners fell to 6-7 with the loss. UTEP began its football program in 2011 and moved up to the FBS in 2012.

The Las Vegas Bowl became a lop-sided affair as San Diego State unexpectedly dominated Houston 34-10. Aztec RB Donnel Pumphrey ran for 115 yards to set a new NCAA career rushing record with 6,405 yards in his four-year career (2013-2016). Ron Dayne set the old mark of 6,397 yards at Wisconsin from 1996-1999. However, the NCAA didn't begin including bowl yardage until 2002. Including bowl yardage, Dayne finished his career with 7,125 yards. Houston fell to 9-4 with its first nonconference loss of the season. San Diego State improved to 11-3 for the second consecutive season.

Appalachian State downed Toledo 31-28 to stay unbeaten in bowl games (2-0) with both wins coming in the Camellia Bowl in its first two seasons as a full-fledged FBS program. The Mountaineers downed Ohio in this game last year, 31-29.

Arkansas State knocked UCF in the Knights' backyard, winning the Cure Bowl 31-13 in Orlando. The Red Wolves started the season 0-4 in nonconference play, but then went 7-1 in the Sun Belt to share the conference title with Appalachian State. UCF dropped to 6-7 with the loss in Scott Frost's first season as head coach, an 6-win improvement over the 0-12 mark in 2015.

Louisiana-Lafayette experienced losing in a bowl game for the very first time. The Ragin' Cajuns have now played in 5 bowl games, all at the New Orleans Bowl. Southern Miss handed them their first bowl loss, 28-21. Both teams were 6-6 entering the contest.

Bowl Facts

First-time Meetings

In 2015, Baylor met North Carolina for the first time in the Russell Athletic Bowl. This year, the Bears have their first-ever meeting with Boise State.

Last year, 11 first-time matchups occurred during bowl season. This year, there are just 7.

Toledo vs. Appalachian State (Camellia) - Appalachian State won 31-28
Memphis vs. Western Kentucky (Boca Raton) - Western Kentucky won 51-31
Mississippi State vs. Miami, Ohio (St. Petersburg) - Mississippi State won 17-16
Baylor vs. Boise State (Cactus) - Baylor won 31-12
Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas (Belk) - Virginia Tech won 35-24
South Alabama vs. Air Force (Arizona) - Air Force won 45-21
LSU vs. Louisville (Citrus) - LSU won 29-9

Never Been To A Bowl Game

Texas State

First Time Ever In A Bowl Game

Old Dominion (won)
UTSA (lost)

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:

Eastern Michigan, 1987 (lost)
Colorado, 2007 (lost)
Idaho, 2009 (won)
Army, 2010 (won)
Hawaii, 2010 (won)
Miami (O.), 2010 (lost)
Troy, 2010 (won)
Wake Forest, 2011 (won)
Wyoming, 2011 (lost)

Waiting To Return

This team has the longest continuing current streak of bowl absence:

New Mexico State, 1960

Bowl Appearance Streak

These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances:

Florida State, 35
Virginia Tech, 24
Georgia, 20
Oklahoma, 18

Bowl Winning Streak

These teams have the most consecutive bowl victories (last season of a bowl loss in parenthesis):

Clemson, 5 (2011) - Includes a 31-0 win over Ohio State in this season's Fiesta Bowl
Marshall, 5 (2004) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
San Jose State, 4 (1987) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
South Carolina, 4 (2010) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Utah, 4 (2010) - Includes a 26-24 win over Indiana in this year's Foster Farms Bowl
Georgia, 3 (2013) - Includes a 31-23 win over TCU in this season's Liberty Bowl
Missouri, 3 (2010) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Stanford (2013) - Includes a 25-23 win over North Carolina in this season's Sun Bowl
Syracuse, 3 (2004) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Virginia Tech, 3 (2013) - Includes a 35-24 win over Arkansas in this season's Belk Bowl

NOTE: Louisiana-Lafayette had a 4-bowl winning streak snapped, and lost for the first time ever in a bowl game, 28-21 to Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl. All 5 UL-L bowl trips have been to the New Orleans Bowl.
NOTE: Navy had a 3-bowl winning streak snapped with a 48-45 loss to Louisiana Tech in this season's Armed Forces Bowl.
NOTE: Arkansas had a 3-bowl wiining streak snpped with a 35-24 loss to Virginia Tech in this season's Belk Bowl.

Bowl Losing Streak

These teams have the most consecutive bowl losses (last season of a bowl win in parenthesis):

Ball State, 7 (Never) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Fresno State, 6 (2007) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
UTEP, 6 (1967) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Indiana, 4 (1991) - Includes a 26-24 loss to Utah in this year's Foster Farms Bowl
Iowa, 5 (2010) - Includes a 30-3 loss to Florida in this season's Outback Bowl
Middle Tennessee, 4 (2009) - Includes a 52-35 loss to Hawaii in this season's Hawaii Bowl.

NOTE: Boston College snapped a 5-bowl losing streak dating back to 2007 with a 36-30 win over Maryland in this season's Quick Lane Bowl.
NOTE: Miami ended a 6-bowl losing streak with a 31-14 win over West Virginia in this season's Russell Athletic Bowl.

Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)

Ball State, 0-7 - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Buffalo, 0-2 - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Kent State, 0-2 - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Georgia State, 0-1 - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
UAB, 0-1 (absent from the FBS the last 2 years. Will return in 2017)

Best Bowl Winning Percentage (minimum 20 appearances)

Utah, 17-4 (.810) - Includes a 26-24 win over Indiana in this year's Foster Farms Bowl
USC, 35-18 (.660) - Includes a 52-49 win over Penn State in this season's Rose Bowl
Mississippi, 24-13 (.649) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Oklahoma State, 17-10 (.630) - Includes a 38-8 win over Colorado in this season's Alamo Bowl
Syracuse, 15-9-1 (.620) - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Penn State, 28-17-2 (.617) - Includes a 52-49 loss to USC in this season's Rose Bowl
Florida State, 27-16-2 (.614) - Includes a 33-32 win over Michigan in this season's Orange Bowl
Georgia, 30-19-3 (.606) - Includes a 31-23 win over TCU in this season's Liberty Bowl
Alabama, 37-24-3 (.602) - Includes a 24-7 win over Washington in this season's Peach Bowl Playoff Semifinal
Mississippi State, 12-8 (.600) - includes a 17-16 win over Miami (O.) in this season's St. Petersburg Bowl

Most Bowl Wins

Alabama, 37 - Includes a 24-7 win over Washington in this season's Peach Bowl Playoff Semifinal
USC, 35 - Includes a 52-49 win over Penn State in this season's Rose Bowl
Georgia, 30 - Includes a 31-23 win over TCU in this season's Liberty Bowl
Oklahoma, 29 - Includes a 35-19 win over AUburn in this season's Sugar Bowl
Penn State, 28 - Includes a 52-49 loss to USC in this season's Rose Bowl
Tennessee, 28 - Includes a 38-24 win over Nebraska in this season's Music City Bowl
Florida State, 27 - Includes a 33-32 win over Michigan in this season's Orange Bowl
Texas, 27 - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Nebraska, 26 - Includes a 38-24 loss to Tennessee in this season's Music City Bowl
Georgia Tech, 25 - Includes a 33-18 win over Kentcuky in this season's TaxSlayer Bowl
LSU, 25 - Includes a 33-32 win over Louisville in this season's Citrus Bowl
Mississippi, 24 - Failed to qualify for the bowl season
Auburn, 23 - Includes a 35-19 loss to Oklahoma in this season's Sugar Bowl
Florida, 22 - Includes a 30-3 win over Iowa in this season's Outback Bowl
Ohio State, 22 - Includes a 31-0 loss to Clemson in this season's Fiesta Bowl
Clemson, 21 - Includes a 31-0 win over Ohio State in this season's Fiesta Bowl
Michigan, 21 - Includes a 33-32 loss to Florida State in this season's Orange Bowl

FBS vs. FCS:

110 FBS teams played 113 FCS opponents this year and FBS schools were 103-10 (.912) in those games.

Here is a list of each of this year's FBS losses:
09/24 - Central Arkansas 28, Arkansas State 23
09/24 - Western Illinois 28, Northern Illinois 23
09/17 - North Dakota State 23, Iowa 21 (North Dakota State's 6th straight win vs. FBS)
09/10 - North Carolina A&T 39, Kent State 36 (4 OT)
09/10 - Illinois State 9, Northwestern 7,
09/10 - Eastern Illinois 21, Miami (Ohio) 17
09/03 - Northern Iowa 25, Iowa State 20 (Northern Iowa's 3rd win over ISU since 2007)
09/03 - Richmond 37, Virginia 20
09/03 - Eastern Washington 45, Washington State 42
09/01 - Albany 22, Buffalo 16

Since 2003, FBS schools are 1,130-108 (.913) vs. the FCS.


Alabama - Had 26-game winning streak (was FBS longest) snapped in a 35-31 loss to Clemson in the National Championship game. Won 36 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Won 11 straight road games (tied FBS longest). Won 17 straight conference games (FBS record). Won 24-7 vs. Washington in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on December 31. Lost 35-31 to Clemson in National Championship game on January 9.

Oklahoma - Won 12 straight overall (FBS longest). Won 11 straight road games (tied FBS longest). Won 35-19 vs.Auburn in the Sugar Bowl on January 2.

Houston - Won 15 straight home games (tied FBS longest). Lost 34-10 to San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl on December 17.

Fresno State - Lost 10 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 13 straight FBS games (FBS longest). Season complete.

Rutgers - Lost 14 straight conference games (FBS longest). Season complete.

Kansas - Lost 41 straight road games (FBS longest). Season complete.