New Year's Day provided exactly 12 hours of fun football, concluding with Ohio State whipping Clemson in the Sugar Bowl to advance to the national championship game versus Alabama. The Tide moves on by dissecting Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl. Earlier in the day, a 54-Yard Field Goal With :03 remaining left Georgia feeling Peachy, and Northwestern won the Citrus Bowl.
Ohio State returns to the national championship game for the first time since 2014 when the Buckeyes beat Oregon to win the title. Justin Fields threw 6 touchdown passes and Trey Sermon ran for 1 as Ohio State piled up 639 yards in a dominating 49-28 performance in the Sugar Bowl. It was the Buckeyes' first-ever win over the Tigers with all five meetings coming in bowl games, and the 21-point margin was Clemson's biggest loss since a 45-21 defeat to Georgia to open the 2014 season. Clemson has never won in the Sugar Bowl (0-3). Fields finished 22-of-28 for 385 yards and was intercepted one time. Sermon ran for 193 yards, two weeks after a 331-yard performance against Northwestern in the Big Ten championship. The game was pretty much over by halftime when the Buckeyes led 35-14. Ryan Day improved to a ridiculous 23-1 as Ohio State's head coach. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence had a 400-yard, 2 TD night and will move on to the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com has Alabama favored by 6.95 points over the Buckeyes, almost exactly the same spread as the oddsmakers who give the Tide a 7-point edge. Alabama was the computer's preseason pick to win the crown, but was projected to face Clemson.
Alabama methodically beat Notre Dame, 31-14, in the Rose Bowl which was moved from Pasadena to Arlington to allow fans to attend. There was a slightly better reason the only other time that the Rose Bowl was moved. That occurred during World War 2 after Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor and, fearing a west coast attack, the game was moved to Wallace Wade Stadium on the Duke University campus. Alabama improved to 5-1 in semifinal games during the College Football Playoff era which began in 2014. SEC teams have taken 10 of the last 14 national championships with Alabama claiming 5 of those. Notre Dame fell to 0-2 in playoff games. DeVonta Smith scored three touchdowns for the Tide, including a 26-yard pass on the game's opening drive which took all of 7 plays for 'Bama to take a 7-0 lead. After a Notre Dame punt, Alabama needed just 5 plays to make it 14-0 on Mac Jones' pass to Jahleel Billingsley. The Irish settled down after that and played competitive football, but they also had scoring opportunities turned away with a missed a field goal just before halftime, and turned the ball over on downs in the red zone in the 4th quarter. Smith's other TD receptions both went for 34 yards in the 2nd and 3rd quarters as Nick Saban's troops built a 28-7 lead. Jones was an efficient 25-of-30 for 297 yards, 4 TD's and 0 INT's. Najee Harris ran for 125 yards on 15 carries.
Northwestern won a school record 4th straight bowl game with its 35-19 defeat of Auburn in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The Wildcats were 1-9 in bowl games through 2011, but have since won 5 of their last 6. Auburn has won just 2 of its last 6 bowl games. The Tigers had a decent regular season record of 6-4, but still fired head coach Gus Malzahn and have since plucked Bryan Harsin away from Boise State. For the bowl game, Auburn was led by DC Kevin Steele who was also a candidate for the head coach job. Northwestern came into this game off a loss in the Big Ten title game to Ohio State for the second time in the last 3 years.
Jack "Hot Pod" Podlesny kicked a 53-yard field goal with :03 left to put Georgia ahead and a game-ending sack for a safety delivered the final points in a 24-21 comeback win over upset-minded and undefeated Cincinnati in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta. It was his 3rd of the game as he also had makes from 37 and 32. The first of four New Year's Day bowl games belonged to the Bearcats' throughout much of the contest and they held a 21-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. The turning point came when Azeez Ojulari sacked Desmond Ridder and forced a fumble on Cincinnati's 25-yard line less than a minute into the final period and the Bulldogs converted the turnover into 6 points in just two plays to make it 21-16 with 13:20 remaining (two-point conversion pass was incomplete).. Podlesny's 32-yard FG cut it to 21-19 with 21-19 left to play. After the go-ahead kick, Jake Carmada's kickoff got past all of Cincinnati's return men and wound up on the 2-yard line, despite being initiated from the 20 due to a bench celebration foul after the field goal. Ridder was sacked on the next play as the clock hit :00 to push the final score to 24-21. Georgia finished the season with am 8-2 record while improving to 33-20-3 all-time in bowl games. Cincinnati's bowl record dropped to 9-10 after its first and only loss of the 2020 season (9-1). The loss left American Conference teams with a final record of 1-5 in the bowl season.
|NOTE: CFP Championship game does not count in bowl standings|
On New Year's Eve, Ball State finally broke into the bowl win column in its 8th try, knocking off San Jose State 34-13 in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson. Both teams finished 7-1. It was the first bowl game for the Cardinals since 2013 and the first for the Spartans since 2015. The loss was San Jose State's first in a bowl game since 1987, snapping a four-bowl win streak.
Army was missing 8 players on the two-deep chart and, yet, somehow managed to hold a 21-10 over West Virginia in the third quarter. In the end, the Mountaineers overcame the deficit behind backup QB Austin Kendall who threw for a pair of second half touchdown passes. Army missed a 39-Yard FG with just under two minutes left that could have tied the game and West Virginia held on for the 24-21 win in a cold and wet Liberty Bowl game played in front of over 8,000 fans. The Mountaineers' first bowl win since 2015 snapped a 3-bowl losing streak and they finished the season at 6-4. The Black Knights fell to 9-3 with their first loss in a bowl game since 1996, ending a 4-bowl winning streak.
The first of three games on New Year's Eve saw Mississippi State down Tulsa 28-26 in the Armed Forces Bowl in Ft. Worth. The Bulldogs finished 4-7 in their first year under Mike Leach as head coach. The Golden Hurricane dropped to 6-3. Tulsa cut the MSU lead to 2 with 1:23 left but the Bulldogs recovered the onside kick. Unfortunately, the game was marred by confrontations before and during the game, and an ugly free-for-all after the game. It was the first-ever meeting the two schools.
The first New Year's Six bowl game of the 2020 season was the Cotton Bowl on Tuesday night (December 30) in Arlington and it became a rout as Oklahoma clubbed an outmanned Florida team, 55-20. The 55 points was a school record for the Sooners in a bowl game, a year after allowing a school record 63 in the Peach Bowl semifinal loss to LSU. The team also broke Cotton Bowl records for points and rushing yards (435) while giving Lincoln Riley his first bowl win as a head coach (1-3). The Sooners had lost 3 straight bowl games while the Gators had won 3 in-a-row. Florida had at least 6 key players opt out - receivers Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes, along with LB Ventrell Miller, DL Kyree Campbell and CB Marco Wilson. Without his top three receiving targets, Heisman candidate Kyle Trask was picked off three times in the early going as Florida fell behind 17-0. The Gators managed to close the gap to 17-13, but the offense couldn't continue to keep pace and the Oklahoma defense was dominant in the victory. The series is now tied 1-1 as Florida won the only previous meeting to capture the BCS Championship in the 2008 season. Trask played the first series of the second half, then sat out the rest of the game as Emory Jones took over. Anthony Richardson QB'd the last series that produced a Florida touchdown for the final score. Florida still had 521 total yards, but Oklahoma had 684, paced by Rhamondre Stevenson's 186 rushing and a TD. QB Spencer Rattler threw for 247 and 3 scores to three different receivers. Florida closed out the season on a 3-game losing streak to finish 8-4, while Oklahoma concluded the year at 9-2 with its 8th straight win. This was the 85th Cotton Bowl Classic but only the third appearance for Oklahoma (2-1) out of 54 bowl trips and first for Florida out of 46 bowl games.
Wisconsin exploded for more points than it had scored in its last four games combined to beat Wake Forest 42-28 in the Duke's Mayo Bowl in Charlotte on Wednesday (December 30). The Badgers trailed 14-0 with 7:21 in the first quarter, but rallied to tie it at 14-apiece at the half. The Demon Deacons regained the lead on their opening drive of the second half when Jacquarii Robinson hauled in his third TD catch from Sam Hartman to make it 21-14. Wisconisn immediately responded with a 5-play drive capped off by QB Graham Mertz' second 1-yard TD run. Then Wake fell apart. The Deacs next dropped was halted on downs, and the following 4 drives all ended with interceptions. Wisconsin converted the 4 turnovers into 21 points to take a 42-21 lead. A Wake Forest score with 6 seconds left produced the final margin. A Mertz TD pass with 1:20 to go in the 3rd was his first in four games.
On Tuesday night (December 29), Texas broke open a close game in the second half, despite the loss of QB Sam Ehlinger to an injury, and stampeded Colorado 55-23 in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. The Longhorns led 14-0 after the first quarter, but the Buffs climbed back to within 17-10 at the break. Texas needed just two plays to increase the lead to 24-10 at the start of the 3rd when Bijon Robinson had 66 of his 183 yards rushing yards on the first snap, and backup QB Casey Thompson threw a 13-yard TD pass to Joshua Moore on the second play. Thompson would wind up throwing 4 TD passes - another to Moore, and one each to Robinson and Kelvontay Dixon. A third QB, Hudson Card, finished the game. Texas is now 4-0 in bowl games under Tom Herman, and 31-24-2 over-all. Colorado lost a 4th straight bowl game and continues to look for its first bowl win since 2004.
Also on the 29th, Oklahoma State took a 21-0 first quarter lead and Miami's comeback fell short as the Cowboys pocketed a 37-34 win in the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando. The 'Canes managed to rally despite losing quarterback D'Eriq King to injury minutes before halftime when they still trailed 21-10. Miami wound up outgaining OSU 512-418, led by N'Kosi Perry's 228-yard, 2 TD performance in relief of King. But it wasn't enough to keep the Hurricanes from losing a fourth straight bowl game and their 10th in the last 11 tries. Oklahoma State improved to 20-11 all-time, and 4-1 over the last 5.
A 42-yard field goal attempt in the bottom of the first overtime was blocked and Liberty ended Coastal Carolina's perfect season in the Cure Bowl in Orlando on Saturday night. The last of three bowl games on December 26th offered everything you could have wanted from a highly-anticipated matchup. The final score: Liberty (10-1) 37, Coastal Carolina (11-1) 34. The victory by the Flames also prevented the Sun Belt from having a perfect run in bowl season as the conference went 4-1. Independent teams improved to 2-0 with Army left to compete against West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl on New Year's Eve.
Liberty could have won it in the closing seconds of regulation but, as RB Joshua Mack was trying to stay out of the end zone in the closing seconds to set up a game-winning field goal, Coastal players tried to pull him in to the end zone and the ball was jarred loose and recovered by the Chanticleers. QB Malik Willis had 357 yards of total offense for Liberty with 220 passing and 137 rushing with 4 TD's on the ground. Coastal QB Grayson McCall compiled 416 yards of total offense with 318 yards and 3 TD's through the air, plus 96 yards and a TD on the ground. It was McCall's 2-point conversion run that tied the game at 34 with 3:01 left in regulation. This was Coastal Carolina's first bowl trip and Liberty's second after losing 23-16 to Georgia Southern in this same bowl game a year ago.
On December 26 in Dallas, Louisiana stretched its winning streak to 7 games with a 31-24 win in the First Responder Bowl over UTSA (7-5). It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Ragin' Cajuns were declared Sun Belt co-champions with Coastal Carolina when their conference championship contest was canceled due to Covid issues in the Chanticleer's program. They finished the year 10-1 for their first back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins in history after going 11-3 a year ago. Louisiana opened a 24-7 lead, only to see the Roadrunners claw their way back and tie the score at 24-apiece with 13:32 to play. But the Ragin' Cajuns re-took the lead on their ensuing possession, capping a 12-play, 72-yard drive with RB Trey Ragas' 1-yard TD run for what would prove to be the game-winning points.
Also on the 26th, Georgia State won the Lending Tree Bowl, beating Western Kentucky 39-21 in Mobile, Alabama to end the season with a 6-4 mark. The Panthers also beat Western Kentucky in the 2017 Cure Bowl in Orlando for their only other bowl win. The Hilltoppers fell to 4-3 in bowl games and concluded the season with a 5-7 record.
Buffalo (6-1) handed Marshall (7-3) a 3rd straight loss to end the season as the Bulls prevailed, 17-10, over the Thundering Herd at the Camellia Bowl on Christmas Day. It was the first-ever meeting the two schools. Buffalo held the nation's leading rusher, Jaret Patterson, out of the game after he suffered a mild right knee injury in the MAC Championship game loss to Ball State.
On Christmas Eve, Hawaii downed Houston 28-14 in the New Mexico Bowl which was played in Frisco, Texas. Three interceptions helped the Warriors establish a 14-0 lead and they never looked back. Hawaii finished 5-4 while giving their first-year head coach, Todd Graham his 100th career win (100-65, 13 seasons). Houston fell to 3-5. It was Graham's first-ever win vs. Dana Holgorsen in four head-to-head matches. Hawaii improved to 2-0 all-time vs. Houston with the only previous meeting producing a 54-48 win in triple-overtime in the 2003 Hawaii Bowl.
The Montgomery Bowl on December 23 was all Memphis. QB Brady White completed 22-of-34 passes for 284 yards and three TD's in the 25-10 win over FAU, finishing as the school's career leader in passing yards (10,690), passing touchdowns (90) and wins as a starting quarterback (28). FAU won the only previous meeting in the New Orleans Bowl in 2007. Memphis finished 8-3 for first-year head coach Ryan Silverfield as the school snapped a 5-bowl losing streak. FAU dropped to 5-4 with a third straight loss to end WiIlie Taggart's first season in Boca Raton. Taggart has led teams to 5 bowl games in 11 seasons as a head coach, but he has only actually coached in two of those and lost both. It was FAU's first-ever loss in a bowl game (4-1).
Georgia Southern had no competition from Louisiana Tech in the New Orleans Bowl on December 23, rolling to a 38-3 win in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Eagles finished 8-5 with the win, managing to compete in 13 games in the 'year of covid'. The Bulldogs fell to 5-5 as their 6-bowl winning streak came to an end. As a head coach, Skip Holtz had won 7 straight bowl games. Georgia Southern has never lost a bowl game (3-0).
BYU was a 49-23 winner over UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl on December 22. The Cougars completed an 11-1 campaign while the Knights slipped to 6-4. The Cougars rolled up 655 total yards as Zach Wilson threw for 425 and 3 scores, and Tyler Allgeier ran for 173 yards and a touchdown.
Also on the 22nd, Nevada (7-2) took care of Tulane (6-6) 38-27 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Green Wave won the only previous meeting in 1992. This was Nevada's second straight appearance in this bowl game after losing 30-21 to Ohio last season.
The bowl season kicked off on December 21 with Appalachian State (9-3) whipping North Texas (4-6) in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl, 56-28, to keep its perfect bowl record intact (6-0). The Mean Green fell to 2-9 all-time in bowl games with a 4th straight bowl loss.
Coastal Carolina - Lost 37-34 in OT Liberty
Of the teams that made it this year, these had the longest wait to get back to a bowl game:
Ball State, 2013 - Defeated San Jose State 34-13 in this season's Arizona Bowl for first-ever bowl win (1-7).
San Jose State, 2015 - Lost to Ball State 34-13 in this season's Arizona Bowl to snap 4-bowl winning streak.
This teams have the longest continuing current streak of bowl absence:
Oregon State, 2013
East Carolina, 2014
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances:
Virginia Tech, 27 - The question is whether or not you put an asterisk next to this and allow an opportunity for the streak to continue next year since the school asked not to be invited but reportedly had interest from at least 3 bowl games.
Georgia, 24 - the leader now, without an asterisk.
These teams have the most consecutive bowl victories (last season of a bowl loss in parenthesis. CFP Championship games are NOT bowl games.). All teams listed are playing in a bowl game this year, unless otherwise noted.
Appalachian State, 6 (Never) - Won 56-28 vs. North Texas in this season's Myrtle Beach Bowl.
Alabama, 6 (2014) - Won 31-14 vs. Notre Dame in this season's Rose Bowl semifinal playoff game.
Minnesota, 4 (2013) - Opted out
Northwestern, 4 (2015) - Won 35-19 vs. Auburn in this season's Citrus Bowl.
Syracuse, 4 (2004) - Opted out
Tennessee, 4 (2010) - had to back out of Liberty Bowl agreement the day after accepting the bid, due to Covid.
Texas, 4 (2014) - Won 55-23 vs. Colorado in this season's Alamo Bowl.
Troy, 4 (2009) - Uninvited this year
Duke, 3 (2014) - Uninvited this year
Georgia Southern, 3 (Never) - Won 38-3 vs. Louisiana Tech in this season's New Orleans Bowl.
Iowa, 3 (2016) - Was scheduled to play Missouri in Music City Bowl, but game was canceled due to Covid issues in Missouri's program.
Kansas, 3 (2003) - Hasn't appeared in a bowl game since 2008
Ohio, 3 (2016) - Uninvited this year
Streaks snapped this year: Louisiana Tech's 6-bowl winning streak was snapped with a 38-3 loss to Georgia Southern in this year's New Orleans Bowl.
FAU suffered its first-ever bowl lost, a 25-10 defeat to Memphis in this season's Montgomery Bowl. The Owls are 1-4 all-time. Memphis had lost 5 straight.
Florida's 3-bowl winning streak was broken with a 55-20 loss to Oklahoma in this season's Cotton Bowl.
San Jose State had 4-bowl winning streak snapped with a 34-13 loss to Ball State in this season's Arizona Bowl.
Army lost 24-21 to West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl for its first bowl loss since 1996, snapping a 4-bowl winning streak.
These teams have the most consecutive bowl losses (last season of a bowl win in parenthesis). All teams listed are playing in a bowl game this year, unless otherwise noted.
Northern Illinois, 6 (2011) - Uninvited this year
UTEP, 6 (1967) - Uninvited this year
Central Michigan, 5 (2012) - Uninvited this year
Indiana, 5 (1991)
Colorado State, 4 (2013) - Uninvited this year
Miami, FLA, 4 (2016) - Lost 37-34 to Oklahoma State in this season's Cheez-It Bowl.
Michigan, 4 (2015) - Opted out
Streaks snapped this year: Memphis snapped a 5-bowl losing streak with a 25-10 in over FAU in this season's Montgomery Bowl. FAU was 4-0 in bowl games until that loss.
Ball State had 7-bowl losing streak snapped with its first-ever bowl win (1-7), a 34-13 defeat of San Jose State in this season's Arizona Bowl.
South Alabama, 0-2 - Uninvited this year
UTSA, 0-2 - Lost 31-24 to Louisiana-Lafayette in this season's SERVPRO First Responder's Bowl
This year: Ball State (1-7) drops from this list after beating San Jose State 34-13.
Last year: Buffalo and Kent State each dropped from this list by winning their respective bowl game this season. Buffalo entered the 2019 bowl season 0-3, while Kent State came in 0-2.
(Minimum 20 appearances)
All teams listed are playing in a bowl game this year, unless otherwise noted.
Utah, 18-6 (.750) - Opted out
Mississippi, 24-13 (.649)
Oklahoma State, 20-11 (.645) - Defeated Miami 37-34 in this season's Cheez-It Bowl.
USC, 35-20 (.636) - Opted out
Penn State, 30-17-2 (.6326) - Opted out
Alabama, 41-24-3 (.625) - Won 31-14 vs. Notre Dame in this season's Rose Bowl semifinal playoff game.
Syracuse, 15-9-1 (.620) - Opted out
Florida State, 28-17-2 (.617) - Opted out
Georgia, 33-20-3 (.616) - Won 24-21 vs. Cincinnati in this season's Peach Bowl.
All teams listed are playing in a bowl game this year, unless otherwise noted.
Alabama, 41 - Won 31-14 vs. Notre Dame in this season's Rose Bowl semifinal playoff game.
USC, 35 - Opted out
Georgia, 33 - Won 24-21 vs. Cincinnati in this season's Peach Bowl.
Texas, 31 - Won 55-23 vs. Colorado in this season's Alamo Bowl.
Oklahoma, 30 - Won 55 - 20 vs. Florida in this season's Cotton Bowl.
Penn State, 30 - Opted out
Tennessee, 29 - had to back out of Liberty Bowl agreement the day after accepting the bid, due to Covid.
Florida State, 28 - Opted out
LSU, 26 - Self-probation
Nebraska, 26 - Opted out
Georgia Tech, 25 - Opted out
Auburn, 24 - Lost 35-19 to Northwestern in this season's Citrus Bowl.
Florida, 24 - Lost 55 - 20 to Oklahoma in this season's Cotton Bowl.
Ohio State, 24 - Won 49-28 vs. Clemson in this season's Sugar Bowl semifinal playoff game.
Clemson, 22 - Lost 49-28 vs. Ohio State in this season's Sugar Bowl semifinal playoff game.
Michigan, 21 - Opted out
A total of 30 FBS teams played a total of 34 games against FCS schools this season with the FBS going 33-1. Since we began tracking this in 2003, the FBS teams are 1,468-128 (.920).
Last year, FBS teams were 111-3 (.974) in such games.
Here is the only FCS win vs. the FBS this season:
October 23: Jacksonville State 19, FIU 10
These were the FCS wins vs. the FBS in the previous 2 seasons:
August 29: Central Arkansas 35, Western Kentucky 28
September 7: Southern Illinois 45, Massachusetts 20
September 14: The Citadel 27, Georgia Tech 24 (OT)
August 29: UC Davis 44, San Jose State 31
September 1: Villanova 19, Temple 17
September 1: Northern Arizona 30, UTEP 10
September 1: Nicholls State 26, Kansas 23 (OT)
September 2: North Carolina A&T 28, East Carolina 23
September 8: Maine 31, Western Kentucky 28
September 22: Illinois State 35, Colorado State 19
ALABAMA - Won 13 straight games overall (tied for FBS longest).
Last: Won 31-14 vs. Notre Dame in College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Rose Bowl at Arlington, Texas on Jan. 1.
Next: Plays Ohio State in College Football Playoff Championship game on Monday, January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens
COASTAL CAROLINA - Had won 12 straight games overall (tied for FBS longest).
Last: Lost 37-34 in OT to Liberty in the Cure Bowl on Saturday, December 26.
Next: Season complete.
OHIO STATE - Won 21 straight conference games (FBS longest). Won 9 straight road games (FBS longest). Won 21 straight regular season games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 49-28 vs. Clemson in College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.
Next: Plays Alabama in College Football Playoff Championship game on Monday, January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
CLEMSON - Won 28 straight home games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 49-28 vs. Ohio State in College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.
Next: Season complete.
NEW MEXICO - Lost 13 straight road games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 49-39 vs. Fresno State in Las Vegas (New Mexico's adopted home) on Saturday, December 12.
Next: Season complete.
AKRON - Lost 12 straight road games (FBS second-longest).
Last: Lost 56-7 at Buffalo on Saturday, December 12 at Buffalo.
Next: Season complete.
KANSAS - Lost 13 straight overall (FBS longest), 6 straight home games (tied with Rutgers for FBS longest).
Last: 16-13 loss at Texas Tech on Saturday, December 5.
Next: Season complete.
UTEP - Lost 15 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 45-43 at North Texas on Friday, December 11.
Next: Season complete.