Best, worst from college football bowl games


The college football postseason is limited to one game, and next Monday’s Dawgs-versus-Frogs championship game between Georgia and TCU is the only one left.

Here’s what we learned after the 42 bowl games.

The semifinals made Saturday the biggest day in College Football Playoff history.

If you weren’t a fan of Ohio State or Michigan, watching college football was the most fun. But the playoff games shouldn’t happen on New Year’s Eve when all the attention is on something else.

When Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren leaves to become president of the Chicago BearsSaturday was a fitting farewell.

The conference’s two legendary programs could have staged a rematch in the championship game, only to be eliminated in the semifinals. At least Big Ten fans can stop complaining about SEC bias in the rankings.

The Hypnotoad is a real thing.

The nickname of TCU is the Horned Frogs. But the school has adopted the Hypnotoad, a cartoon character from Futurama, as its unofficial mascot. Seeing a psychedelic cartoon frog is a fitting way to end a crazy college football season.

JJ McCarthy does not reply to anyone.

After losing to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl semifinals, the LaGrange Park Michigan quarterback made a brief statement in the post-game press conference, then stood and walked out. That kind of attitude is why many college football fans are against Michigan. Accountability is important.

Jim Harbaugh outdid himself.

It was ridiculous to call for a trick play for fourth place and goal in the opening run of the semifinals. Of course it didn’t work. “Put it on me,” Harbaugh said afterwards. No need to make such a request, Coach. Twitter was way ahead of you.

Bowl games in baseball stadiums should wind down.

It may have been cool when Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium hosted a bowl game for the first time. Now it’s old hat and nobody cares to see it. At least there’s no Wintrust Wrigley Field Bowl… yet.

CJ Stroud is the best player in the nation.

The Ohio State quarterback showed everyone what he’s made of in a heartbreaking loss to Georgia. It was one of the most impressive CFP performances of all time and would seal Stroud’s status as the top QB in the NFL draft.

A .500 team should not receive a bowl invitation.

There’s no reason a mediocre 6-6 team deserves to play in a bowl game. If you can’t muster even one successful season, stay home and try again next year.

There’s always a rainbow in the Sun Bowl.

I would love to see a college student write a thesis on why this always happens during the annual game in El Paso, Texas.

Too many star players sit out bowl games for the draft.

If you’re afraid of getting injured and hurting your NFL draft status, you might want to just sit out the entire season and avoid the risk entirely. No prominent players sit out the playoff games, and it’s the same risk.

ESPN Radio needs to pull itself together.

The announcers’ microphones malfunctioned on Michigan-TCU’s opening drive. All you heard was the field announcer giving the down and distance after each game. This is the playoffs and you are the self-proclaimed “national sports leader”. Do it better.

Guillermo needs a screenwriter.

Jimmy Kimmel and his sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez were brought into the dressing room during the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. Guillermo stood like a bump on a log and said nothing. Maybe next year they can drop him a few lines before he goes on live TV or just let him out of the dressing room.

Not every coach had a great season.

After Notre Dame’s win over South Carolina in the Gator Bowl, an ESPN announcer let us know what a great job Ireland coach Marcus Freeman did in his freshman year. This praise for any college football coach is unnecessary. The Irish, who recruit more talent by name alone than almost any other program, lost at home to Marshall and a 9-3 Stanford team. Freeman may turn out to be a very good coach, but four losses doesn’t mean a great season at Notre Dame.

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, Tulane said, “Hold my Hurricane.”

Tulane players celebrate after a 46-45 win over USC in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium on Monday January 2, 2023 in Arlington, Texas.

The Green Wave was 4:30 behind USC 45-30 Monday at the Cotton Bowl when they hit one touchdown in two games, received a safety and hit the game-winning touchdown in a 12-game, 66-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard pass from Michael Pratt to Alex Bauman by 9 seconds. The pass was declared incomplete but was reversed on video review. Of the many last-minute comebacks, including Pitt over UCLA in the Sun Bowl, Tulane’s miracle was perhaps the best of them all.

The next generation of NFL quarterbacks is looking amazing.

Stroud (348 yards, four touchdowns in the Peach Bowl), Alabama’s Bryce Young (321 yards, five touchdowns in the Sugar Bowl), and USC’s Caleb Williams (462 yards, five touchdowns in the Cotton Bowl) all looked ready for their NFL -Close-ups off. Too bad the Bears don’t need a quarterback.

Mike Leach tributes ruled the bowl season.

Running back Jo'quavious Marks and the rest of the Mississippi State players wear stickers on their helmets honoring former coach Mike Leach during the ReliaQuest Bowl Monday, January 2, 2023, in Tampa, Florida.  Leach died on December 13th.  2022, from a heart condition.

It was a shame that Illinois’ return to the bowl season ended in a loss to Mississippi State in Monday’s Gator Bowl, but it seemed like karma was on the Bulldogs’ side, who paid tribute to their late coach Mike Pirate decals on their helms wore leaches. All tributes to Leach during the bowl season were special, including Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz wearing a t-shirt with the coach’s picture during the Gasparilla Bowl.