Bowl season is over with only days to go before Monday night’s grand finale at the cathedral of Our Lady of Santa Clara, the Lambeau Field of college football holy turfs and the undisputed oracle of the sport’s origins.
Wait, sorry, the only “Oracle” involved here is the company Larry Ellison founded in Santa Clara in 1977.
It begs the question: how did college football end up in a stadium named after a pair of blue jeans? In a region indifferent to the sport and only miles from a campus stadium at Stanford that has a hard time filling its 50,000-seat venue?
These and other kitchen-sink thoughts meandered through my restless mind Tuesday night on my drive home from Ohio State’s 28-23 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl.
It was a fine game but what a misguided waste of precious sunset.
In what world should the Rose Bowl be rendered a second-class citizen to Levi’s Stadium?
How is it a better when Santa Clara, with tainted NFL money, can outbid Pasadena for a national title game?
At least in the old BCS system, the Rose Bowl got to host a national title every four years under the old “double-host” system.
The four-team playoff, however, adopted in 2014, opened the competition to a Super Bowl-type bidding.
The reason the Rose Bowl doesn’t host a College Football Playoff national title is the same reason Granddaddy hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl since 1993. Not enough room, suites, perks, parking, cookies or freebies.
Maybe that will change with expansion and the soon-to-be-opening mega stadium in Los Angeles.
But good luck with that thinking…
--How did your eight-team playoff work out? Three of the teams that would have been deemed “in” by the selection committee lost their bowl games. No. 15 Texas beat No. 5 Georgia, whose absence was sold by Herbstreit and Finebaum as “The Great Train Robbery.” No. 10 Florida dismantled No. 7 Michigan and No. 11 LSU took out No. 8 Central Florida.
--Washington football’s four-year relationship with Jake Browning at quarterback was nut-shelled late in the first half of Tuesday’s Rose Bowl. With Washington down, 14-3, Browning missed a wide-open receiver on a slant and was forced to punt. Ohio State took possession and scored with 14 seconds left to make it a 21-3. That turning point loomed large as Washington mounted a fourth-quarter comeback.
“I thought that was a big, huge key to the game,” Washington Coach Chris Petersen acknowledged.
To be fair, Browning also had several passes dropped.
Browning had an excellent four-year stint but these were the kind of plays that will somewhat haunt his collegiate career.
--Washington State, if you can believe it, is going to end up as the Pac 12’s highest-ranked team in the final polls. Do not, however, expect some last-minute surge of respect for Mike Leach’s 11-win season. Washington State was No. 13 in the final CFP committee ranking. I’m curious to see how many multi-loss teams that lost bowl games will stay ahead of Washington State, which won the Alamo. I’m also curious to see how many multi-loss teams behind Washington State in the polls will jump the Cougars.
Watch out in front for losers No. 3 Notre Dame (no chance they’ll drop below Wazzu), No. 5 Georgia (less than zero chance), No. 7 Michigan (should drop below), No. 8 UCF (maybe) and No. 9 Washington (close loss to Ohio State and defeated Washington State).
Watch out from behind for No. 14 Kentucky (my guess is UK will jump), No. 15 Texas (slam dunk to jump WSU) and No. 19 Texas A&M (50-50).
--Final bowl records for conferences are often overrated, but here they are:
Conference USA (4-2): Anyone think C-USA is the best league?
SEC: (6-5): Revealing only in that it supports the premise that the SEC, while being the top conference in football, is top heavy and not as top-to-bottom good as it thinks it is.
Big Ten (5-4): Big finishes against Pac 12 (Northwestern over Utah, Ohio State over Washington) offset dreadful performances by Purdue and Michigan.
Big 12 (4-3): Misleading in that the Big 12 went 3-1 against the SEC (Texas over Georgia, Oklahoma State over Missouri, Baylor over Vanderbilt) with the lone loss being Alabama over Oklahoma.
Mountain West (3-2): Fresno State led the way by capping a 12-win season with a win over Arizona State.
Sun Belt (3-2): Appalachian State is “Hot, Hot, Hot.”
ACC (5-5): Miami’s 31-3 loss to Wisconsin basically exposed the league as a mighty one-trick pony (Clemson)
Pac 12 (3-4): An improvement on last year’s 1-8 but not much to brag about thanks to dismal offensive production. What happened to Pac After Dark? Entering Tuesday’s Rose Bowl, the conference had averaged 14.14 points in six bowl games. Only a 20-point, fourth-quarter outburst by Washington in the Rose Bowl pushed the final seven-bowl average to 17 ppg. Awful.
AAC (2-5): Houston lost to Army, 70-14. End of story.
MAC (1-5): Let’s not focus on the negative and celebrate Ohio’s 27-0 win over San Diego State in the Frisco Bowl.
Plati's Plaudits: Congratulations to Colorado sports information director Dave Plati for winning this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Football Writers Assn. of America.
Plati will be honored next Monday at the FWAA breakfast in San Jose in advance of Monday’s championship game.
Not only does Plati understand the importance and benefit of media relations, he runs a tough, no-nonsense, no-cheering press box and is so talented at “game notes” he is flown in annually for the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff championship game.
Plati is most recently famous for filling in his own “depth-chart notes” for Michigan when coach Jim Harbaugh refused to provide one for a Colorado game.
Plati’s Rose Bowl game notes were typically off-beat and informational. Because of Plati we know that total attendance for 105 Rose Bowls now stands at 9,270,897.
Also, the temperature of 60 degrees at kickoff was the 18th coolest in Rose Bowl history!
We also learned this was a Rose Bowl with no crossover players. No players on Washington hailed from Ohio and no players on Ohio State hailed from the state of Washington.
Final Bowl pick accounting: Rankman finished 22-17 in straight-up picks and 21-18 against the spread. You’re welcome.