FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THIS YEAR'S BOWL GAMES
1 RIP BCS The BCS would have given us an Alabama--Florida State championship game and a meaningless Ohio State--Oregon matchup in the Rose Bowl. Instead, the Buckeyes and the Ducks earned a chance to face off for the title.
2 THE PLAYOFF didn't kill the other bowls. There are 36 of them, and because they're valuable television inventory, they're not going anywhere. The Bahamas Bowl featured the most lateral-packed end-of-regulation touchdown since The Band Is on the Field in Berkeley in 1982, even though Central Michigan still lost to Western Kentucky 49--48. Houston stormed back from a 25-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 35--34 win over Pittsburgh in the Armed Forces Bowl. Were we not entertained?
3 TCU AND junior quarterback Trevone Boykin (left) are early favorites for preseason No. 1 and the Heisman. The Horned Frogs thrashed Ole Miss 42--3 in the Peach Bowl, and they could bring back as many as 16 starters. Boykin, who didn't win the starting job until preseason camp, put up dazzling numbers (4,661 total yards, 42 TDs) and will now have the off-season to master the scheme.
4 FAT GUYS can be skill guys too. Baylor junior guard LaQuan McGowan, listed at 6'7" and 390 pounds, caught an 18-yard touchdown pass in the Bears' 42--41 Cotton Bowl loss to Michigan State. In a 30--22 Cactus Bowl defeat of Washington, Oklahoma State's 6'2", 300-pound senior defensive tackle, James Castleman, played quarterback in a formation now known as the Wild Fat and ran for a one-yard touchdown. Later, Castleman caught a pass in the flat and rumbled 48 yards.
5 BOISE CREATED some déj√† blue. The last time the Broncos had a first-year coach (Chris Petersen, in 2006), they ran a Statue of Liberty play to win the Fiesta Bowl. They did it again. Bryan Harsin, the offensive coordinator for the Boise team that beat Oklahoma on Jan. 1, 2007, returned to the blue turf as coach and led the Broncos to a Mountain West title and a 38--30 victory over Arizona in the Fiesta. In doing so, Boise again showed that little guys still deserve a place at the table.