SEC reigns supreme

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Okay, raise your hand if you watched all 41 bowl games this season!
If you did manage to do that, and if you still have your eyesight, more power to you. As for me, I picked and chose carefully. No, I couldn’t sit through San Jose State versus Georgia State, Western Kentucky against South Florida or even Appalachian State versus Ohio. But I did manage to watch some live, and some with the help of the record button, so I can safely say that I’ve had my fill of football.
I did see some great individual performances, none better than Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey’s domination of Iowa. I kind of had to feel sorry for the Hawkeyes, yet it baffled me how Iowa’s defense and special teams seemed unconcerned about what the sophomore could bring to the table. I know it’s difficult for teams to key on just one player, but from the little I had seen of the Stanford sophomore superstar, that would have been my strategy. McCaffrey was wide open down the middle on the game’s very first play, catching a pass and scoring from 75 yards out. The clock read 14:49 but the game was over.
Two other teams had miserable starts, and both fought back. If you recall, Utah got out fast and scored 35 first quarter points after five BYU turnovers on Dec. 19. The Cougars eventually lost 35-28.
The other team that looked like they were going to get run out of the stadium was Texas Christian. If you saw this game on Saturday night consider yourself fortunate...I think it was the best bowl game of them all.
I was sweating bullets watching Oregon and senior quarterback Vernon Adams dominate the Horned Frogs, taking a 31-0 lead. And I was sweating because the Ducks come to Lincoln next September.
But then Adams gets hurt, Oregon generates only 18 total yards in the second half on 18 plays, and TCU wins a thriller in triple overtime, with a backup quarterback.
Adams was a great player for the Ducks in his brief single season, but it shows just how important the quarterback position is for any team. Without Adams, Oregon looked pretty darn pedestrian. And, oh yes, my blood pressure returned to normal.
As for the Big Ten, some good and some not so good. Michigan State looked awful matched up against Alabama, but I’ll give them a pass this time because the Tide are by far the best team in the country. Iowa will look to regroup for 2016, but may find the road to the Big Ten title game may be a little bumpier despite many key returnees. They’ll be the hunted next season.
Michigan and Ohio State both looked great on New Year’s Day, while Northwestern got outclassed by a Tennessee team that may have a say in things a year from now.
Penn State gave Georgia a game despite Christian Hackenberg’s injury, Wisconsin looked good in a two-point win over USC in San Diego, and Indiana once again couldn’t find enough defense, losing to Duke in overtime.
As for the Huskers, their performance was inspiring and nostalgic all in one. Nebraska’s domination on the ground (326 to 67) brought back some fun memories, and Tommy Armstrong, Jr. certainly stepped up to the plate and played his best game of the season, by far.
More than anything, the junior quarterback stayed in rhythm, whether it was in the huddle, calling audibles or in the pocket. He was focused and determined, just like his teammates. Good stuff.
As for next Monday’s championship game, I like Alabama, even though I don’t like Nick Saban. They’ll win by two touchdowns. Maybe more.
Like it or not, this year the SEC will rule.

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