Conference Breakdown in Bowl Games
Big 12 5-3
Pac 10 3-2
Big 10 3-4
Big East 1-2
The SEC was favored in all six of its matchups, but suffered two of the biggest upsets in the Capitol One and Sugar Bowls. The ACC was favored in 6 out of 8 games, managing to win 4 of those with Virginia beating favored Minnesota in the Music City Bowl.
Best Bowl Game:
Tie, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl. Both resulted in losses for the SEC and ACC, but both provided unmatched drama outside of the Rose Bowl. In the Sugar Bowl, West Virginia jumped out to an early 28 point lead after Georgia tried to bully them around. Georgia, like the champion they are, pulled back to within 10 at halftime and 3 by late fourth quarter. Rich Rodriguez make a brilliant call (hindsight is never wrong) by faking a punt to seal the victory for the Mountaineers. Not the biggest upset by the numbers, but not too many really thought West Virginia could hang with the SEC Champions. The Orange Bowl pitted two of the greatest coaches of all-time in an epic battle. FSU struggled for much of the night, but got some big plays from their defense and kick returners to give big favorite Penn St. all they could handle. In the end, the kicking game undid Bobby Bowden again.
Emerald Bowl. Georgia Tech was disappointed after being passed over by the Music City Bowl and that disappointment traveled with them out to San Francisco. The Yellow Jackets should have been able to handle Utah after beating Auburn and Miami on the road, but lack of motivation and a precision passing attack was their undoing. If the game had been played on a real football field, then maybe the outcome would have been different. Once Georgia Tech got down big, they knew their offense would not be able to bring them back. This one will one will leave a sour taste for a long time, putting a damper on a pretty successful season.
Peach Bowl. LSU ran over, through and around a Miami defense ranked third coming into this game. Offensively, Kyle Wright could not get anything going against an LSU defense blasted for 34 points in the SEC Championship Game. This game gave the SEC a 4-2 season advantage in head-to-head matchups, but the ACC will point to their 5-3 bowl record and their 8 bowl teams to the SEC's 6. The ACC is the only to have a .500 or better record in bowl games each of the last five years.
Maybe the best championship game of all-time. Vince Young was unstoppable. Matt Leinart threading passes against double coverage. In the end, the Texas defense stiffened and USC's did not. It was too bad somebody has to lose this game, but credit has to go to Texas for their 12-point comeback with under 7 minutes to go. You cannot ask for anything more in a national championship game.