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Bud Withers: Wrapping up the bowl season

By Bud Withers The Seattle Times (MCT) • Updated Jan 6, 2014 at 9:49 PM

We’ve seen endless spots of a teenager running from his girlfriend’s dad holding something called “stuft nachos” in his hand. We’ve watched, repeatedly, a beautiful woman driving a vehicle on the roof of a train car. We’ve witnessed a pig in the stands at a football game.

Some of the stuff between the TV commercials of the bowl season was almost as fanciful.

We’ve soldiered through 35 bowl games, and shame on you if you missed any of them. What was memorable, and not so much, in 23 days of postseason college football:

Pac-12 pomposity: The league went 6-3, respectable enough. It was just the way it lost the three games.

Do the math: Washington State could have taken three knees in the last 2:07 and had to do no more than get off a punt on the last play of the game—if that—in losing to Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl.

The bug was contagious. Arizona State also botched the clock at the end of the first half in its face-plant against Texas Tech (Holiday), leading ESPN’s Mark May to say, “From top to bottom, this is probably the least prepared football I’ve seen throughout the bowl season.”

Then there was Stanford and coach David Shaw, who spent much of an afternoon head-banging futilely with Michigan State in the Rose, calling two failed fourth-down runs. Suppose Shaw knew that, as the handoff went to Tyler Gaffney on one of those in the third quarter, Gaffney had already been engulfed for losses on six of his 14 rushes?

Just don’t ask Shaw about his decision-making. Refer to his brusque comments on the Nov. 19 Pac-12 conference call, when he said, “I don’t answer questions about play-calling because when plays work, then we’re smart, and when play calls don’t work, then we’re dumb.”

Is there a rule against introducing a little imagination into all those bowl practices?

How you know your team might not be focused: Shortly after Boise State arrived in Hawaii for its whipping by Oregon State, quarterback Joe Southwick was sent home by the school. He said he was accused of peeing off a hotel balcony, which he denied.

Truth in advertising: ESPN’s Clay Matvick, doing the Heart of Dallas Bowl between UNLV and North Texas, noted Rebels coach Bobby Hauck’s early struggles in Vegas but added brightly, “Now he has them in a January bowl.” Yeah, in the same way the BBVA Compass and the GoDaddy are January bowls.

If a tree falls in the forest ... Attendance at many bowls was reflected in this paragraph from an AP dispatch at the Hawaii Bowl: “After the successful extra-point attempt went into the stands, the mostly empty stadium provided its loudest ovation of the night in support of the fans who tried to keep the ball away from security by throwing it around the seats.”

Every ‘dog has his day: Three of the four biggest point-spread favorites—Alabama, Baylor and Arizona State—lost badly.

Best game: 1) Texas A&M 52, Duke 48, Chick fil-A. Duke ran up 661 yards and had a 21-point lead before Johnny Manziel got rolling, denying the Blue Devils their first bowl win since 1961. 2) Missouri 41, Oklahoma State 31, Cotton. An innocent 17-7 defensive struggle in the third quarter morphed into a 41-point fourth quarter.

Clutch move: ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer worked the Heimlich maneuver on partner Chris Fowler, who was choking on a chicken sandwich at halftime of the Pinstripe Bowl in New York.

Five command performances: 1) Connor Shaw, South Carolina QB, went 22 of 25 in the Capital One Bowl, threw for three TDs, caught one and rushed for one. On Wisconsin, indeed. 2) Davis Webb, Texas Tech’s freshman QB, passed for 403 yards in the putdown of the Sun Devils. 3) Rashad Reynolds, Oregon State cornerback, had two fumble returns for touchdowns in 10:46 of the Hawaii—after the Beavers hadn’t had one since 2007. 4) Hau’oli Kikaha of Washington had three sacks and a forced fumble in the UW win over BYU in the Fight Hunger. 5) Ryan Switzer, a 175-pound freshman, returned a punt 86 yards for a score—his fifth of the season, tying an NCAA record—in North Carolina’s rout of Cincinnati in the Belk.

The Kid and his kid: As Trey Griffey caught passes for the first two TDs of his college career for Arizona in the AdvoCare V100, Ken Griffey Jr. was seen smiling behind a large camera lens on the sideline, shooting photos. Welcome to the media, Junior.


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