5. Virginia Tech gets rewarded for being blown out. For me, the real stunner of the weekend was Virginia Tech’s performance against Clemson in the ACC championship game, specifically in the second half. Tied at the half, the Tigers used a 21-point third quarter to pull away from the Hokies — scoring three touchdowns on five plays in a span of 4:24 in the quarter. Tajh Boyd brushed off his late-season slump to throw three touchdowns and run for another score as Clemson became the only team to beat Virginia Tech twice in the same season. However, the loss essentially didn’t matter for Frank Beamer’s squad. While Clemson earned an Orange Bowl berth as the ACC champion, the Hokies were surprisingly selected as an at-large squad by the Sugar Bowl reps to take on Michigan. It is the first time in the 14-year history of the BCS that the ACC has sent two teams to the BCS. Kansas State and Boise State, meanwhile, lost out. But Sugar Bowl reps clearly felt that the Hokies were a bigger TV draw and had more fans that would come to New Orleans for the game. And, sadly, money talks.
ICONRobert Griffin III may have emerged as the Heisman Trophy frontrunner.
6. The Heisman race. As I mentioned above, my final Heisman Watch of the season will be posted tomorrow at the NFP. Final ballots were due by 5 p.m. ET Monday. I had Stanford’s Andrew Luck No. 1 all season — and I’m not saying that hasn’t changed — but it’s really hard to argue with Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. RG III’s play has never contributed to a Bears loss, and he’s arguably been the steadiest player throughout the fall, with the exception perhaps of Wisconsin’s Montee Ball. No matter who wins the Heisman hardware, this has been one of the best races in recent memory.
7. TCU’s recovery. You have to love the coaching job of Gary Patterson at TCU this fall after the Horned Frogs lost so many key contributors from last season’s Rose Bowl-winning squad. After the opening loss to Baylor, many wrote off the Horned Frogs. But quarterback Casey Pachall really matured in his first season as the starter, culminating in his big performance at Boise State. TCU finished its regular season with a commanding 56-9 win over UNLV this weekend to finish 10-2, and Patterson’s squad will now face Louisiana Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl. And while the opponent isn’t Wisconsin as it was last year, Sonny Dykes’ squad will pose as a good challenge.
8. Bowl overkill? We all know that there are a lot of bowl games. A lot. But while these games are revenue-generators that often don’t have the best interest of the programs in mind, every game gives each player a chance to play football one more time on the season — and, for many, one last time with his teammates. So although college football is big business, I’ve come to enjoy each and every postseason contest. After all, what’s so wrong with wanting to watch two teams with a combined 12-13 mark (Illinois and UCLA) go head to head in a game called the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl?
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