It was another stellar sesaon in college football. There were plenty of controversy, passion, and upsets to really keep the college football fan watching the game. It might be even better if we had a true “post season,” but we had plenty of moments to keep things going.
1. Alabama crushes Clemson
I don’t know if this game was a sign of things to come or not, but the Crimson Tide who was a paltry 6-6 the year before absolutely beat down the Clemson Tigers who was ranked number 9 in the preseason rankings. The loss would eventually lead to the dismissal of Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden (see below). ‘Bama’s win would lead to the Sugar Bowl.
2. USC routs Ohio State
I think we were all waiting for this early season match-up of the two football behomoths. Ohio State was fresh off of another loss in the BCS Title Game, and USC had what was considered one of the best defenses in a while. Note even close. It didn’t help the Buckeyes that “Beanie” Wells was hurt, but most people would have said that it didn’t matter.
3. Oregon State upsets USC
It happens every year, or at least it seems like it does. USC dominates, but
they slip up against someone in the Pac-10 Conference. The Beavers were rebuilding their front seven on defense and had gotten whipped by Penn Stae in Happy Valley. The Beavers used a freshman running back by the name of Jacquizz to jump out to a big lead in Corvallis and hold off the Trojans for the first real shocking upset of the year.
4. Texas Tech beats Texas on Crabtree touchdown catch
It is probably one of the more memorable plays of the year. I can still hear Brent Musberger making the call, “Touchdown, Red Raiders, with a second to go!” Graham Harrell to Micahel Crabtree. How many times have they done that? This time, it was to beat the number one team in the country.
5. Toledo upsest Michigan in the “Big House”
Last year it was Appalachian State. The first game of the year this year was Utah. And, if that wasn’t enough, the Wolverines have lessened any intimdation factor it has at home with a loss to Toledo. Coach Rod has a lot of work to do.
6. Tommy Bowdon is fired (uh, resigned?) mid-season
It was bound to happen. Things just weren’t going very well at Clemson this season. They started the season ranked number 9, and they were sporting expectations of an ACC Championship and BCS Bowl. First they got whipped by Alabama, and it seemed to go down hill from there. The mid-season firing definitely raised some eyebrows.
7. Tommy Tuberville fires Tony Franklin in mid-season and then resigns at the end of the year
Well, the mid-season thing worked so well for Clemson that Auburn head
coach Tommy Tuberville decided to relieve Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin of his duties early. The “spread” thing just wasn’t working that well. At the end of the year, Tuberville decided the whole thing wasn’t working that well. Auburn missed the post-season and that was enough to inspire him to move on.
8. Syracuse upsets Notre Dame and Buffalo upsets Ball State
These two upsets also “shook the earth” (see below, Utah). It has been a tough tenure for Syracuse coach Greg Robinson, but he got a parting gift from his players as they knocked off Notre Dame late in the season. Nevertheless, Notre Dame was able to improve on last year’s bowless season by making it to the Hawaii Bowl. Buffalo was among the worst programs in NCAA Division I football when head coach Turner Gill arrived. Just a few years later, the Bulls upset undefeated Ball State in the MAC Championship Game to win the title.
9. Myron Rolle wins a Rhodes Scholarship and then plays in the Maryland game
Florida State Safety Myron Rolle is not just a smart guy, he is a brilliant guy. On the day of November 22, 2008, Rolle interviewed for and won a Rhodes Scholarship, and then he received a police escort to Byrd Stadium to help his team beat Maryland. He had a long day, and he deserved the next day off. This only happens once in every other generation. We should enjoy Myron’s success on and off the field. He has a tough choice to make after school: the NFL, or Oxford.
10. Utah upsets Alabama in the Sugar Bowl
My original list did not include this, but it is well worth the inclusion. Utah, the original BCS Buster, knocked out Alabama on Friday night January 2, 2009 for one of the most “ground shaking” upsets of the year. The Utes, who is not a flashy team, plays very “blue collar” like. Take away a punt return by Alabama in the second half and the score is 31-10. There will be arguments for Utah to be national champions.