Stealing the show were a coach who went out in style by
winning the best game of them all, a longtime assistant who earned a coveted
promotion and a quartet of record-setting running backs
WITH A record 32 games played over 19 days and
broadcast on six networks, the bowl season was anything but easy to navigate.
Here's what you might have missed from games involving the 62 schools that did
not play for the national championship, plus an early forecast on which teams
will be on the rise or on the decline in 2008.
Best and Worst
Given the interim job after coach Rich Rodriguez bolted for Michigan, longtime
assistant Bill Stewart led West Virginia to a 48--28 win over Oklahoma in the
Fiesta Bowl. Pat White (below) ran for 150 yards and threw for two touchdowns.
Early the next morning Stewart was rewarded with a five-year contract. Other
interim coaches were 0--4 in bowl games.
In a joint pep rally two nights before the Alamo Bowl, a yell leader Texas
A&M proclaimed, " Joe Paterno's on his death bed. And someone needs to
find him a casket." The 81-year-old Paterno, coaching in his 500th game,
chuckled at the comment—and Penn State had the last laugh, rallying for a
Sergeant Disappointed by his team's play in a loss to rival Texas A&M in
the regular-season finale, Mack Brown of Texas instituted boot-camp measures in
preparation for the Holiday Bowl. The Longhorns responded with 21 first-quarter
points en route to a 52--34 victory over Arizona State.
Playing its last game under Lloyd Carr (above), inspired Michigan upset Florida
41--35 in the Capital One Bowl. Winless in their three previous bowl trips,
quarterback Chad Henne and running back Mike Hart led a Wolverines attack that
amassed 524 yards of total offense. Gators quarterback Tim Tebow became the
sixth Heisman winner in the past eight seasons to lose his bowl game.
Oklahoma State junior quarterback Bobby Reid, whose honor coach Mike Gundy
vociferously defended in a September press conference, didn't take a snap as
Zac Robinson torched Indiana with five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing)
in a 49--33 Insight Bowl win. Four days later, amid a report that Reid was
leaving school, Gundy acknowledged that Reid's career at Oklahoma State is
Best Comeback, Part II
A year after rallying from a 31-point second-half deficit to beat Minnesota in
the Insight Bowl, Texas Tech scored 17 points in the final 3:31 to edge
Virginia 31--28 in the Gator Bowl.