2016 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #5: And Then There Was One

imagesIt’s hard to believe we are just one game away from Bowl season coming to a close. The time has flown by and here we sit, waiting for the rematch between the two best teams in college football. Clemson has had revenge on their mind since the final whistle of the 2015 season and they appear to be up to the task. Alabama has the best defense in the land, but I don’t think they have faced an offense like this one. If Clemson can hold off the charging front line of the Tide and give Deshaun Watson time to make a decision, we could see Alabama in a position they haven’t experienced in a long time. It is going to be exciting to watch.

As we wait for Monday’s game, I need to bring you up to speed on where our contest stands and how the last four games went down.

Florida vs Iowa was billed as a defensive heavy weight match and proved to be just that. Iowa had moments of brilliance this year so I thought they might steal this one from a Florida team that struggled so mightily to put up points. With turnovers that converted to points and some respectable plays on offense, the Gators were able to hold down the Hawkeyes and score enough to win in convincing fashion. I think they will have some stiff competition for the SEC East next year, but for now they are once again the elite on that side of the conference. The win helped the 70% who picked Florida.

An undefeated season is always a special thing and to cap that with a bowl win is the stuff of dreams. Western Michigan found themselves watching their dream disappear as Wisconsin held off the comeback with an interception. It eventually lead to the knockout punch touchdown. Wisconsin used some talented underclassmen who will be anxious to try to stake their claim on a Big 10 title shot in 2017. Not much change on our leaderboard with 85% picking the winner.

Next was the game of the night, and possibly the best of the all the bowls. 38% of us correctly identified USC as the winner, but it wasn’t until the final play of the game that we could breathe again. USC started strong, but let Penn State creep back in it just before the half. The Nittany Lions were stronger coming out of the locker room. They scored 3 touchdowns before USC could get back on the board and then the Lions scores a fourth touchdown to finish the 3rd quarter! The Trojans still had some magic left, though. They scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the game, leaving 1:20 on the clock for Penn State to try to go the length of the field for the win. Instead, the Trojans managed to intercept the ball and return it into field goal range. With no timeouts left, USC ran one quick play, rushed the field goal unit onto the field, and kicked the winning kick as time expired. It was exciting and exhausting to watch.

To close out the night we had two storied programs wanting to prove they still need to be in the conversation of the best teams in the land. Auburn continues to try and get out of the shadow of Alabama and Oklahoma is trying to prove the Big 12 is still a powerhouse. Only one team could win the game and possibly shed the naysayers. That team, to the pleasure of 38% of us, was Oklahoma. It took a lot of scrambling, scrappy play, and gutsy calls to keep away from the powerful Auburn defense. It started to pay off once the Tigers wore down. It didn’t help that they lost their starting quarterback, but the backups didn’t look too shabby.

I am one win away from a tie with Sprinkles for the lead in our office pool and since we both picked different winners for the final game, there is a chance I could make it. That would make two years in a row that I have tied for first place. Last year Trip made a huge surge at the end to join me at the top. My fingers are crossed! How we look for now:

Sprinkles: 27-14, Rambo: 26-15, Scoot: 22-19, Trip: 20-21, and T-Bone: 18-23

As for you guys in the extended family, we have a tight race for the lead and several others poised to at least beat our picks. This last game will decide how many people will be above the tied line and qualify for a gift from us. Here’s where you stand:

1st place: (30-11) Rachel Wiley and Mike Hochman  (this one may have to be decided by a tiebreaker!)

2nd place: (29-12) Julia Lancaster

3rd place: (28-13) Jennifer Lancaster, Terrence McBride, and David Maggiore (last year’s overall winner)

tied with us: (27-14) Libby Pittman, Michele Richards, and Laura Watkins

I am starting to feel sorry for Kronk and his bottom dwelling. Right now he is a game ahead of T-Bone, one behind my Auburn buddy (a camper), and two behind Leo. There is some comfort in having your friends around you when you are suffering, but I am sure none of them want to be here either. At least they are all great people! Even if they missed the mark with this year’s picks it’s good to know they don’t have to make a living with them. There is always next year…always next year.

Enjoy Monday’s game. I’ll post again on Tuesday!

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