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Volume 3, Issue 3                                    University of Houston

Wild finishes may prove BCS can't crown 
true national champion

Bowled Over

Tom Carpenter

The Washington Huskies hammered Purdue 34-24 in the Rose Bowl to plant their pennant on top of the mountain first. If Oklahoma stumbles against Florida State in the Orange Bowl and Miami beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl, the summit of college football will be crowded with would-be kings.

The human race can come up with a time machine, the Hubble telescope and build a habitat in space, but it can't come up with a simple plan to determine a college football champion. Television can, however, come up with a bowl game for every team that wins one more game than it loses during the course of a season, except of course, the 10-1 Toledo Rockets this year and the 7-4 Houston Cougars last season.

Conference USA had four teams in bowl games and came out with a 2-2 split. No. 23 Colorado State whipped C-USA champion Louisville 22-17 in the Liberty Bowl and Mid-American Conference champion Marshall ran over Cincinnati in the Motor City Bowl 25-14.

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles feasted on the No. 13 ranked TCU Horned Frogs, 28-21, in the Mobile, Ala. Bowl and the East Carolina Pirates ransacked the Texas Tech Red Raiders 40-27 in the first Bowl.

Did anybody see Georgia manhandle Virginia 37-14 in the Oahu Bowl Christmas Eve? Like everyone else, Arkansas went to Las Vegas, Nev., and returned home losers. Nevada-Las Vegas hit the jackpot against the Razorbacks with a 31-14 victory in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Boston College skinned the Arizona State Wildcats 31-17 in the Aloha Bowl and Boise State was anything but kind to Texas-El Paso in the Humanitarian Bowl, putting a 38-23 shellacking on the Miners.

West Virginia stepped on Old Miss' toes 49-38 in the Music City Bowl and North Carolina State humbled Minnesota in something called the Micronpc Bowl in Miami, Fla., on Thursday.

Iowa State won its first bowl game ever, 37-29, against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the Insight Bowl. It didn't take a psychic to guess that one.

Wisconsin and UCLA put on quite a show in the Sun Bowl. The Badgers nipped the Bruins 21-20, but shared the million-dollar enchilada 50/50.

Louisiana State roared back this season to finish at 7-4 and clawed Georgia Tech 28-14 in the Peach Bowl. The Oregon Ducks quacked and stampeded the Texas Longhorns 35-30 in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego to finish 10-2.

Reminiscent of another infamous massacre that took place in San Antonio, Nebraska -- obviously upset about being left out of the Bowl Championship Series bowls -- slaughtered Northwestern at the Alamo (Bowl) 66-17.

The most daring call of the bowl season occurred in the Silicon Valley Bowl where Fresno State laid it all on the line as time ran out against Air Force with a fake field goal attempt that failed. Air Force prevailed 37-34. Air Force was completely fooled, but the Fresno State execution was poor. The all-or-nothing bid failed when holder Jason Simpson's pass fell incomplete in the end zone.

Jackie Sherill guided the Mississippi State Bulldogs past Texas A&M 43-41 in overtime to win the Independence Bowl. The Aggie war cry was lost in the howling winds of the blizzard that struck Shreveport, La., as Sherill snowballed his former team and protégé, R.C. Slocum.

Kansas State won 11 games for the fourth consecutive year by routing Tennessee 35-21 in the Cotton Bowl. Two losses to No. 1 Oklahoma kept the Jayhawks from the big money of a BCS bowl.

South Carolina stunned No. 19 Ohio State in the Outback Bowl as the Buckeyes continue to underachieve. Lou Holtz took a record fifth team to a bowl game and completed one of the most amazing turnarounds in NCAA football history with the Gamecocks.

Winless last season and riding a 21 game losing streak when the season began, the Gamecocks routed the Buckeyes 24-7 to finish 8-4. Michigan slipped past Auburn 31-28 in the Citrus Bowl as the Big Ten finished 2-3 in bowl games.

In what could be Michael Vick's last game at Virginia Tech, the Hokies clobbered Clemson 41-20 in the Gator Bowl to finish the season 11-1. With a healthy Vick the Hokies can also claim to be No. 1 in the nation. Oregon State crucified Notre Dame 41-9 in the Fiesta Bowl as Notre Dame demonstrated it doesn't take a great football team to get to a BCS game, just a top-flight public relations crew.

Seven teams can finish the season with a single loss if Florida State beats Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and Miami defeats Florida in the Sugar Bowl: Oregon State, Washington, Florida State, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Miami and Toledo will all have a legitimate claim to the mythical national title.

Maybe Oklahoma will save everybody the angst of choosing a champ by defeating Florida State. If Oklahoma loses, the 10-1 Toledo Rockets, a team not even invited to any bowl game though ranked No. 25 in the nation, can also lay claim to the national title according to wins and losses. Take that, BCS!

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