My stream of consciousness/live blog of the New Year’s Day college football action
I missed kickoff of the Outback Bowl between Michigan and South Carolina as I was in the gym pumping iron. Woo! New Year’s Resolutions!
It doesn’t look like I missed too much as it’s midway through the first quarter and there is no score. My short attention span can’t handle this, let’s check out the Rose Bowl Parade until the Peach Bowl starts. Maybe I’ll see a touchdown in the parade.
Pasadena sure looks beautiful. I bet it’s a bit warmer there than it is in Chicago. The parade is kinda cool, but let’s see if the Peach Bowl started yet.
Alright alright alright the Peach Bowl is underway! I have no allegiance to either Auburn or UCF but I’m pulling for the latter big time. UCF has a chance to secure a perfect season (will be 13–0 with a win). If you are rooting against a perfect season and you’re not an Auburn fan, you’re the worst.
Auburn strings together an impressive drive but settles for a field goal. Seems like a relative win for UCF after Auburn generated a couple big plays. 3–0 AU.
Let’s check in on the Outback…
6–0 Michigan, but South Carolina immediately gets into UM territory with a big pass play. Maybe I’ll stay awhile…
South Carolina’s offense stalls and converts a long field goal attempt. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of frustration for fans seeking touchdowns in this game.
South Carolina boots the ensuing kickoff out of bounds; Coach Will Muschamp looks less than thrilled. I can’t say I blame him. If I were a Head Coach that type of stuff would probably have me constantly researching retirement communities.
Michigan quickly punts it back to South Carolina and that seems like an invitation to return to the Peach Bowl.
Auburn’s offensive playcalling totally puzzles me. QB Jarrett Stidham makes an excellent throw to gain a first down. The next two plays both lose yards and the players look confused as to what they’re supposed to do and where they’re supposed to be. For someone that is heralded as a great offensive mind, Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn gets way too cute with his play calls at times.
I’m sure Auburn fans would nod their heads so fervently at this claim that they’d look like bobbleheads. I know Super Cam agrees with me! (See left).
UCF executes the hurry-up offense to perfection and gets deep into Auburn territory. A stoppage in play at the end of the first quarter allows Auburn’s defense to catch its breath, though, and the Knights settle for a field goal. 3–3 early in the second quarter. I could make a joke about how all the offenses in college football are hugnover but we all know that college students don’t drink alcohol.
In the middle of the fifth inning, Michigan leads South Carolina 9–3. High scoring baseball game down in Tampa at the Outback Bowl. But wait we have some excitement…
Stidham fumbles and UCF returns it to Auburn’s 20-yard-line!
Then, on the second play from scrimmage, UCF QB McKenzie Milton evades Auburn’s pass rush and scrambles into the endzone for a touchdown! 10–3 UCF. Now we’re cookin’!
I feel obligated to check in on the Citrus Bowl which features my childhood team, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, against the LSU Tigers, a team I somewhat adopted a rooting interest for after I wrote my senior paper on It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium by John Ed Bradley. (Side note: This is an incredible book about college football that I’d recommend to anyone whether or not they like football.)
It’s raining in Orlando and I mean water, not points. The score is 0–0 after the first quarter. The announcing crew mentions that Irish LB Nyles Morgan has been stripped of his captaincy for this game but does not provide any specific details as to why. That’s unfortunate, as Morgan has been a bedrock in the middle of Notre Dame’s and this is his final collegiate game. I hope the infraction was not anything too serious and that Morgan learns from his mistake and achieves a great NFL career.
LSU elects to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the one-foot-line and then commits a false start so they decide to attempt a field goal after moving back five yards. LSU’s kicker pushes a chip shot wide right and it’s still 0–0. What ya got for me, Peach Bowl?
After efficiently marching downfield, Auburn’s offense again gets clogged as it nears the redzone. On 3rd-and-10, UCF swarms Stidham and sacks him to set up fourth down and another field goal attempt. The kick is good and it’s now 10–6 UCF with forty-five seconds until halftime.
Since it’s almost halftime, I feel comfortable ditching this game and checking in on the Outback Bowl. Not because of the game, but because Ryan Nanni of SB Nation is performing Bloomin’ Onion mascot duties. #FryinNanni.
Of course, the cameras avoid showing us #FryinNanni and I’m wasting time watching this game while UCF adds another field goal before halftime of the Peach Bowl. 13–6 UCF; 16–3 Michigan in the Outback.
There have been two reviewed plays in the past few minutes of this game, which is a prime opportunity to show us the damn Bloomin’ Onion! At least I’m not missing any scoring plays in the Citrus Bowl.
Coming out of a commercial break, the cameras finally give the people what they want as they provide live coverage of FryinNanni! Highlight of 2018 so far! Michigan is up 19–3 so as soon as Nanni is relieved of his Bloomin’ Onion duties I am totally out on this game.
In other news, Notre Dame kicks a field goal and enters halftime with a 3–0 lead.
Since I have had my Bloomin’ Onion fill and the games have been a bit underwhelming, I am going to take this opportunity to leave the house for a bit and brave the cold before the Playoff games start.
Just as I’m about to turn off the TV, South Carolina QB Jake Bentley throws a dart across the middle for a touchdown. South Carolina has now decided made things interesting because why wouldn’t they. 19–16 Michigan, end of the third quarter. Auburn has also tied UCF at 13 as the Peach Bowl is in the third quarter.
Brrrr, it sure is cold out there! I went to Shake Shack for lunch (I’ll start eating healthy once my Christmas gift cards run out) and saw South Carolina seal a victory over Michigan. The final was 26–19 and Muschamp was his typically fired-up self. After devouring my Shackburger and black-and-white shake, I walked home in hopes of seeing some exciting finishes to the early games.
I made it back just in time for the final two minutes of the Peach Bowl. Auburn has the ball, trailing UCF 34–27.
ESPN just cut to a studio update of the Citrus Bowl. Notre Dame beat LSU 21–17 thanks to an absurd one-handed catch and run by Miles Boykin. It’s legitimately one of the most electrifying plays I’ve seen all season.
Ian Book threw the pass to Boykin. Book was the Irish’s primary QB in this game and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Coach Brian Kelly makes him the starter for next season’s opener. I like Brandon Wimbush a lot and believe that he can be the guy but he struggled with accuracy all season (49.8 completion percentage for the 2017–18 campaign). Coach Kelly clearly wanted to see what he has in Book and he may feel like he has his future QB after this game.
After getting deep into UCF territory, Stidham is under pressure and inexplicably lobs a pass up for grabs in the endzone and is intercepted. UCF is going to win! I get the impression that the receiver ran the wrong route as he stopped about ten yards shy of the endzone. Either way, UCF promptly kneels once and runs out the clock to complete a perfect season. Amazing.