Wow! It seems like a lifetime ago that Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount threw the right cross to Boise State’s Byron Hout. That’s how our 2009 college football season got started. Here we are, three months later. So where are we now?
**–Oregon is going to the Rose Bowl for the first time since Rich Brooks was head coach (1994). Blount, who was first kicked off the Oregon team for the season, has been reinstated and will be a force in the game against Ohio State.
**–Georgia Tech has won the ACC championship, its first since 1990, and is headed to the Orange Bowl for the first time since Jan. 1, 1967. It was Bobby Dodd’s last game as head coach.
**–After a 7-5 season, Georgia has fired three assistant coaches. After being ranked No. 1 prior to the 2008 season, Georgia is headed to Shreveport. The Bulldog Nation is a little nervous about the future.
**–Alabama has won its 23rd SEC championship and on Jan. 7 will play for (by its count) the 13th national championship in its storied football history.
**–Saturday night in New York sophomore running back Mark Ingram may become the first Alabama player ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
**–After being left out of the BCS championship game last season because it lost to Texas Tech with one second remaining, Texas vowed to be “One Second Better” this season. Boy did that turn out to be true! Texas needed a second to (correctly) be put back on the clock to beat Nebraska and advance to the BCS championship game.
**–Both LSU and Tennessee enter the Holiday season under investigation by the NCAA. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive cannot be a happy camper about that. A coach at LSU has already resigned, so that sounds serious. I’m getting the feeling that the Tennessee investigation won’t turn out to be serious. But I could be wrong.
**–Kentucky has been playing college football since 1888 but no coach in its history—not even Bear Bryant—has ever won four straight bowl games. If Kentucky beats Clemson in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 27, Rich Brooks will win his fourth straight game as the Wildcats’ head coach.
**–Florida State’s Bobby Bowden, who looked like he would coach forever, was forced to retire after a 6-6 season, his 44th as a head coach. Bowden will coach his last game on Jan. 1 against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl. Here’s hoping the Seminoles will send him, and defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews, out with a win.
**–I’ve been fortunate enough to cover some of the very best college football players who ever lived. But there has never been anyone quite like Florida’s Tim Tebow. Tebow was denied a chance at his third national championship by a great performance by Alabama in the SEC championship game. He will play his final college game in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 against Cincinnati. Here’s hoping Tebow goes out a winner.
**–Notre Dame finished 6-6 and decided not to go to a bowl. The school fired Charlie Weis, who heads back to the NFL with a boatload of cash. Now Brian Kelly, who took Cincinnati to a pair of BCS bowls, will try to return the Fighting Irish to their former glory. It’s a tall order unless he gets some help on the academic side of the university.
**–There was a time when teams from the five coalition (non-BCS) conferences (Conference USA, MAC, WAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt) could not get into a BCS game. Now two schools from those leagues (TCU, Boise State) are among the 10 teams playing in the five big games.
I’m sure I’ve left out a 100 more storylines that are near and dear to your heart. The point is a lot of stuff happened this season. It always does. That’s why, with all due respect to my friends who love the NFL, college football is the best game in the world. And it’s not even close.
At this point your humble correspondent will take a break for Christmas. It has been a long season but a good one. It is time for me to get reacquainted with my family.
I again want thank you for your support of this daily effort. As I have told you in the past, the followers of Mr. CFB are the smartest, most knowledgeable college football fans in the country. We don’t always agree but that’s okay. It’s no fun if we don’t disagree. You bring your passion to the table and you bring it every day. And I appreciate it.
I’ll be back on Monday, Dec. 28 as we start getting ready for the home stretch of the bowl season and the BCS championship game. If something wild happens, and it usually does this time of year, I’ll jump back on and we’ll talk about it.
Until then, I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas.
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