The college bowl season comes to an end on Monday when the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns take on the Miami of Ohio Redhawks in the LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. The Redhawks are favored by 14, and are expected to cover easily, barring any surprises. But surprises have been the story of this college football year, with a number of underdogs putting the bite on their unsuspecting opponents. Let’s take a look at some of this year’s biggest bowl game winners and losers.
Some of the bowl game outcomes were predictable. LSU was a 13.5-point favorite over Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl, and destroyed the Sooners, 63-28. Others were a bit more shocking. Utah State was a 7-point favorite over Kent State in the Frisco Bowl, and lost by 10, 51-41.
A 3-point underdog coming into the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, Oregon had to upset Wisconsin to give the Pac-12 a winning record in the 2019 bowl season.
The Ducks did just that, winning a thrilling 28-27 game, which was significantly uglier than the venue in which it was played. As a result of their victory, the Pac-12 went 4-3 on the bowl season.
Even though oddsmakers put Clemson as a 2.5-point pick over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, many thought the Tigers’ schedule was weak. Clemson proved them wrong with a 29-23 victory over the Buckeyes to reach the national championship game.
After the game, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he never doubted the outcome.
“It was just a real poise,” Swinney said. “There was never a second that we were not going to win the game. That is the honest answer.”
Louisiana Tech was a touchdown underdog to Miami coming into the Independence Bowl, and responded by embarrassing the Hurricanes, 14-0. It was the first shut out in the game’s history.
The Bulldogs reached 10 victories on the season, and kept its bowl-winning streak alive at six straight.
Florida Atlantic lost its head coach before the start of the Boca Raton Bowl when Lane Kiffin accepted the Mississippi job. That development may have helped light a fire under Owls, who were a 7-point underdog to SMU.
At the game’s end, Florida Atlantic trounced the Mustangs, 52-28, posting one of the biggest margins of victory in any of this season’s bowl games.
Licking Their Wounds
USC had a tumultuous season. The Trojans lost their starting quarterback in the season’s first game, and then had to deal with rumors about coach Clay Helton possibly losing his job.
Helton got a reprieve and will be back next year, but USC fans aren’t happy. Helton had a horrible recruiting period, followed by a 49-24 drubbing by Iowa in the Holiday Bowl.
Big 12 Conference
The Big 12 Conference had the worst record in bowl games, going 1-5. Oklahoma (Peach), Oklahoma State (Texas Bowl), Iowa State (Camping World Bowl), Kansas State (Liberty Bowl), and Baylor (Sugar Bowl) were all losers.
The only winner was unranked Texas, who pounded No. 11 Utah in the Alamo Bowl, 38-10.
Was there anyone who didn’t believe that Michigan was going to lose against Alabama in the Citrus Bowl? Probably not, including Harbaugh himself, who continues to have trouble getting the W in big games.
The No. 14 Wolverines got pounded by No. 13 Crimson Tide, 35-16, in a game that didn’t even look that close.