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College Football Season
Championship and Bowl Coverage

Texas Wins National Title

by Mike Mitchell
January 5, 2006

Also See: Bowl Games

Vince Young's 8-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-5 with 19 seconds remaining in the Rose Bowl lifted Texas to a 41-38 win over USC in a classic national championship battle between two great football teams on Wednesday night (January 4th).

Young was unflappable in leading the Longhorns on a game-winning 56-yard march that began with 2:02 left in the game after USC was stopped on 4th-and-2. The drive started slowly and was kept alive by a 5-yard facemask penalty after three plays netted just 5 yards.

How the conferences fared in bowl games:
Conference W-L Games Pct
ACC 5-3 8 .625
Big East 1-3 4 .250
Big Ten 3-4 7 .429
Big Twelve 5-3 8 .625
CUSA 3-3 6 .500
Independents 1-1 2 .500
MAC 1-1 2 .500
Mountain West 2-2 4 .500
PAC-10 3-2 5 600
SEC 3-3 6 .500
Sun Belt 0-1 1 .000
WAC 1-2 3 .333

Still, the game wasn't completely over. Matt Leinart hooked up with Reggie Bush on a 26-yard catch and run that gave USC the ball at the Texas 43 with 8 seconds left. But on the next play, Leinart scrambled to find a receiver and the clock ran out on an incomplete pass.

There were six lead changes during the game but it began as a defensive struggle instead of the offensive battle everyone expected to see. USC led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter and trailed 16-10 at halftime.

USC outscored Texas 14-7 in the third quarter to retake the lead at 24-23. The Trojans stretched that lead to 38-26 with 6:42 left in the game. An 8-play, 69-yard drive got Texas back to within 38-33 on their next possession. Then, after stopping USC on that crucial 4th down, the Longhorns marched to the game-winning score.

It seemed for awhile that Texas was doomed to fail when they missed an extra point kick in the second quarter and a field goal early in the fourth quarter and USC's stars were shining.

Last year's Heisman Trophy winner, USC QB Leinart, was 29-of-40 for 365 yards with one TD and one INT. This year's Heisman Trophy winner, USC RB Reggie Bush, contributed 95 yards on receptions and 82 yards rushing with 1 TD. But Bush also committed the bonehead play of the night in the second quarter when he tried to pitch the ball to a teammate at the tail-end of a 37-yard gain on a screen pass. Texas recovered the pitch and a USC scoring threat was stymied. RB LenDale White paced the Trojan ground attack with 124 yards and 3 scores.

No one's star shone brighter than this year's Heisman runner-up, Texas QB Vincent Young. The junior was 30-of-40 for 267 yards throwing. His game-winning touchdown run was one of three rushing TD's he scored. Young piled up 200 yards on the ground in a performance that may have moved him to the front of the NFL Draft if he opts to declare early entry, a possibility no Longhorn fan even wants to consider right now.

Young was helped immensely by senior tight end David Thomas who hauled in one-third of Young's completions. His 88 yards were hard-fought and six of his catches became Texas first downs including two on the drive that cut the fourth-quarter margin to 38-33.

The national championship is the first for Texas since 1970 and its fourth over-all. The Longhorns won outright titles in 1963 and 1969 and shared the championship with Nebraska in 1970.

USC lost for the first time in 35 games while Texas' string of 20 straight wins is now the longest in the nation. TCU is second with 10.

This site's Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR Top 119) projected these two teams as the BCS finalists in its preseason forecast. That forecast picked USC as the champs but favored Texas by 5 after the regular season had ended. The Longhorns took over first place in the rankings on October 8th.

The BCS Standings had USC first and Texas second in all eight weeks of its releases during the regular season. It is those standings that determine the national championship match-up. The standings are a compilation of rankings from the USA Today Coaches Poll, the new Harris Interactive Poll and six computer ranking systems.

USC was the defending champ, beating Oklahoma last year in the Orange Bowl 55-19. LSU won the BCS title in 2003 with a 21-14 Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma. However, USC was ranked number one in the final 2003 AP Poll. To that extent, the Trojans were vying to become the first team to win any sort of three consecutive season-ending number one rankings from major sources.

A 29-yard field goal by Kevin Kelly in the third overtime gave Penn State a 26-23 win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Tuesday night (January 3rd) in a game that saw more than its fair share of missed kicks.

Kelly missed potential game-winners in the waning seconds of regulation and in the first overtime. Florida State kicker Gary Cismesia missed both of his overtime field goal attempts in the first and third extra periods. Cismesia also missed an extra point in the second quarter.

It was win number 354 for Joe Paterno who trails Bobby Bowden's 359. Penn State ended the season 11-1, its best mark since going 12-0 and capturing the Congrove Computer Rankings number one spot in 1994. Florida State slipped to 8-5, its worst mark since 1983 when a Peach Bowl win over North Carolina helped the Seminoles finish 7-5.

West Virginia beat Georgia 38-35 Monday night (January 2nd) in the displaced Sugar Bowl for its second bowl win in its last 12 tries. The Mountaineers also won a bowl game for the first time in Rich Rodriguez' tenure as he improved to 1-3 with one of the biggest upsets of the bowl season.

West Virginia staked out a quick 28-0 first-half lead, then held on tight as Georgia rallied to within three points twice. In the end, the Mountaineers secured the win by executing a fake punt with 1:45 left in the game.

The New Orleans bowl tradition was relocated to Atlanta's Georgia Dome this season due to damage caused to the Crescent City by Hurricane Katrina.

Entering the contest, West Virginia ranked 8th nationally in yards allowed and Georgia ranked 11th. But the Mountaineers surrendered 492 yards while the Bulldogs allowed 511. Steve Slayton led the way for West Virginia with 204 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns.

The Mountaineers also saved the Big East conference from going winless in bowl games as Rutgers, South Florida and Louisville all lost.

Earlier on Monday: Ohio State downed Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, Wisconsin upset Auburn in the Capital One Bowl, Virginia Tech rallied past Louisville in the Gator Bowl, Florida held off Iowa in the Outback Bowl and Alabama beat Texas Tech on a last-second field goal in the Cotton Bowl.

Ohio State scored its fourth bowl win in-a-row with its third Fiesta Bowl victory in the last four years. Antonio Pittman's 60-yard touchdown run with 1:46 remaining secured the 34-20 triumph over Notre Dame.

The Irish remained winless in eight bowl games since the 1993 Cotton Bowl and saw its bowl record drop to below .500 at 13-14. Charlie Weis ended his first season in South Bend with a 9-3 record.

The Buckeyes also scored touchdowns on passes of 56 and 85 yards from Troy Smith. Ted Ginn, Jr. hauled in the 56-yarder in the first quarter and sprung a 68-yard run in the second as Ohio State recovered from an early 7-0 deficit and never trailed again.

Wisconsin sent Barry Alvarez out with a 24-10 upset victory over Auburn in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando. Alvarez announced prior to the start of the 2005 season that he would retire from his head coaching position to concentrated on his Athletic Director duties. Defensive coordinator Bret Bielema now assumes the role of head coach.

The Badgers improved their bowl record under Alvarez to 8-3, second-best in NCAA bowl history to Auburn's Pat Dye and ahead of Bobby Bowden. Before his tenure as head coach began in 1989, Wisconsin had only been to six bowl games and had logged just one victory.

Brian Calhoun ran for 213 yards and a game-clinching 33-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

Auburn had won three consecutive bowl games.

The Gator Bowl turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the day as Virginia Tech rallied from a 24-13 fourth quarter deficit to beat Louisville 35-24. The 22 unanswered fourth quarter points matched what the Hokies did against Florida State in the ACC championship game at the same venue in Jacksonville just four weeks prior. But that rally came up five points short.

The first half was marred by sloppy play and penalties, including the ejection of All-American Hokies defensive back Jimmy Williams who made contact with an official. Tech trailed 17-10 at halftime and was lucky to be that close as redshirt freshman quarterback Hunter Cantwell picked the Hokies apart and Michael Bush ran through the defense.

In the second half, Virginia Tech played more like the team that began the season with 8 straight wins and outscored the Cardinals 24-7. Beamerball broke out in the fourth quarter with three forced turnovers including the final touchdown on a 39-yard interception return by James Anderson.

In Tampa, Iowa's fourth-quarter comeback bid came up short as Florida took home a 31-24 Outback Bowl win. It was the first bowl win for the Gators since Steve Spurrier left after the 2001 season. Florida was 0-3 in bowl appearances under Ron Zook from 2002-2004, including a 37-17 loss to Iowa in the same bowl two years ago.

The Gators rolled to a 31-7 lead after three quarters but Iowa cut the lead to the final margin with 1:24 left. The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Iowa but the Hawkeyes were ruled to be offside and had to kick again. Florida recovered the second attempt.

A 6-yard blocked punt return in the first quarter and a 60-yard interception return in the second quarter helped Florida surge to a 24-7 halftime lead.

The Cotton Bowl was short on points but long on dramatics as Alabama beat Texas Tech 13-10 on a 45-yard field goal by sophomore Jamie Christensen as time expired. The Crimson Tide improved to 30-20-3 in bowl games in its NCAA-record 53rd bowl appearance.

The Red Raiders knotted the score at 10-apiece with 2:53 left in the game on a TD pass from an injured Cody Hodges who is believed to have torn knee ligaments during the game.

Brodie Croyle engineered a 10-play drive from his own 14-yard line to set up the game-winning kick. Christensen's wobbly, line-drive kick barely made it over the left corner of the crossbar but it atoned for an earlier miss from 39 yards and another attempt that was blocked.

Texas Tech fell to 8-20-1 in bowl games as its 3-game bowl winning streak was snapped.

On New Year's Eve: Tulsa upset Fresno State in the Liberty Bowl, TCU beat Iowa State in the Houston Bowl and N.C. State blanked South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

TCU polished-off an 11-1 campaign with a 27-24 win over Iowa State in the Houston Bowl. After losing to SMU in the second game of the season, the Horned Frogs reeled off 10 straight victories.

This one looked like a TCU runaway in the first quarter as the Horned Frogs scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, the second drive beginning at the Cyclone 8 after a fumble. However, Iowa State scored the next 17 points to get back in the game.

A 44 yard FG with 5:25 left gave TCU the final victory margin in a game that featured a combined 7 turnovers, 20 penalties and a high snap over TCU's punter that resulted in a safety.

Tulsa earned its first bowl win since 1991 when the Golden Hurricane beat Fresno State 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl. Tulsa won for the seventh time in its last eight games while the Bulldogs lost their fourth consecutive game after opening the season at 8-1.

The Golden Hurricane intercepted two Paul Pinegar passes in the fourth quarter. The first pick set-up Tulsa's go-ahead touchdown run with 2:55 left in the game. The second halted Fresno State's comeback threat on the Tulsa 30-yard line.

The Bulldogs had won three straight bowl games.

Meanwhile, North Carolina State notched it third consecutive bowl win with a 14-0 shutout of South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl at Charlotte. The Bulls were playing in their first-ever bowl game.

It was the first time the Bulls had ever been shut out in their brief 100-game history of playing football. The Wolfpack is 4-1 in bowl games under Chuck Amato.

LSU won the Peach Bowl 40-3 on December 30th, handing Miami (Fla.) the worst beating it has ever sustained in 30 bowl appearances. It was also LSU's most lop-sided win in 37 bowl games.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked havoc on Louisiana, but the Miami Hurricanes couldn't do a bit of damage to LSU. After a 3-3 first period, the rest of the game belonged to the Bayou Bengals.

Matt Flynn, starting in place of the injured JaMarcus Russell, threw 2 TD passes in the second quarter to help put his troops up 20-3 at halftime. LSU added 2 rushing touchdowns in the 3rd quarter and a pair of field goals in the fourth. Miami had just 6 first downs, all in the first half.

Meanwhile, the other three bowl games played on December 30th featured tremendous comebacks.

At the Independence Bowl, Missouri bounced back from a 28-7 deficit to beat South Carolina 38-31.

The Gamecocks went up 21-0 in the first quarter. They were about to go up 28-0 halfway through the second quarter when Marcus King intercepted Blake Mitchell's pass at his own 1 and returned it 99 yards for a score. South Carolina answered with a touchdown but the Tigers closed to within 28-14 at the half.

It was all Missouri in the second half as Brad Smith, fourth in the NCAA in career total yardage, went to work and the Tigers outscored South Carolina 24-3. Though he was held in check for the most part in the first two quarters, Smith finished the game with over 400 total yards and accounted for 4 TD's including 3 with his feet.

It was only Missouri's second bowl win since 1981, the last coming in the 1998 Insight Bowl. For South Carolina, the loss snapped their three-bowl winning streak after they had lost their first eight bowl games. Both teams finished the saeson 7-5.

Northwestern scored the first 22 points of the Sun Bowl on but UCLA recovered for a 50-38 win. Late in the game, the Bruins twice thwarted Northwestern comeback attempts when Brandon Breazell returned onside kicks for UCLA touchdowns of 42 and 44 yards.

The Bruins started poorly, turning the ball over three times in the first quarter. Two interceptions were returned for touchdowns by the Wildcats. Still, UCLA was able to take a 29-22 lead into the halftime locker room and never trailed again.

A comeback by UCLA should have been expected. The Bruins rallied from double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter of four ballgames during the regular season. The first occasion was a 10-point comeback against Washington. They trailed California by 14 the next week and Washington State by 17 the week after that. Two games later, the Bruins overcame a 24-3 deficit with under 8 minutes left in the game against Stanford and won 30-27 in overtime.

UCLA notched 10 victories in a season for the first time since 1998 when the Bruins also finished 10-2.

Northwestern won their first bowl game, the 1948 Rose Bowl. Since then, the school is 0-5 in bowl games.

Virginia trailed 21-7 in the first half and 21-10 halftime but rebounded for a 34-31 Music City Bowl win over Minnesota on December 30th.

Marcus Hamilton intercepted an ill-advised pass in the end zone in the final minute to secure the win. The Golden Gophers had plenty of time on the clock to move into field goal range.

Neither of Virginia's coordinators, Al Golden and Ron Prince, were on the sideline after accepting head coaching positions at other schools. Golden took over the reigns at Temple while Prince signed on at Kansas State.

The loss broke a three-bowl winning streak for Minnesota which won just three of its last eight games after beginning the 2005 season with four straight wins. The Cavaliers improved to 3-1 in bowl games under Al Groh.

Utah amassed 550 total yards of offense in a dominating 38-10 win over Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl on December 29th in San Francisco. Brett Ratliff was 30-of-41 for 381 yards and 4 TD's in his second career start. He also threw 4 TD passes against BYU in his only other start after replacing Brian Johnson when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in a 31-27 loss to New Mexico.

Travis LaTendresse caught all four touchdown passes, tying an NCAA record. In all, he caught 16 balls for 214 yards.

It was the fifth straight bowl win for Utah which clobbered Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl last year to cap an undefeated season.

Also on December 29th, Oklahoma upset Oregon 17-14 in the Holiday Bowl. Despite the fact that Oregon entered the with a 10-1 record and Oklahoma was 7-4, the Ducks were only slim favoritesand the computer picked Oklahoma by 3.

The Sooners took a 17-7 lead late into the fourth quarter, then withstood a comeback attempt by Oregon when Brady Leaf replaced Dennis Dixon at quarterback. Leaf's first drive resulted in a TD pass with 3:30 to play and the Ducks forced Oklahoma to go 3-and-out in just 28 seconds. Leaf marched his team from his own 22 to the Oklahoma 19 before he was picked off by Clint Ingram with 33 seconds left.

Oklahoma won six of its last seven games after starting the season 2-3. Oregon's only other loss was to USC.

A game-ending play that sparked memories of Cal-Stanford in 1982 almost resulted in a crazy last-second Michigan victory, but this time the play ended on a sideline tackle at the 17-yard line to preserve a wild 32-28 win for Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl on December 28th.

The game's final play started on the Michigan 37. What began as a 13-yard pass completion ended eight laterals later amid the confusion of Nebraska's bench streaming onto the field. It was a strange finish to a game that drew an unusual amount of criticism about the officiating by the ESPN commentators throughout.

The two teams split the national title in 1997 when each went undefeated but played in separate bowl games. This time, they faced each other with identical 7-4 records but Michigan was favored by double digits.

The lead changed hands five times and Michigan blew a 28-17 fourth quarter advantage. The Cornhuskers took the lead with 4:29 to play and held on for their second Alamo Bowl win in three years. Last year, a 5-6 record kept Nebraska home for the holidays for the first time in 36 years. Michigan was playing in its 31st straight bowl game but hasn't won one since the 2002 Outback.

The referenced Cal-Stanford game in 1982 is the one that finished with a California player running through the Stanford band for the game-winning touchdown on a kick-off return that featured multiple laterals.

Boise State saw its 31-game home winning streak snapped as the Broncos fell 27-21 to Boston College in the MPC Computers Bowl on December 28th.

Boston College scored the game's first 27 points, then weathered the storm of a furious comeback attempt by Boise State. The Eagles picked off a pass in the end zone with 37 seconds left to secure the win after Boise State had driven as far as the BC 5-yard line.

It was Dan Hawkins' last game as head coach of Boise State. He accepted the top job at Colorado on December 16th. Ironically, Hawkins also lost his first home game as coach of the Broncos before the 31-game streak began.

The loss was Boise State's second straight in a bowl game after winning their first four. Boston College is on a 6-game bowl winning streak.

Clemson held Colorado to 124 total yards and won the Champs Sports Bowl December 27th in Orlando 19-10. A 6-yard run by James Davis with 1:38 left secured the win for the Tigers.

The Buffaloes concluded the season with its fourth straight loss though they gave a much better showing than they did in their last two games. Colorado (7-6) had been stung by a 30-3 loss at home to Nebraska in their final regular season match and then blown out by Texas in the Big 12 title game 70-3. Afterward, head coach Gary Barnett was forced to resign and Dan Hawkins was hired from Boise State to replace him after the bowl season.

Defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz served as head coach for the bowl game. He also served as interim head coach for Arizona after John Mackovic was fired five games into the 2003 season. Hankwitz is now 1-7 in that capacity.

Clemson (8-4) finished the year with four straight victories and 6 wins in its last seven games.

Countering the defensive battle staged by Clemson and Colorado, Arizona State downed Rutgers 45-40 in the Insight Bowl as the teams combined for over 1,200 yards. The Sun Devils set a single-team bowl yardage record with 678.

Rutgers had the edge in the first half, staking out leads of 17-7 in the first quarter and 24-10 late in the first half before the Sun Devils added a score with a half-minute to play. But the Scarlet Knights only managed three field goals in the second half until a TD pass with 2 minutes left gave them one last hope. An onside kick was recovered by ASU and the Sun Devils were able to run out the clock.

Rutgers played in the first intercollegiate football game in 1869 but was appearing in just its second bowl game ever, both against Arizona State. The last was the 1978 Garden State Bowl which the Sun Devils won 34-18.

Memphis held off an Akron rally to win the Motor City Bowl 38-31 on December 26th, spoiling the first-ever 1-A bowl appearance for the Zips. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Tigers who improved their all-time bowl record to 3-1.

Williams set an a new NCAA record with his 34th career 100-yard rushing game, breaking a mark shared by Archie Griffin (Ohio State, 1972-1975) and Tony Dorsett (Pittsburgh, 1973-1976). He also broke the NCAA record for all-purpose yards with 7,568, surpassing Ricky Williams' (Texas, 1995-1998) mark of 7,206.

Prior to Tommy West's arrival as head coach in 2000, Memphis had appeared in just one bowl game - the 1971 Pasadena Bowl. They have now gone bowling in three consecutive years with wins in two of those games.

After Memphis took a 20-3 lead in the third quarter, the two teams combined to score 46 points over the final 15:46. Behind a bowl-record performance of 455 yards passing from quarterback Luke Getsy, Akron pulled to within 23-17. But Memphis tacked on two more scores and stretched the lead to 38-17 with 3:09 left. Akron drove 80 yards on the ensuing possession, recovered an onside kick and scored again while taking just 2:18 off the clock. But with 51 seconds still remaining, Memphis recovered the next onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.

A missed extra point in overtime gave Nevada a 49-48 win over Central Florida in the Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Eve.

Nevada blew a 10-point lead with under 2 minutes remaining when the Golden Knights kicked a field goal, recovered the onside kick and scored a TD. The Wolf Pack scored first in overtime but UCF answered in just two plays. The holder appeared to have some trouble placing the ball for the kick and it sailed wide right.

The two teams combined for an unofficial total of 1,174 yards in a see-saw battle. UCF took a 14-0 lead on its first six plays with a 52-yard pass and a 78-yard run. Nevada then outscored the Golden Knights 28-6 over the rest of the first half to lead 28-20 at the break. Central Florida regained the lead in the third quarter with 2 TD's and failed 2-point conversion attempts after each one. Nevada retook the lead in the fourth quarter and stretched it to 42-32 with 3:18 remaining. UCF kicked a 45-yard field goal with 1:35 remaining and, after recovering the onside kick, tied the game with 55 seconds remaining on a 16-yard pass and subsequent PAT.

The Wolf Pack, WAC co-champions, finished the season at 9-3.

UCF concluded a remarkable one-year improvement from 0-11 in 2004 to 8-5 in 2005 and the east division title in their first year as a CUSA member.

Nevada lost the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl 40-37 to Toledo in the first overtime game played in NCAA-1A football.

Jason Swanson threw 4 touchdown passes as Kansas pulled away from a 14-10 halftime advantage and flew past Houston 42-13 in the Fort Worth Bowl on December 23rd.

Houston's Kevin Kolb was picked off three times, including a 15-yard return for a TD early in the fourth quarter and the Jayhawks rolled up almost 300 yards more in offense than the Cougars. It was the first bowl win for Kansas (7-5) since the 1995 Aloha Bowl.

Houston suffered its 6th straight bowl loss to finish the season at 6-6. The last bowl victory for the Cougars was a 35-0 win over Navy in the 1980 Garden State Bowl.

Navy won its second consecutive bowl game under Paul Johnson by running over, around and through Colorado State en route to a 51-30 romp in the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on December 22nd.

Navy built a 34-10 lead and, after the Rams responded with a 14-point run, extended their cushion to 48-24 early in the fourth quarter.

The Midshipmen's rushing attack has ranked in the top three nationally every year of Johnson's four-year tenure. Against Colorado State, Navy racked up an unofficial 467 yards in that department. The Rams countered with 431 passing yards and the two teams combined for 1,182 total yards.

Navy finished the season 8-4 while sinking Colorado State to 6-6.

California took a 35-14 lead through three quarters, then held off BYU's fourth quarter rally to register a 35-28 Las Vegas Bowl win on December 22nd.

Marshawn Lynch ran 194 yards and scored 3 TD's for the victorious Golden Bears while BYU quarterback John Beck set a bowl record with 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brigham Young had the ball in good field position with over two minutes remaining but Beck's wobbly pass was intercepted after his arm was hit on the throw too seal the win for Cal.

BYU was making its first bowl appearance since the 2001 Liberty Bowl and was looking for its first bowl victory since the 1996 Cotton Bowl. The loss meant the Cougars failed to post a winning season for the fourth consecutive year.

Toledo scored the last 24 points to break open a 21-13 game and rocket past UTEP 45-13 in the GMAC Bowl on December 21st.

Bruce Gradkowski tied a bowl record with 5 TD passes as the Rockets snapped a two-bowl losing streak and pocketed their first bowl win since the 2001 Motor City Bowl. UTEP is 0-4 in the bowl season since winning the 1967 Sun Bowl.

The 2005 bowl season opened on December 20th with a game that was a microcosm of the 2005 regular season. In a year that saw many games moved by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the New Orleans Bowl took place in Lafayette.

Arkansas State, appearing in its first-ever bowl game as a 1-A team, put up a good fight but lost to the CUSA entry, Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles pulled away late for a 31-19 victory.

The Southern Miss football team was relocated to Memphis after Hurricane Katrina's devastation reached from the gulf coast to the Hattiesburg campus some 60 miles inland. It's opener with Tulane was postponed by Katrina and, three weeks later, its game at Houston was forced to be rescheduled by Rita.

The bowl game was moved to Cajun Field on the campus of Louisiana-Lafayette because of damage sustained to the Louisiana Superdome where it was originally scheduled to be played. New Orleans also hosts the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome but that marquee bowl game had to be moved to Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

Arkansas State was the first team other than North Texas to represent the Sun Belt conference in the New Orleans Bowl and the fifth edition of the postseason game was close for most of the contest. It was tied at 3-3, 10-10 and 17-17.

Southern Miss beat North Texas 31-10 in last year's game.

Streaks: USC's streak of 34 straight wins came to an end in a 41-38 loss to Texas in the BCS title game at the Rose Bowl. Still, the Trojans will begin next season with a nation's-best streak of 27 home victories intact. USC also has won 23 straight games against conference foes. The 34-game over-all winning streak stands as the longest in PAC-10 history, breaking their own record of 25 games set in 1931-1933.

Texas assumes the nation's longest winning streak. The victory over the Trojans was their 20th win in-a-row.

Boise State's home winning streak of 31 games was snapped by Boston College. The Eagles beat the Broncos 27-21 on their home field in the MPC Computers Bowl.

New Mexico State has the nation's longest losing streak at 13 games.

Temple has lost 12 straight.

New Coaches: The 2005 season began with 23 coaching changes.

Here is how each fared for the season, by order of success, and how they performed in bowl season:

LSU, 11-2 under Les Miles, beat Miami 40-3 in the Peach Bowl.
Notre Dame, 9-3 under Charlie Weis, lost 34-20 to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Florida, 9-3 under Urban Meyer, beat Iowa 31-24 in the Outback Bowl.
Miami, O., 7-4 under Shane Montgomery, season complete.
South Carolina, 7-5 under Steve Spurrier, lost to Missouri 38-31 in the Independence Bowl.
Western Michigan, 7-4 under Bill Cubit, season complete.
BYU, 6-6 under Bronco Mendenhall, lost to California 35-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Utah, 7-5 under Kyle Wittingham, beat Georgia Tech 38-10 in the Emerald Bowl.
East Carolina, 5-6 under Skip Holtz, season complete.
Pittsburgh, 5-6 under Dave Wannstedt, season complete.
Stanford, 5-6 under Walt Harris, season complete.
Indiana, 4-7 under Terry Hoeppner, season complete.
Marshall, 4-7 under Mark Snyder, season complete.
Ohio, 4-7 under Frank Solich, season complete.
Oklahoma St, 4-7 under Mike Gundy, season complete.
Mississippi, 3-8 under Ed Orgeron, season complete.
San Jose St., 3-8 under Dick Tomey, season complete.
Utah State, 3-8 under Brent Guy, season complete.
Illinois, 2-9 under Ron Zook. season complete.
UNLV, 2-9 under Mike Sanford. season complete.
Washington, 2-9 under Ty Willingham. season complete.
Syracuse, 1-10 under Greg Robinson, season complete.
New Mexico St., 0-12 under Hal Mumme, season complete.

1/22/06: 2005's Top Over-Achievers and Under-Performers
12/04: Trojans and Longhorns Crush Foes 136-22
11/27: Conference Title Games Set
11/20: USC Dodges Fresno St. Bullet; Ga. Tech Upsets Miami
11/13: Alabama Suffers First Loss; Spurrier Gets Win Over Gators
11/06: Hokies, Bruins Go Down In Flames
10/30: Georgia Loss Trims List Of Undefeated Teams To Five
10/23: Six Teams Still Undefeated
10/16: USC-ND Tops Day Of Fantastic Finishes
10/09: Longhorns Break Through; Penn State Leads Big 10
10/02: 15 Teams Lose For First Time
09/27: Tennessee Rallies Past LSU; Louisville and Purdue Fall
09/18: Miami, Michigan St. Win OT Games
09/11: Bad Week For Big 10
09/05: College Football Weekend Recap

Mike Mitchell is the Senior Editor of Send your comments and questions to Post-Game Feedback.


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