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Alabama Claims 3rd BCS Title In Four Years

SEC gets 7th straight title, Saban earns his 4th, and the state of Alabama wins 4th straight

by Dave Congrove
CollegeFootballPoll.com
January 7, 2013

Alabama won its third national championship in four years by overwhelming Notre Dame 42-14 in the BCS Championship game in Miami on Monday night (January 7). The Crimson Tide finished 13-1 as Notre Dame dropped to 12-1. The victory marked the 7th consecutive national title for an SEC team and the 4th straight title for a school from the state of Alabama as Auburn captured the 2010 season matchup with Oregon. It's also the fourth title for Nick Saban who now has three with the Crimson Tide (2009, 2011 and 2012 season) after winning the 2003 title with LSU. The SEC has taken 9 of the 15 national titles in the BCS era. Notre Dame remains winless in BCS bowl games with its four losses coming by an average of 39.5 to 14.25.

Conference Bowl Records
Conference W-L Games Pct.
WAC 2-0 2 1.000
CUSA 4-1 5 .800
ACC 4-2 6 .667
SEC 6-3 9 .667
Big East 3-2 5 .600
PAC-12 4-4 8 .500
Sun Belt 2-2 4 .500
Big 12 4-5 9 .444
Independents 1-2 3 .333
MAC 2-5 7 .286
Big 10 2-5 7 .286
MWC 1-4 5 .200
Through games of 1/7

Notre Dame's loss left Ohio State (12-0) as the nation's only unbeaten team, but the Buckeyes were ineligible for the postseason due to NCAA probation (Tattoo-Gate). Also banned were Penn State (Jerry Sandusky sexual child abuse case), and North Carolina (failure to monitor). Also, Miami removed itself from bowl consideration for a second straight season in the wake of the NCAA investigation into the allegations levied by convicted Ponzi scheme operator Nevin Shapiro. Penn State went 8-4 despite the loss of multiple key players who transferred elsewhere after the probation penalties were announced. North Carolina also went 8-4 and Miami went 7-5.

For the second straight season an interim head coach led Arkansas State in the same bowl game. This year, the result was more to ASU's liking as the program notched its first-ever bowl win, 17-13 over Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Sunday night in Mobile, Alabama. Last season, it was David Gunn subbing for Hugh Freeze in a 38-20 loss to Northern Illinois. This season, it was John Thompson in place of Gus Malzahn in the victory over the Golden Flashes. Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin becomes the new head coach at Arkansas State. It was also the last game at Kent State for Darrell Hazell who now takes the reins at Purdue. Former walk-on player Paul Haynes will be the new head coach for the Golden Flashes next season. Arkansas State ended the season on an 8-game winning streak, thanks to its first-ever FBS bowl win (1-2). Kent State dropped to 0-2 in bowl games after appearing in one for the first time since 1972. The Golden Flashes were ranked 25th in the final BCS Standings after climbing to 17th before losing to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game.

Ole Miss won its 5th straight bowl and improved to 22-12 overall with a 38-17 win in the BBVA Compass Bowl over Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon at Legion Field in Birmingham. The Ole Miss defense sacked Sunseri 4 times and had 11 tackles for losses, paced by Mike Marry with 4. It forced 3 turnovers from a Panther team that had just one over its last 7 games and led the nation with 8 for the entire regular season. It ended Pitt QB Tino Sunseri's streak of 271 passes without an INT on the 5th play of the game. Both teams played under first-year head coaches. Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss finished the season 7-6 while Paul Chryst and Pitt went 6-7. 2012 marked the first season since 2009 that Pitt opened and closed a season with the same head coach. Mississippi's 22-12 bowl record ranks 3rd-best in winning percentage among schools with a minimum 20 bowl appearances. The 5 consecutive bowl wins tie the school with Auburn and Florida State for the longest current streak in the nation.

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel put on a show at the Cotton Bowl on Friday (January 4) as he led Texas A&M to a 41-13 win over former Big 12 rival Oklahoma. The Aggies will enter the 2013 season on a 6-game winning streak, thanks to a 27-0 shutout that was pitched in the second half. In his first campaign with Texas A&M, former Houston Cougar head coach Kevin Sumlin led the program to its first 11-win (11-2) season since 1998. Manziel accumulated 516 yards of total offense as he ran for 228 yards and 2 scores, and passed for 288 yards and 2 more scores. Oklahoma (10-3) quarterback Landry Jones, a four-year starter with close to 4,000 passing yards in the regular season, finished this game with 279 yards while completing 35 of his 49 throws. He is OU’s all-time passing leader with 12,658 yards. In a season that earned him the nickname "Johnny Football", Manziel became the first freshman to capture the Heisman after becoming the first SEC quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000.

De'Anthony Thomas returned the opening kick-off 94 yards for a touchdown and Oregon never trailed in a 35-17 Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State on Thursday night (January 3) in Glendale. Oregon cemented a third consecutive 12-win season and kept Kansas State from reaching that milestone for the first time in its history while handing the Wildcats their 5th straight bowl loss. After digging an early 15-0 deficit, the Wildcats did manage to rally to within 15-10 in the 2nd quarter, but Oregon pushed it back to 22-10 by halftime on a Marcus Mariota 24-yard pass to Kenjon Barner. It was Barner's only reception of the game and his only touchdown, but he rushed for 143 yards on 31 carries. Oregon led 32-10 after three quarters.

Terell Floyd intercepted Jeff Driskel on the first play of the game and returned it 39 yards for a Louisville touchdown to set the stage for a shocking 33-23 upset of Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night (January 2). The two touchdown favored Gators (10.96 according to the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com) never recovered as former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong's Cardinals scored on each of their first four possessions to take a 30-10 lead. It would become 33-10 before a 102-yard kickoff return began a 13-point spurt with under 8 minutes to play. SEC teams have lost three of the last four Sugar Bowl they've played in with Utah downing Alabama (2008 season), Ohio State beating Arkansas (2010) and now Louisville taking down Florida. Both teams finish the season 11-2. Louisville is now 2-0 in BCS bowl games while Florida saw the end of a 4-game BCS bowl winning streak that included national titles in 2006 and 2008.

Florida State scored the final 14 points of the Orange Bowl to pull away for a 31-10 win over Northern Illinois. The Huskies never led, but managed to stay within range until a controversial fumble call set up FSU's final touchdown. The score was just 7-3 after one quarter and 17-10 at the end of three, but when it was all said and done, the Seminoles had racked up 530 yards of offense to NIU's 271. E.J. Manuel threw for 285 and a touchdown and Lonnie Pryor ran for 134 and 2 scores on just 5 carries. Pryor's 60-yard dash opened the scoring and his 37-yard burst ended it. FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins made his 88th career field goal to top Billy Bennett of Georgia's FBS record of 87 that was achieved from 2000-2003. The win was FSU's 5th straight in a bowl game while the Huskies saw a 2-bowl win streak end in Rod Carey's debut as head coach. Dave Doeren stepped down after the MAC title game to fill the vacancy at N.C. State.

Even with former head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez serving as interim head coach, Wisconsin lost in the Rose Bowl for the third straight year as Stanford topped the Badgers 20-14. Alvarez put himself back into action when Bret Bielema took the head coaching position at Arkansas after the regular season. The loss is Wisconsin's 5th bowl setback in its last 6 tries. The victory was Stanford's first in a Rose Bowl game since the 1971 season.

Dylan Thompson's 32-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington with 11 seconds left gave South Carolina a 33-28 win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. The triumph gave the Gamecocks their first back-to-back 11-win seasons in school history. The last 15:02 of this game saw 4 touchdowns, four missed 2-point conversions and 4 lead changes. Michigan took its last lead with 3:29 to play on Devin Gardner's 17-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon before South Carolina followed with its game-winning antics. Connor Shaw started the drive, but Thompson led the final 43 yards after Shaw limped off. The game included an official's award of a first down to Michigan while the whole world saw the ball short of the stick on the measurement. But Jadeveon Clowney set the world right when he lit up Vincent Smith in the backfield on the next play and forced a fumble that led to the Gamecocks taking a 27-22 lead.

Earlier in New Year's Day, Georgia scored 22 unanswered points to beat Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl after trailing 31-23 in the 3rd quarter. Aaron Murray threw 5 TD passes, the fourth of which went for 24 yards to Keith Marshall to take a 38-31 lead on the opening play of the 4th quarter. The last came on an 87-yarder to Chris Conley less than 4 minutes later. Murray finished with 428 yards passing with TD tosses to Arthur Lynch (29 yards) and Tavarres King (75 yards) in the first quarter, and to Chris Conley (49 yards) in the 3rd. He also threw a 24-yard pick-6 in the first to Nebraska' Will Compton. The 'Dawgs improved to 27-18-3 in bowl games while the 'Huskers fell to 24-25. Georgia entered the bowl season with the 10th-best bowl winning percentage of all-time (minimum 20 appearances) and the 6th-most bowl wins. Nebraska (24-25) came in to the game with the 9th-most bowl wins.

Also on New Year's Day, Northwestern ended the nation's longest bowl losing streak at 9 games with a 34-20 defeat of Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. The loss ended a 5-bowl winning streak (tied for nation's best) for Mississippi State which last lost a bowl game in the 1998 season Cotton Bowl to Texas. The Wildcats' only previous bowl win came in the 1948 season Rose Bowl over California (20-14) in the school's first bowl game. Northwestern is now 2-9 in its bowl history.

The Heart Of Dallas Bowl on New Year's Day, formerly the TicketCity Bowl, became the rout everyone expected as Oklahoma State rolled 58-14 over Purdue. The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com projected a 19.61-point win for the Cowboys (8-5), the widest forecasted margin for any of the 35 bowl games. It was 28-0 at halftime and 45-0 before the Boilermakers (6-7) got on the board. Five Purdue turnovers led to 24 Oklahoma State points. Oklahoma State entered the bowl season tied for 3rd in bowl winning percentage (minimum 20 appearances).

A 37-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro as time expired completed Clemson's come-from-behind 25-24 Chick-fil-A Bowl win over LSU on New Year's Eve. Clemson outgained LSU 169-1 in the fourth quarter and outscored the Bayou Bengals 12-0 in the period. Clemson trailed 24-13 when the last stanza opened and Catanzaro's 26-yarder made it 24-16. After a 3-and-out on LSU's next series, Tajh Boyd drove Clemson 77 yards in 11 plays and pulled within two on a 12-yard pass down the middle to DeAndre Hopkins with 2:47 left. A failed 2-point conversion kept LSU ahead 24-22, but LSU inexplicably tried to throw passes to convert a 2nd-and-2 and 3rd-and-2 on its ensuing possession, leaving Clemson with 1:39 to work with when it got the ball back at its own 20 after a punt. Boyd guided Clemson to the LSU 20 in 10 plays to set up the winning kick. The drive included the conversion of a 4th-and-16 from Clemson's own 14 on a 26-yard pass to Hopkins. Clemson finished 11-2 and LSU ended 10-3. It's the first 11-win season for Clemson since the 12-0 national title team of 1981.

Earlier on New Year's Eve day, Tulsa finished an 11-3 campaign with a 31-17 win over Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl, a game in which it trailed 10-0 and 17-7 in the first quarter. After that, the Golden Hurricane took control and gained revenge for its 38-23 loss at Iowa State in the season opener. The teams had met only once before the bookend games this season and are scheduled to meet in Tulsa on September 21 next season. This is the first time since 1929 that Tulsa had two rematches within the same season as it also defeated UCF twice within 3 weeks to claim a regular season win and a CUSA title win over the Golden Knights. It's the 4th time Tulsa has had double-digit wins in a season in the last six years. Iowa State, the 9th-place team in the Big 12, fell to 6-7 as the conference sent every team, except Kansas. to the postseason. CUSA teams won 4 of their 5 bowl games.

The Sun Bowl matchup was just another slap in the face for a USC team that was hyped in the preseason as a top national title contender. But like Virginia Tech, the Trojans struggled and finished their season at 7-6. Unlike Virginia Tech, which beat Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl and finished on a 3-game winning streak, USC dropped its third straight game with a 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech, the only team that entered the postseason with a losing record (6-7). The Trojans also saw their 4-bowl winning streak end against a team that had lost 7 straight bowl games. Preseason Heisman favorite Matt Barkley did not play due to a shoulder injury he suffered on USC's last drive in the loss to UCLA. Barkley's backup, redshirt freshman Max Wittek, was intercepted twice in the red zone and 3 times overall. Georgia Tech ran for 294 yards and attempted just 10 passes, but Vad Lee and Tevin Washington each had a TD toss.

The first game of New Year's Eve saw Vanderbilt reach the 9-win plateau for the first time since 1915 with a 38-24 Music City Bowl win over mistake-prone North Carolina State. Playing without fired head coach Tom O'Brien on the sideline, Wolfpack QB Mike Glennon was intercepted 3 times while four of the team's five total turnovers came in the first half. The turnovers made a huge difference in a game that N.C. State dominated in yardage 424-225. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible was the interim head coach for the Wolfpack which hired Dave Doeren away from Northern Illinois on December 1.

Dan Conroy's 47-yard field goal with 1:01 left gave Michigan State a 17-16 come-from-behind win over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the last of five Saturday (December 29) games. Trailing 13-7, a misplayed punt return at around the 8-minute mark of the 4th quarter gave the Spartans new life with a first-and-goal at the TCU 4-yard line. Le'Veon Bell scored two plays later on a 4-yard run around left end to give his team their first lead after trailing 13-0 at halftime. TCU answered with a 53-yard field goal before Conroy made what proved to be the game-winning kick. It was the 9th Michigan State game this season to be decided by 4 points or less.

David Ash hit Marquise Goodwin on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 2:24 remaining in the game to lift Texas over Oregon State 31-27 in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday night (December 29). The Longhorns rallied from a 27-17 deficit entering the fourth quarter by scoring the final 14 points of the game. A much-aligned Texas defense was led by Alex Okafor who contributed 4-1/2 sacks. Storm Woods ran for 118 yards and two TD's for Oregon State which never trailed until Goodwin's touchdown. The Beavers were looking to secure a 10-win season for the first time since 2006.

Navy was no match for Arizona State and took a 62-28 whipping in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Saturday (December 29). Both teams finished the season 8-5.

Syracuse routed West Virginia 38-14 in a snowy Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Two teams going in opposite directions collided in this one as the Orange won their 4th straight and went 6-1 down the stretch after a 2-4 start. West Virginia opened 5-0 before losing 6 of its last 8 games.

The Armed Forces Bowl was the first of five bowl games scheduled for Saturday (December 29). After an early 11 a.m. CST start, Rice went on to roll Air Force 33-14 behind a 19-0 4th quarter. The Owls trailed 14-7 at halftime and lost starting QB Taylor McHargue to a concussion. Freshman QB Driphus Jackson threw for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns and a stingy Rice defense held Air Force to just two first downs in the second half. The Owls (7-6) won 6 of their last 7 games, including 5 in-a-row to end the year. The Falcons lost for the fourth time in their last 5 games to end below .500 at 6-7 for their first losing season since 2006. The loss closed the Mountain West's 2012 bowl season at 1-4.

Ryan Bustin's 28-yard field goal as time expired lifted Texas Tech to a 34-31 win over Minnesota in the last of three Friday bowl games (December 28). The Golden Gophers' loss in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas in Houston extended their bowl losing streak to 5 games and they finished the season 6-7 with their third straight loss. The Red Raiders improved to 8-5 after losing 4 of their previous 5. Offensive line coach Chris Thomsen served as interim head coach to bridge the gap between Tommy Tuberville's departure to Cincinnati and the hiring of former Red Raider QB Kliff Kingsbury as the new head coach in Lubbock.

Virginia Tech rallied late for a 13-10 Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday night (December 28) in Orlando. The Hokies scored 10 points in under two minutes in the fourth quarter to erase a 10-0 deficit and Cody Journell's 22-yard field goal in overtime proved to be the game-winner when Nick Borgese subsequently missed right on a 42-yarder for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights saw their 5-bowl winning streak (tied for national lead ) come to an end as they closed the year on a 3-game losing streak that cost the program its first-ever outright conference title and third-ever 10-win season. Virginia Tech ended a 7-6 season on a 3-game winning streak to avoid its first losing season since 1992.

Ohio demolished Louisiana-Monroe 45-14 in the Independence Bowl, ruining the Warhawks' first-ever bowl strip in front of a partisan ULM crowd. The Bobcats (9-4) had gone 1-4 down the stretch of the regular season after a 7-0 start, and had lost their last three games. Louisiana-Monroe was 3-1 in overtime games in 2012 en route to an 8-5 season that included an overtime upset win over Arkansas in week 1. Ohio's 2012 campaign included an opening week win at Penn State.

Baylor grabbed a 35-7 lead in the first half and never looked back as it dominated UCLA en route to a 49-26 Holiday Bowl win on Thursday night (December 27) in San Diego. The third straight loss sent the Bruins to a 9-5 finish in Jim Mora's first season as head coach. Back-to-back losses to Stanford to end the regular season and in the PAC-12 title game preceded the bowl whipping.

Cincinnati, with defensive line coach Steve Stripling serving as interim head coach, pulled away late for an improbable 48-34 Belk Bowl win on Thursday (December 27) in Charlotte. With the score tied at 34 and Duke driving for the winning points, Josh Snead fumbled on the Cincinnati 5 with 1:20 left. Four plays later, Cincinnati went ahead 41-34 on a 83-yard touchdown pass from Brendon Kay to Travis Kelce. Nick Temple intercepted Sean Renfree's pass and returned it 55 yards for the final margin on the third play of Duke's ensuing drive. Duke failed to clinch its first winning season since 1995 by claiming its first bowl victory since the 1960 season. The Blue Devils ended 6-7 and on a 5-game losing streak after winning 6 of their first 8 games. As for Cincinnati, Tommy Tuberville now takes over for Butch Jones as official head coach going into 2013. Jones was hired away by Tennessee on December 7.

David Fales the most accurate passer in FBS this season, completed 33 of 43 passes for two touchdowns and a Military Bowl-record 395 yards, as San Jose State knocked off Bowling Green 29-20 in the Military Bowl on Thursday afternoon (December 27). The Spartans finished 11-2 for their winningest season since going 11-1 in 1940. The team also ended 2012 on a 7-game winning streak, its longest run since winning eight straight in 1987. Defensive coordinator Kent Baer served as interim head coach after Mike MacIntyre was hired by Colorado. Former San Diego (FCS) head coach Ron Caragher now takes over as head coach at SJSU. WAC teams won the only two games to which they were invited (Utah State won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) in the conference's final year of existence.

Central Michigan and Western Kentucky finished the season with 7-6 records after the Chippewas upset the Hilltoppers 24-21 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Tuesday (December 26). Western Kentucky was vying to become a winner on its very first trip to a FBS bowl game as a 9.37-point favorite in the Congrove Computer Rankings and had a chance to force overtime, but elected to go for a first down on 4th-and-2 at the CMU 19-yard line with 51 seconds remaining. The attempted pass from Kawaun Jakes to Jack Doyle fell incomplete and the Chippewas ran out the clock in victory formation. Interim head coach Lance Guidry made the call. The defensive coordinator under Willie Taggart now steps aside from incoming head coach Bobby Petrino after Taggart accepted the same position at USF.

Fresno State was a heavy favorite in the Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Eve over SMU, but Mustang head coach June Jones' return to the island paradise produced a 43-10 upset of the Bulldogs, similar to his first return to Hawaii when SMU bludgeoned Nevada 45-10 in 2009. Jones was the head coach of Hawai'i from 1999-2007 before taking the same position in Dallas. SMU scored a pair of touchdowns off interception returns to tie the NCAA record of 8 set last year by Southern Miss, and the Mustangs registered 7 sacks. 6'-8" Margus Hunt forced two fumbles and sacked Derek Carr en route to being named the MVP of the game.

A 27-yard field goal with 1:16 remaining lifted Boise State past Washington 28-26 at the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas on Saturday (December 22). It was the fourth straight bowl win for the Broncos, including three wins in three consecutive seasons in Las Vegas. Washington took its one and only lead with 4:09 to play on a 38-yard field goal, but a 31-yard kick return helped Boise State launch its ensuing drive from the Huskies' 42. A close 4th-and-1 conversion then gave the Broncos a crucial first down at the Washington 32 to keep the game-winning drive alive. Bishop Sankey had 205 yards rushing and 74 yards receiving for the Huskies in a losing effort.

Louisiana quarterback Terrance Broadway set a school record for total offense in a season as the Ragin' Cajuns downed East Carolina 43-34 in the New Orleans Bowl on Saturday (December 22). It was Louisiana's second consecutive bowl win after tripping San Diego State 32-30 in this game last year. They are the only two bowl appearances in school history for UL-L.Louisiana never trailed in the game, but did see its 28-7 lead get completely erased and wind up in a 31-31 tie with 5:57 left in the 3rd quarter.

Ball State had its 6-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-6 all-time in bowl games as UCF won the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl 38-17 on Friday (December 21). The Golden Knights led throughout, building a 13-0 lead and stretching it to 28-7 by halftime on a 7-play, 80-yard drive in 55-seconds after BSU missed a 35-yard field goal. Blake Bortles threw for 271 yards and 3 TD's. He also ran for 79 yards and another score while Latavius Murray added 73 yards rushing and a score.

BYU outscored San Diego State 20-0 in the fourth quarter of the Poinsettia Bowl and the Cougars pocketed their fourth consecutive bowl win, 23-6. The Aztecs took a 6-3 lead into the final period until the BYU defense registered the game's first touchdown when Kyle Van Noy knocked the ball out of Adam Dingwell's hand as he tried to pass from his own end zone and recovered the ruled fumble for a 10-6 advantage with 12:32 to play. San Diego State had thwarted a BYU scoring opportunity on the previous play by picking off a James Lark pass. After the BYU score, Dingwell fumbled the first snap and Jamaal Williams scored on a 14-yard run on the very next play to give BYU its second touchdown in 17 seconds. Victory was sealed when Van Noy scored on a 17-yard interception return with just over 6 minutes left in the game. For good measure, Dingwell was picked off again to end the Aztecs' next drive. The loss ended a 7-game winning streak for San Diego State which was hoping to cement its first 10-win season since 1977.

Utah State broken open a close game with a 28-point outburst in the fourth quarterback to sink Toledo 41-15 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday (December 15) Utah State led just 13-9 after a Kerwynn Williams led to a Toledo field goal with 7:28 left in the game. Williams spent the rest of the 4th quarter redeeming himself with touchdown runs of 63 yards, 5 yards and 25 yards to put the game away. The 63-yard score came on his first carry after the fumble. Toledo's only touchdown came on an 87-yard kickoff return by Bernard Reedy after Williams' last touchdown. Utah State improved to 2-5 in bowl games with its first postseason win since 1993.

Earlier on Saturday (December 15), Arizona and Nevada opened the bowl season in frenetic style as the Wildcats scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 42 seconds to deal the Wolf Pack a heartbreaking 49-48 loss in the New Mexico Bowl. Rich Rodriguez's team notched the victory to end his first season with Arizona at 8-5. Nevada fell to 7-6. The Wildcats overcame a pair of huge deficits. After falling behind 21-0 less than 11 minutes into the game, Arizona went on its own 21-point flurry in a 6:43 span to tie it up. An exchange of touchdowns made it 28-28 before the Wolf Pack reeled off the next 17 points to take a 45-28 advantage into the 4th quarter. Arizona cut the margin to 48-42 with 42 seconds left on a Matt Scott to Austin Hill pass and, after Marquis Flowers recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Wildcat 49, Scott needed just 3 plays to hitTerrence Miller on another 2-yard pass with 19 seconds left. The PAT gave Arizona the 49-48 lead. Flowers then intercepted Cody Fajardo on Nevada's first play to seal the improbable victory.

COMPUTER SUCCESS:
The computer's preseason rankings correctly tabbed the winners of the ACC Atlantic (Florida State), Big Ten Leaders (Wisconsin), Big Ten Legends (Nebraska, forecasted co-champ), Big East (Louisville) and Mountain West (co-champ Boise State). 54 of the 70 teams it said would make a bowl game did in fact qualify for the postseason.

The rankings pegged the exact final record of 17 teams before a single snap was taken. It missed by just one win or loss on 28 other teams, and two wins or losses on 25 more teams.

BOWL FACTS:
Louisiana-Monroe and Western Kentucky each made their very first bowl appearances. The Warhawks rejoined the higher classification of teams in 1994 while the Hilltoppers have been full-fledge for only four seasons (2009).

The proliferation of bowl games over the last several years has made it easier for teams to achieve bowl eligibility and six of the last seven seasons have seen at least one team break through. Louisiana-Lafayette did so last year (New Orleans Bowl), FIU in 2010 (Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl), Buffalo in 2008 (International Bowl), FAU in 2007 (Motor City Bowl), and Middle Tennessee in 2006 (New Orleans Bowl).

Everyone Has Been Bowling
Every eligible FBS team has now made it to at least 1 bowl game. The four new teams this year - Massachusetts, South Alabama, Texas State and UTSA - were all transitioning from the FCS. All but UTSA will be eligible to compete for a bowl slot in 2013.

First Time In A Long Time
Of the teams that made it this year, these had the longest wait to get back to a bowl game:
Kent State, 1972 (lost only previous bowl game - Tangerine Bowl)
Duke, 1995 (hasn't won a bowl game since the 1960 season Cotton)
Rice, 2008 (won Texas Bowl)

Waiting To Return
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl absence:
New Mexico State, 1960
Eastern Michigan, 1987

Bowl Appearance Streak
These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances:
Florida State, 31
Florida, 22
Virginia Tech, 20
Georgia, 16
Georgia Tech, 16

Bowl Winning Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl victories (last season of a bowl loss in parenthesis):
Auburn, 5 (2005)
Florida State, 5 (2007) - includes a 31-10 win over Northern Illinois in this season's Orange Bowl.
Mississippi, 5 (2000) - includes 38-17 win over Pittsburgh in this season's BBVA Compass Bowl.
Alabama,4 (2008) - includes 42-14 win over Notre Dame in this season's BCS Championship game.
Boise State, 4 (2008) - includes a 28-26 win over Washington in this season's MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
BYU, 4 (2008) - includes a 23-6 win over San Diego State in this season's Poinsettia Bowl.

Note: Rutgers and Mississippi State each had 5-bowl winning streaks snapped. They were tied with Auburn for the longest such streak in the nation entering the bowl season. Rutgers lost 13-10 in overtime to Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Mississippi State lost 34-20 to Northwestern in the Gator Bowl in a game which also ended Northwestern's 9-bowl losing streak dating back to the 1948 season.

USC and Florida each had 4-bowl winning streaks snapped. USC lost 21-7 to Georgia Tech in a Sun Bowl game that also ended Georgia Tech's 7-bowl losing streak. Florida lost 33-23 to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.

Bowl Losing Streak
These teams have the most consecutive bowl losses (last season of a bowl win in parenthesis):
Ball State, 6 (Never) - includes 38-17 loss to UCF in this season's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
Kansas State, 5 (2002) - includes 35-17 loss to Oregon in this season's Fiesta Bowl.
Minnesota, 5 (2004) - includes 34-31 loss to Texas Tech in this season's Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
UTEP, 5 (1967)
Western Michigan, 5 (Never)
East Carolina, 4 (2007) - includes 43-34 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in this season's New Orleans Bowl.
Fresno State, 4 (2007) - includes 43-10 loss to SMU in this season's Hawai'i Bowl.

Note: Northwestern snapped a 9-bowl losing streak dating back to the 1948 season with a 34-20 win over Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. The loss snapped a 5-game winning streak for Mississippi State that dated back to the 1998 season and was tied for longest in the nation with Auburn and Rutgers when the 2012 bowl season began.

Georgia Tech snapped a 7-bowl losing streak with a 21-7 win over USC in the Sun Bowl, which also ended USC's 4-bowl winning streak.

Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)
Ball State, 0-6
Western Michigan, 0-5
Kent State, 0-2 - includes 17-13 loss to Arkansas State in this season's GoDaddy.com Bowl
Akron, 0-1
Buffalo, 0-1
Louisiana-Monroe, 0-1 - includes 45-14 loss to Ohio in this season's Independence Bowl.
UAB, 0-1
Western Kentucky, 0-1 - includes 24-21 loss to Central Michigan in this season's Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Note: Ohio was 0-5 before defeating Utah State 24-23 in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Bobcats won their bowl game again this year and are now 2-5.

Best Bowl Winning Percentage
(Minimum 20 appearances. Source: College Football Data Warehouse)
USC, .653 (32-17) - includes a 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in this season's Sun Bowl.
Oklahoma State, .652 (15-8) - includes 58-14 win over Purdue in this season's Heart Of Dallas Bowl.
Mississippi, .647 (22-12) - includes 38-17 win over Pittsburgh in this season's BBVA Compass Bowl.
Penn State, .636 (27-15-2)
Florida State, .634 (25-14-2) - includes a 31-10 win over Northern Illinois in this season's Orange Bowl.
Auburn, .622 (22-13-2)
Alabama, .608 (35-22-3) - includes 42-14 win over Notre Dame in this season's BCS Championship game.
Oklahoma, .598 (27-18-1) - includes 41-13 loss to Texas A&M in this season's Cotton Bowl.
Georgia, .594 (27-18-3) - includes a 45-31 win over Nebraska in this season's Capital One Bowl.
Boston College, .591 (13-9)

Most Bowl Wins
Alabama, 35 - includes 42-14 win over Notre Dame in this season's BCS Championship game.
Southern Cal, 32 - includes 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in this season's Sun Bowl.
Georgia, 27 - includes 45-31 win over Nebraska in this season's Capital One Bowl.
Oklahoma, 27 - includes 41-13 loss to Texas A&M in this season's Cotton Bowl.
Penn State, 27
Texas, 27 - includes 31-27 win over Oregon State in this season's Alamo Bowl.
Florida State, 25 - includes 31-10 win over Northern Illinois in this season's Orange Bowl.
Tennessee, 25
Nebraska, 24 - includes 45-31 loss to Georgia in this season's Capital One Bowl.
Georgia Tech, 23 - includes 21-7 win over USC in this season's Sun Bowl.
Auburn, 22
LSU, 22 - includes 25-24 loss to Clemson in this season's Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Mississippi, 21 - includes 38-17 win over Pittsburgh in this season's BBVA Compass Bowl.
Florida, 20 - includes 33-23 loss to Louisville in this season's Orange Bowl.
Michigan, 20 - includes 33-28 loss to South Carolina in this season's Outback Bowl.
Ohio State, 20

FBS vs. FCS:
All of the FBS-FCS games have been played and FBS teams finished the season with a 98-10 (.907) record vs. FCS schools and are now 736-65 (.919) in such games since 2003.

101 FBS teams played a total of 108 games against FCS foes in 2012. UTSA played 4 such schools in its first year of transitioning from the FCS. Cincinnati, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M each played two such games.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/29: Stony Brook 23, Army 3
9/15: Cal Poly 24, Wyoming 22
9/8: Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28
9/8: North Dakota State 22, Colorado State 7
9/8: Illinois State 31, Eastern Michigan 17
9/8: Northern Arizona 17, UNLV 14
9/1: Youngstown State 31, Pittsburgh 17
9/1: Tennessee-Martin 20, Memphis 17
8/30: McNeese State 27, Middle Tennessee 21
8/30: Eastern Washington 20, Idaho 3

STREAKS:
Ohio State - Won 12 straight overall. Season complete due to NCAA probation.

Notre Dame - Had its 12-game winning streak halted by a 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game in Miami Gardens on January 7.

Northern Illinois - Had its 12-game winning streak halted by a 31-10 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl. NIU still owns streaks of 21 straight home wins and 17 straight conference wins.

LSU - Won 41 straight regular season nonconference games. Lost 25-24 to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on December 31.

Michigan - Won 14 straight home games. Lost 33-28 to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl Bowl on January 1.

Oregon - Won 15 straight road games. Won 35-17 vs. Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on January 3.

Southern Miss - Lost 12 straight overall. Season complete.

Akron - Lost 26 straight road games, 22 straight FBS games and 16 straight conference games (MAC). Season complete.

Kansas - Lost 21 straight FBS games, 21 straight conference games and 19 straight road games. Season complete.

UNLV - Lost 22 straight road games. Season complete.


2012 POST-GAME ARCHIVES
12/21: Bowl Recap Update
12/02: BCS Championship: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
11/25: Brian Kelly Leads Notre Dame Back To Glory
11/23: Nebraska Secures Big Ten Legends
11/18: No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon Fall
11/11: Texas A&M Serves Alabama Slammer
11/04: Alabama Wins In Final Minute; Notre Dame Needs 3 OT's
10/28: Florida Among Five To Fall From Unbeaten List
10/21: Ohio State, LSU, Notre Dame Avoid Upsets
10/14: LSU Prevails; West Virginia Drilled; Notre Dame Survives
10/07: Florida State Stunned at N.C. State
09/30: West Virginia Wins 70-63 Shootout With Baylor
09/23: Kansas State Upsets Oklahoma; FSU Finishes Strong vs. Clemson
09/22: Baylor Rallies At ULM
09/21: Boise State Edges BYU
09/15: Stanford Beats USC; Pitt Humiliates Virginia Tech
09/08: Upsets Deal Major Blows To Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin
09/03: 2012 Season Off and Running


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