UCF’s 25 game unbeaten streak came to an end on New Year’s Day against LSU in what was a chippy Fiesta Bowl game, to say the least. Lots of words were spoken pre-game about how the SEC schools have been propped up by this system and how UCF do not get a fair shake. Despite the loss, they’ll still be howling over getting one. They lost 40-32 to the Tigers, who came in at #11 and are now 10-3 to end the season, in a game that started oh so well for them. They intercepted Joe Burrow, who was absolutely hammered on the return, for their first score, a 93 yard yard return, that gave the Knights a 7-3 lead. Burrow was again pummeled, but the quarterback somehow managed to come back and ended up throwing for four TD’s to help stave off the Knights. This win means LSU has kept UCF from a second straight unbeaten season, and it also means the SEC doesn’t have to hear about one of their own losing to them for a second year in a row. Wins over Auburn and LSU would have surely changed the format, but is this evidence already that it needs changing? We shall see in the days and months to come.
Elsewhere, Urban Meyer was send out on top, I suppose, with a win on Monday evening in Pasadena. The Ohio State Buckeyes met the Washington Huskies there in the Rose Bowl 28-23 as they eased to the victory much more comfortably than the numbers might indicate. The Buckeyes roared out to a 21-3 half time lead over the Huskies, which would only increase to 28-3 in the third quarter before the Huskies scored 20 points in the fourth in desperation mode. Heisman candidate Dwayne Haskins threw for three of the Buckeyes’ TD’s and also has 251 yards through the air in the win. He, like Meyer, could possibly be leaving the school and heading for a fresh challenge. How Ohio State moves on from here is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say that they will still be a big contender on the national stage for years to come.
And finally, the night cap of the New Year’s Six saw the Georgia Bulldogs face off against the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl. Most people would have assumed it would be Georgia as favorites, but Texas had another idea in mind as they got themselves off to a fast start that had them up as much as 17 points in the first quarter and change. Georgia’s rallies were never enough, as Texas fought back each time, and with under ten minutes to go, they had a two touchdown lead at 28-14. Georgia scored again, with less than a minute left, to close out the scoring at 28-21. The win gives Texas its first 10 win season since 2009. It’s hard to believe that such a big, football-loving school has had to wait nearly a decade for 10 wins, but that’s what has happened. Can they build upon this win, or will it be another false dawn?