Monday night, college football crowned the Alabama Crimson Tide as the 2017-2018 National Champions — SHOCKER!!!!! Prior to the championship game, the last month and a half featured 40 games and between seventy-eight FBS schools. As we head into the long offseason, all of us here at the Barn Burner wanted to take a look back at the conclusion of another fantastic bowl season.
Best Bowl Game: The Shoot-Out in Pasadena
Before you argue that Alabama and Georgia was a better game, the first half was a total snoozefest. The Rose Bowl on the other hand featured two explosive offenses on display in Oklahoma and Georgia. Neither did anything to disappoint. Led by Heisman trophy winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Sooners raced out to a 31-14 lead. The Dawgs refused to go away, however, as UGA responded with 24 unanswered points. In a game filled with dizzying momentum swings, Oklahoma looked poised to capture a spot in the championship when senior safety Steven Parker scooped up a Sony Michel fumble and raced forty-six yards to pay dirt with just under seven minutes left to give the Sooners back the lead.
The game didn’t just go the distance, but took two overtimes to decide the winner. After Lorenzo Carter’s blocked field goal gave the Dawgs the ball back, Michel ended the game on a 27-yard scamper that sent Georgia on to the title game.
The heavyweight bout was arguably the best semi-final game in the playoff era, eclipsing the 2014-15 Sugar Bowl featuring Ohio State and Alabama. The Rose Bowl had it all: big plays, an abundance of athleticism, future pros (some likely even stars), and overtime(s). Really, the only thing missing was legendary commentator Keith Jackson (RIP) calling the “Grandaddy of Them All.”
Best Catch: Notre Dame Wide Receiver Miles Boykin’s One-Handed, Game Winning Grab
It’s impressive enough to make a one-handed catch against a loaded secondary. But an OBJ-like grab that turns into a 55-yard touchdown under two minutes to help your team win its bowl game? Salute, Miles Boykin, SALUTE!
NOTRE DAME TAKES THE LEAD ON A RIDICULOUS PLAY, OH MY GOODNESS pic.twitter.com/ZAVZPf2KLd
— Barstool Irish (@BarstoolIrish) January 1, 2018
Even Tigers players could do nothing more than offer up congratulatory praise for Boykin’s heroic effort. As LSU defensive end Christian LaCouture marveled, “It’s something that when it happened, how he caught it behind his head – just how he did it was spectacular.”
An otherwise rain-soaked and offensive deprived Citrus Bowl has the junior pass catcher to thank. Without him, Notre Dame fans would have had an entire offseason to live with the fact that they couldn’t beat Ed Ogre – I mean Orgeron in a bowl game. A cold, hard truth akin to striking out in a rec league softball game.
Ratchet Kickers Turn Up
What kind of universe are we living in these days where kickers exude bravado that makes Connor McGregor blush?!?!? Look no further than Exhibit A – University of Central Florida’s punter Mac Loudermilk. With looks straight out of Duck Dynasty, Loudermilk capped off the Knights improbable Peach Bowl win and perfect season with the Stone Cold Beer Bash celebration! As Stone Cold said, “Oh hell yeah!”
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) January 1, 2018
This came after Loudermilk’s previous celebration over a sixty-nine yard punt in an early season’s game against UConn went viral. #LoudermilkforHeisman
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) November 11, 2017
Not to be outdone, Charlie Sheen character ‘Wild Thing’ look-alike Quinn Nordin of Michigan had a celebration of his own after a 45-yard field goal gave Michigan a 9-3 lead.
So, Michigan kicker Quinn Nordin grabbed his groin while yelling toward the South Carolina sideline after that field pal. pic.twitter.com/alsbre7IfS
— Mike Wilson (@ByMikeWilson) January 1, 2018
Damn, are kickers feeling themselves these days or what? After widespread outrage over Baker Mayfield’s similar actions, where were the angry masses when Nordin groped his saddlebag? Oh wait, that’s right — HE’S A KICKER. And no one actually gives a shit about kickers 99.9% of the time (Loudermilk excluded #LoudermilkforHeisman).
Although the repeated displays of kicker exuberance proved highly entertaining, nothing in my mind came close to topping Miami Hurricane kicker Michael Badgley’s “shit happens” reaction to a crucial Orange Bowl miss.
USA! USA! USA!
Even in the divisive and politically-embroiled country we now find ourselves in, let us not forget the United States military is a bad ass group. Nothing epitomizes this basic principle more than our service academies — two of whom went 2-0 in their respective bowl games.
With a victory in the Armed Forces Bowl over San Diego State, Army capped off a remarkable season that saw the Black Knights win 10 games for the first time since 1996. In what was one of the most exciting bowl games of the season, Army scored a touchdown with less than a minute remaining. Not satisfied to merely send the game to overtime, the Black Knights went for two and the win. Although the final score indicated a seven point win, this was the result a fumble touchdown return as time expired.
Meanwhile, Navy put a boot in Virginia’s ass (as Toby Keith would say) to the tune of a 49-7 thrashing. Outgaining the Cavaliers 452-175, the Midshipmen controlled the ball for 42 minutes (that is not a typo).
Both Army and Navy followed a similar ingredient in both their respective bowl games and collective seasons: control the fight, pound the rock, and put people in the dirt over and over again. Sounds a lot like how our military has treated the rest of the world. USA — Undefeated Back to Back World Champs. Here’s to hoping it stays that way . . . so long as Trump doesn’t get half the east coast blown up.
Till Next Season
With college football once again coming to a close, it’s now time to wait until September of next year to once again bask in the glory of amateur, unpaid athletes who lay it all on the line. Ah, the purity of the college game. You just can’t beat it.