The nightcap of a long day of bowl games ended in a close one that had a pair of clutch field goals and a hint of honey BBQ sauce.
The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl between TCU and Michigan State didn’t start out particularly interesting when the Horned Frogs jumped out to a 13-0 lead over Sparty, but Michigan State scored 17 points in the second half, including a 47-yard field goal with one minute remaining, to come away with a 17-16 win. A muffed punt by TCU’s Skye Dawson put MSU in a position to take a 14-13 lead in the fourth.
Leading the way for the Spartans was running back Le’Veon Bell, who finished with 145 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. As an example of MSU’s woeful offensive production, Bell was also the team’s second-leading passer with one completion on a trick play for 29 yards. Bell finishes the year with almost 1,800 yards rushing on 382 carries. Here’s betting this was Bell’s final game with the Spartans.
For TCU, however, there’s plenty of young talent coming back in 2013. Perhaps among those will be quarterback Casey Pachall, who left the program mid-season because of a drug problem. Trevone Boykin has done an admiral job filling in for Pachall, but the Horned Frogs would have a better player at their disposal if Pachall returns.
Texas showed earlier this evening against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl that it’s a team to keep an eye on as a possible Big 12 championship contender in 2013. I would add TCU to that list as well.
Michigan State will have some questions to address at quarterback — starter Andrew Maxwell was swapped in favor of Connor Cook — with the possibility of Bell leaving and taking his load of offensive production with him.
As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.
Four-pack separates themselves
While there is still myriad uncertainty as it pertains to several aspects of the 2012 season, one thing crystallized itself in Week 8: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Kansas State are head and shoulders above anyone else in the nation this season, and any combination of the two could very well find themselves in Miami vying for the right to hoist the crystal at season’s end. In the games involving those teams this weekend, the undisputed top four teams in the country rambled over, around and through their opponents by a combined score of 186-59. While it appears in the here and now clear how this quartet stacks up against the rest of the college football world, the final few weeks are fraught with potential scheduling landmines:
Alabama: No. 15 Mississippi State (Oct. 27); at No. 6 LSU (Nov. 3); No. 20 Texas A&M (Nov. 10); and the annual Iron Bowl game with Auburn (Nov. 24)
Oregon: at No. 11 USC (Nov. 3); No. 22 Stanford (Nov. 17); and the annual Civil War game at No. 8 Oregon State (Nov. 24)
Florida: No. 13 Georgia (Oct. 27); and No. 12 Florida State (Nov. 24)
Kansas State: No. 18 Texas Tech (Oct. 27); at No. 23 (in BcS standings) TCU (Nov. 10); and No. 25 (in BcS standings) Texas (Dec. 1).
Certainly if any of those teams navigate those obstacles without a misstep, they deserve a shot at a BcS title. If three of those teams — Alabama and Florida would hypothetically meet in the SEC championship game — continue traveling the unbeaten path, and are possibly joined by an undefeated Notre Dame team? The uproar from the two/three snubbed fan bases as well as the media would be deafening and drown out any other college football-related discussion… especially if a one-loss Tide/Gator team faced an unbeaten Tide/Gator team in what would be the second straight all-SEC BcS title game.
The start for TCU’s 2012 season has already been prolonged a week later than most other teams. For Horned Frogs receiver Skye Dawson, the wait to get back on the field will be a little longer.
Gary Patterson said Tuesday that Dawson will sit out Saturday’s game against Grambling State because of a violation of institutional policy. Patterson did not elaborate on what Dawson did to merit the one-game suspension, but the senior should be back for the Sept. 15 trip to Kansas.
Dawson was second on the team last season in receptions (45) and receiving yards (500). In addition to his work as a receiver, Dawson contributed to TCU’s punt return unit, but he only recorded 59 yards on 12 returns — 42 of which came on one attempt.
(Hat tip: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)