I keep forgetting to mention the bowl selections on Selection Sunday, but that's when the 2nd round bowls would be picking. Anyhow, after the Sugar Bowl picked, the Cotton Bowl was next and it chose the 1-8 bracket, looking for an Nebraska-Oklahoma game that it luckily received. The Holiday Bowl had last pick as usual, and was hoping for Washington to fall into their lap, but TCU threw a monkey wrench into that plan. At least they got a good match-up (on paper).
Just when things were looking all chalky and boring, along comes LT to save the day and embarrass Skippy in the process. Gotta love that. It's easy in light of recent injury problems to diminish his greatness, but the man dominated college football in 2000 and probably should have won the Heisman instead of Weinke, and then he went on to dominate the NFL for quite a few years.
LT vs. Vick. Jeez, can you imagine how awesome that game would be?
Isn't Butchie Wallace the punk who carved up our defense in 2003? It's hard for me to remember - I tried to block those memories out. Quentin Griffin was a real pain in our ass, too.
Good for Solich, finally winning a playoff game. Took him long enough.
Game 1: No. 16 Marshall Thundering Herd (7-5) VS. No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners (12-0)
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium - Norman, Okla.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2000 - 10 AM CST
Final Score: Oklahoma 31, Marshall 9
Player of the Game
Oklahoma RB Quentin Griffin
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - The first game of the 2000 FBS Playoff presented one of the most lopsided match-ups in playoff history, pitting undefeated Oklahoma against Marshall, a 5-loss team that won the MAC Championship by virtue of an upset.
The score, unsurprisingly, was pretty lopsided, too.
The Sooners (13-0) beat the Thundering Herd (7-6) 31-9 Friday at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to advance to the 2nd round, while Marshall has accepted a bid to the Motor City Bowl to face Cincinnati.
Oklahoma RB Quentin Griffin was named Player of the Game after a highlight-filled day that saw him rush 17 times for 129 yards and 1 TD, return a punt 74 yards for a TD, and catch three passes for 17 yards and 1 TD.
Marshall's Butchie Wallace was equally solid. He rushed 15 times for 110 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards.
The difference in this game was the play of the quarterbacks. Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel was outstanding, with 20-42 passing for 208 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, while Marshall QB Byron Leftwich was much less impressive, completing 19-43 passes for 175 yards and 3 INTs while being sacked three times. Each QB completed passes to nine different receivers.
Marshall actually took a short-lived 1st quarter lead on J.R. Jenkins' 34-yard FG, but that was soon erased by Oklahoma K Tim Duncan's 36-yarder. Oklahoma broke the 3-3 tie early in the 2nd quarter with Heupel's 20-yard TD pass to Curtis Fagan, and Griffin's punt return soon thereafter stretched the Sooner lead to 17-3. Jenkins made a 45-yard FG one minute before halftime to cut the Sooner lead to 11.
Griffin put this one away in the 2nd half with his rushing and receiving TDs, while the tough Sooner defense held Marshall to just one more FG in the latter 30 minutes - a 29-yarder by Jenkins.
Oklahoma will meet the Nebraska-Oregon winner in the Cotton Bowl next week.
Game 2: No. 4 Washington Huskies (10-1) VS. No. 13 TCU Horned Frogs (10-1)
Husky Stadium - Seattle, Wash.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2000 - 10 AM PST
Wind: S 10 MPH
Final Score: TCU 45, Washington 10
Player of the Game
TCU RB LaDainian Tomlinson
SEATTLE (AP) - Just when it seemed like the 2000 FBS Playoff might get off to an upset-free start, there were the TCU Horned Frogs, up to their old tricks.
One of three underdogs to win a 1st round game in 1999, TCU (11-1) delivered an encore performance - and then some - by demolishing Washington (10-2) 45-10 in Husky Stadium.
To no one's surprise, TCU RB LaDainian Tomlinson took home Player of the Game honors. He keyed a TCU rushing attack that outpaced Washington's 385-224 with his eye-popping 42 carries for 342 yards and 5 TDs. Tomlinson was so dominant that TCU coach Dennis Franchione didn't even care about QB Sean Stilley's pedestrian performance (4-10, 52 yards). Why would he, with a talent like Tomlinson running through, around, and over the Huskies defense all night long?
Washington QB Marques Tuiasosopo was hard-pressed to keep up with Tomlinson's scoring, completing 9-20 passes for 113 yards, but credit also goes to TCU defensive coordinator Gary Patterson's 4-2-5 defense, which harried Tuiasosopo all day and collected two sacks and two interceptions.
TCU scored first, as a Chris Kaylakie (1-3 FGs) 28-yard kick and Tomlinson's 45-yard TD run gave the Horned Frogs a 10-0 lead just 7 1/2 minutes into the game and quieted the raucous crowd. Washington answered with a 35-yard John Anderson FG and a 20-yard Willie Hurst (11 carries, 70 yards) TD run, and the score was tied 10-10 at halftime.
Tomlinson carved up Washington in the 2nd half, though. He rushed for TDs of 4 and 52 yards in the 3rd quarter, sandwiched around Kenny Hayter's (10 carries, 38 yards) 2-yard TD run, and added two more of 5 and 24 yards in the 4th quarter, as the TCU defense shut out the Huskies in the 2nd half to ensure complete domination.
Next week's Holiday Bowl between TCU and Virginia Tech should be an instant classic, as Heisman candidates Tomlinson and Michael Vick might arguably be the best pair of runners to face off in college football history.
Meanwhile, the way Husky fans streamed out of the stadium in the 3rd quarter might give bowl committees pause, and a team that went 10-1 could find itself in a very low-tier bowl as a result of its questionable fan support. That would make for an ugly end to the Huskies' best season since Don James was walking the sidelines and brought home a split national championship.
Game 3: No. 12 Colorado State Rams (9-2) VS. No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies (10-1)
Lane Stadium - Blacksburg, Va.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2000 - 4:30 PM EST
Wind: W 8 MPH
Final Score: Virginia Tech 30, Colorado State 17
Player of the Game
Virginia Tech RB Lee Suggs
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - The 2000 FBS Playoff is defying trends. The Nebraska Cornhuskers actually won a 1st round game, and a No. 12 seed has lost in the 1st round, as is expected, for the first time in three years.
Virginia Tech (11-1) was determined not to repeat the mistakes of previous No. 5 seeds UCLA and Tennessee, who both lost at home against underdogs, posting a solid 30-17 home win over Mountain West Champion Colorado State (9-3) and extending its quest for redemption into the 2nd round.
Hokie RB Lee Suggs was named Player of the Game, as his 26-carry, 173-yard, 3-TD performance led a punishing Virginia Tech rushing attack that out-gained the outmatched Rams 427-156, despite Cecil Sapp's 18-carry, 101-yard, 1-TD day.
Virginia Tech's Andre Kendrick added 175 yards on 15 attempts, and QB Michael Vick (6-8, 129 yards) rushed nine times for 40 yards.
Colorado State QB Matt Newton was 16-31 for 237 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome the potent Hokie ground assault. Suggs started the bloodbath with two short TD runs in the 1st quarter, and Vick's 2-yard TD run early in the 2nd quarter made it 21-0 Hokies.
It took until 6:53 remaining in the half for Sapp to finally get the Rams on the board with his impressive 54-yard TD run, but much of that momentum was countered by Virginia Tech K Carter Warley's (1-2 FGs) 42-yard kick as time expired in the 1st half.
Colorado State K C.W. Hurst (1-2 FGs) booted a 21-yarder early in the 3rd quarter to cut the deficit back to 14, but thoughts of an upset pretty much disappeared when Suggs rumbled in from seven yards out for his third TD of the day, giving Virginia Tech a 30-10 lead. Newton's 12-yard TD pass to Will Layne came with 3:32 left in the game and was essentially meaningless at that point.
Virginia Tech advances to its second consecutive Holiday Bowl, where it will meet TCU, while Colorado State has accepted a bid to play an as-yet-unknown team in the Liberty Bowl.
Game 4: No. 9 Oregon Ducks (9-2) VS. No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-2)
Nebraska Memorial Stadium - Lincoln, Neb.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2000 - 7 PM CST
Wind: SW 18 MPH
Final Score: Nebraska 24, Oregon 7
Player of the Game
Nebraska RB Dan Alexander
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Oft-criticized Nebraska coach Frank Solich finally won a playoff game.
After a tough road loss to Arizona in 1998 and a surprising upset by Marshall last season that heard a few boos ring out in Memorial Stadium, the Cornhuskers (10-2) made sure the home fans went home happy this year, beating Oregon (9-3) 24-7, and in the process they earned a rematch with one of the only two teams that beat them this season - Oklahoma, the Big 12 Champion.
After a sluggish 1st quarter in which neither team scored, Nebraska kick-started its powerful running game behind the legs of QB Eric Crouch, whose 7-yard TD run early in the 2nd quarter gave the Huskers a 7-0 lead, and RB Dan Alexander (21 carries, 110 yards), who scored from 48 yards out to give Nebraska a 14-0 halftime lead and was later named Player of the Game. All told, Nebraska out-rushed Oregon 277-109.
The Ducks had an advantage in the air, though, and in the 3rd quarter they used their versatile passing game to drive 64 yards in nine plays, but scored on the ground when Maurice Morris' (21 carries, 98 yards) 29-yard TD run cut the deficit to 7-14.
Nebraska would not be denied at home, however. Dahrran Diedrick (5 carries, 90 yards) stretched the lead back to 21-7 with his 27-yard TD run early in the 4th quarter, and K Josh Brown (1-2 FG) finished off the scoring with a 30-yard kick midway through the final period.
Crouch was just 4-9 for 59 yards and 1 INT, but given Nebraska's dominance on the ground, he didn't need to be any better than that. Three of those passes were to TE Tracey Wistrom, who gained 59 yards in the game. Meanwhile, Oregon QB Joey Harrington was both good (17-41, 246 yards) and bad (3 INTs), but there wasn't much he could do in the face of a Blackshirt rush that sacked him four times and forced him to scramble on nearly every throw.
Oregon K Josh Frankel missed his only FG attempt, a 49-yarder. The Ducks will almost certainly receive an invitation to a decent bowl game, but none had been extended as of press time.
Nebraska and Oklahoma will now meet in the second Cotton Bowl in three years to rematch a Big 12 North and a Big 12 South team. Can the Huskers duplicate Kansas State's revenge game against Texas A&M in 1998?
All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out - it's pretty cool.
#15 Boise State @ #2 Florida State
Doak Campbell Stadium
#10 Kansas State @ #7 Florida
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
#11 Louisville @ #6 Oregon State
#14 Purdue @ #3 Miami
Miami Orange Bowl
BracketCat's Protest Playoff Archives
2000: Selection Sunday