Orange Bowl: The only ACC team in the field is Maryland, and the Orange Bowl guessed that they would not likely survive into the 2nd round, so it instead claimed the Miami region in order to get a home team, figuring that the odds are less than one percent that the 5-6 Mean Green could actually knock off Miami.
Citrus Bowl: After the Cotton Bowl selection, the Citrus Bowl was left to choose from either a likely Colorado-Florida game or a possible Oregon-Texas one. Needless to say, it chose Florida's region to ensure maximum ticket sales.
Were the bowls' guesses correct? Hit the jump to see.
Wow. The home teams all held serve. That's rare. You can almost feel the upsets coming tomorrow, like a thunderstorm just over the horizon.
So, uh, yeah, Miami and Florida look pretty freaking unstoppable, and they both basically get home games in the 2nd round, too. I sense a collision coming in the Final Four...
Game 1: No. 1 Miami Hurricanes (11-0) VS. No. 16 North Texas Mean Green (5-6)
Miami Orange Bowl - Miami, Fla.
Friday, Dec. 14, 2001 - 11 AM EST
Wind: W 14 MPH
Final Score: Miami 50, North Texas 10
Player of the Game
Miami RB Clinton Portis
MIAMI (AP) - Through a series of improbabilities, North Texas found itself in the 2001 FBS Playoff despite a losing record.
After the thrashing they just took from Miami, they probably don't feel very lucky to be here.
The Hurricanes (12-0) obliterated the Mean Green (5-7) 50-10 to advance to the 2nd round in their first playoff game as a No. 1 seed, despite allowing a staggering 329 rushing yards to the Sun Belt Champion.
Miami RB Clinton Portis was named Player of the Game, carrying the ball 29 times for 164 yards and 2 TDs. QB Ken Dorsey was 16-30 for 287 yards and 3 TDs, while K Todd Sievers was 5-5 on FGs for the day. Willis McGahee rushed 13 times for 94 yards and Andre Johnson caught four passes for 73 yards and 2 TDs to complete the Hurricanes' offensive dominance.
Miami actually trailed 6-7 after the 1st quarter, after Michael Hickmon (5 carries, 107 yards) rumbled 76 yards for North Texas' only TD, but the Hurricane offense revved up in the 2nd quarter.
Dorsey threw two TD passes to Johnson and one to Ethenic Sands to put Miami up 27-10 at halftime, and Portis added a TD run to help push the lead to 37-10 after three quarters, while Miami's defense shut North Texas out in the 2nd half.
RB Kevin Galbreath was solid for the Mean Green, rushing 29 times for 169 yards, but he got little help from QB Scott Hall, who only completed 3-20 passes for 17 yards and was intercepted by Ed Reed and Phillip Buchanon. North Texas' only other notable achievement was sacking Dorsey three times.
The Mean Green are still expected to receive a bid to the inaugural New Orleans Bowl to play Colorado State, but critics both inside and outside their conference are decrying the idea of a 5-7 team getting to play in a bowl.
Miami awaits the winner of tonight's game between Illinois and Stanford.
Game 2: No. 13 BYU Cougars (12-1) VS. No. 4 Colorado Buffaloes (10-2)
Folsom Field - Boulder, Colo.
Friday, Dec. 14, 2001 - 11 AM MST
Wind: N 22 MPH
Final Score: Colorado 41, BYU 27
Player of the Game
Colorado RB Bobby Purify
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - In a gridiron battle between two Rocky Mountain schools with very different cultures, the liberal institution had the upper hand Friday.
Colorado (11-2) jumped ahead early and didn't really look back in a 41-27 victory over BYU (12-2).
Colorado RB Bobby Purify was spectacular, rushing 18 times for 217 yards and 4 TDs, and he was named Player of the Game for his efforts. Together with Chris Brown (25 carries, 159 yards, 1 TD) and Cortlen Johnson (11 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD), the Buffalo backfield ran through BYU's defense all day long, to the tune of 476 total rushing yards.
Purify scored just 2 1/2 minutes into the game on a 55-yard TD run, and after CU K Patrick Brougham (1-3 FG) and BYU K Matt Payne (2-2 FG) exchanged kicks, he added a 3-yard TD run to make it 16-3.
Johnson and Brown each scored in the 2nd quarter as well, to push Colorado's halftime advantage to 28-10, a score held down only by Brougham's terrible kicking day - he missed all three PAT attempts in the 2nd quarter.
BYU RB Luke Staley (22 carries, 94 yards) bracketed Brown's TD run with two 2-yard TDs of his own, but any hopes of a BYU comeback (when the Cougars were down 17-28) were squashed by Purify's third TD of the day, a 64-yard run to make it 35-17 in the 3rd quarter. Purify also added a 4-yard TD in the 4th quarter (and Brougham missed a fourth PAT) to offset 10 BYU points in the final period.
With rushing performances like these, there wasn't much for the quarterbacks to do. Colorado's Bobby Pesavento was 11-17 for 150 yards and BYU's Brandon Doman was 18-26 for 193 yards and 1 TD. Doman's favorite target was WR Reno Mahe (7 catches, 60 yards), but it was Mike Rigell he found open in the back of the end zone from 21 yards out with 4:04 left in the game to make the score a more respectable 41-27.
BYU accepted a bid to the Liberty Bowl after the game, while Colorado will advance to the 2nd round to face the winner of today's game between Florida and Louisville.
Game 3: No. 12 Louisville Cardinals (10-2) VS. No. 5 Florida Gators (9-2)
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium - Gainesville, Fla.
Friday, Dec. 14, 2001 - 4:30 PM EST
Wind: S 9 MPH
Final Score: Florida 56, Louisville 27
Player of the Game
Florida QB Rex Grossman
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Miami had better be wary: There's another offensive juggernaut lurking in its region.
Florida (10-2) lambasted Louisville (10-3) 56-27 Friday to advance to a 2nd round match-up with Colorado, a winner earlier today.
Florida QB Rex Grossman passed his way to Player of the Game honors with 25-38 passing for 420 yards and 4 TDs. His counterpart, Louisville QB Dave Ragone, was decently effective but nowhere near that prolific, accounting for 26-44 passing for 347 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs.
Each quarterback had a superb receiver to throw to, as well. Star Louisville WR Deion Branch caught seven passes for 113 yards and 1 TD; Florida WR Reche Caldwell answered him with five catches for 128 yards and 2 TDs. Florida had the only truly effective running back, however, as Earnest Graham carried the ball 20 times for 140 yards and 4 TDs to complement Grossman's stellar passing.
All told, the two teams combined for 767 yards through the air.
Louisville scored first on Nate Smith's (2-3 FG) 24-yard kick, but Grossman threw TD passes to Taylor Jacobs, Caldwell, and Jacobs again to put the Gators comfortably ahead 21-3 before Louisville scored again. Ragone hit Branch from six yards out to make it 21-10, but Graham rushed in from 49 yards out to push the Gator lead back to 28-10 five seconds before halftime.
That proved to be a blow from which Louisville could never fully recover. Graham and Caldwell each added TDs in the 3rd quarter to make it 42-10 and the game was effectively over. Louisville scored 10 points midway through the 2nd half to make it somewhat closer, but Graham busted loose for two more TDs in the 4th quarter to make the score an insurmountable 56-20.
Florida coach Steve Spurrier breathed a sigh of relief after the game. After opening round losses in the last two playoffs, he was starting to feel some heat from the fans. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive was probably happy as well, considering that until today, the SEC had not won a playoff game since 1998.
While Florida advances to face Colorado in the Citrus Bowl, Louisville will make travel plans for the Liberty Bowl, where the Cardinals will face the team Colorado beat earlier today, BYU.
Game 4: No. 8 Illinois Fighting Illini (10-1) VS. No. 9 Stanford Cardinal (9-2)
Illinois Memorial Stadium - Champaign, Ill.
Friday, Dec. 14, 2001 - 7 PM CST
Wind: W 7 MPH
Final Score: Illinois 37, Stanford 10
Player of the Game
Illinois RB Antoineo Harris
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Pac-10 teams are not performing very well in playoff action.
Arizona's 1st round win over Nebraska in 1998 is proving to be something of a rarity. The conference is 0-7 since that game, and the most recent entry in its hall of shame was Stanford's lopsided loss today in what was supposed to be an even match-up.
Illinois (11-1) whooped the Cardinal (9-3) 37-10 Friday night, despite equipment problems that forced the Fighting Illini to wear plain orange helmets without their customary "Illinois" decal.
It didn't seem to faze the Player of the Game, though, as Illinois RB Antoineo Harris had one of his best days, rushing 28 times for 158 yards and a TD. That helped take the pressure off erratic QB Kurt Kittner, who had a nice day, completing 15-24 passes for 229 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT.
Stanford QB Randy Fasani was not nearly so effective; he was just 6-14 for 101 yards. In fact, the Stanford offense couldn't do much of anything, accounting for only 298 total yards and just one TD.
The chilly evening seemed to slow Stanford defenders as Illinois jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but the Cardinal answered with 10 quick points in the last five minutes of the 2nd quarter to trim the halftime deficit to 17-10.
That was as close as it would get, however, as the Illini shut Stanford out in the 2nd half while scoring 2 TDs and 2 FGs to put the game away. It was another sub-par effort for a team from a conference that is becoming known for sub-par efforts, including three upset losses in the 1st round last season.
Stanford accepted a bid to the inaugural Seattle Bowl after the game, while Illinois now faces the unenviable task of trying to slow down the potent Miami offense in the Orange Bowl, essentially a home game for the Hurricanes.
All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out - it's pretty cool.
#15 Louisiana Tech @ #2 Nebraska
Nebraska Memorial Stadium
#14 Toledo @ #3 Oregon
#11 LSU @ #6 Texas
Texas Memorial Stadium
#10 Maryland @ #7 Tennessee
BracketCat's Protest Playoff Archives
2001: Selection Sunday