ONE MONTH AND TWO DAYS UNTIL KICKOFF!
Rose Bowl: Any of the four regions would have worked somewhat for the Rose Bowl, since they each contain either a Big Ten or Pac-10 team. Although USC resides in one region and would make a good host team, it's also one of the most stacked regions in the entire playoff, and the Rose Bowl calculated the Trojans' odds of advancing are less than some of the Big Ten teams' odds. So, it fell back on Ohio State as a safe bet, even if that means a matchup with Auburn or Boise State.
Holiday Bowl: The Holiday Bowl cut a deal with the Capital One Bowl, which I will explain further tomorrow, and it allowed the Holiday Bowl to get a potential LSU-USC matchup in the 2nd round.
Game 1: No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0) VS. No. 16 Central Michigan Chippewas (9-4)
Ohio Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
Friday, Dec. 15, 2006 - 11 AM EST
Wind: N 5 MPH
Final Score: Ohio State 30, Central Michigan 3
Player of the Game
Ohio State RB Antonio Pittman
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Central Michigan may have scored the first points of the game, but Antonio Pittman ran wild in the fourth quarter and Ohio State scored the final points of the game in a 30-3 home victory in the first round of the 2006 FBS Playoff.
The Chippewas (9-5) tasted disappointment today, but they will receive a consolation game in the form of the Motor City Bowl - a chance to end their season on the right note. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes (13-0) will advance to the Rose Bowl to face the winner of tonight's game between Auburn and Boise State.
Pittman led the way for Ohio State with 27 carries for 194 yards and two TDs. Troy Smith was 18 of 30 for 232 yards, a TD and an interception. Aaron Pettrey was 3 of 4 on FGs, with all three makes coming in the last two minutes of the first quarter.
Dan LeFevour struggled for the Chippewas, completing 22 of his 42 passes for just 165 yards and two interceptions. The Ohio State defense limited Central Michigan to just 143 rushing yards in the game.
Tiger Stadium - Baton Rouge, La.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2006 - 1 PM EST
Wind: S 5 MPH
Final Score: LSU 30, Notre Dame 3
Player of the Game
LSU RB Jacob Hester
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - In a strange coincidence, LSU won by the exact same score as Ohio State did earlier today: 30-3.
Jacob Hester (13 carries, 145 yards, TD) led the way for the Tigers (11-2), who dispatched the Fighting Irish (10-3) with relative ease to advance to only the second Elite Eight in school history.
JaMarcus Russell completed 12 of his 17 passes for LSU, for 180 yards and a TD, while Brady Quinn struggled for Notre Dame, going 22 of 42 for 187 yards and two interceptions.
The game was never really close, as LSU led 10-0 after a quarter, 20-0 at halftime and 27-3 after three periods had elapsed. While the Tigers advance to play either Houston or USC, Notre Dame will be awaiting a middle-tier bowl invitation.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Los Angeles, Calif.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2006 - 1:30 PM PST
Final Score: USC 51, Houston 30
Player of the Game
USC QB John David Booty
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Pete Carroll tied Bob Stoops in all-time playoff wins (with 12) as USC advanced to its fifth consecutive Elite Eight with a 51-30 victory over Houston in an offensive shootout.
The Trojans (11-2) led 10-0 after a 10-yard TD run by Chauncey Washington (15 carries, 131 yards, 2 TDs) but Anthony Alridge (11 carries, 116 yards, 2 TDs) cut the deficit to 7-10 for the Cougars (10-4) with a surprising 70-yard TD run. A 9-yard Emmanuel Moody TD run then gave USC a 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
John David Booty (24-28, 349 yards, 2 TDs) kicked it into high gear in the second period with a 12-yard TD pass to Damian Williams, for a 23-10 lead, but Houston soon came storming back. The Cougars answered that play with an 18-yard Alridge TD run, and after C.J. Gable scrambled 66 yards to paydirt for USC, Houston kicker Ben Bell (3-4 FG) booted a 35-yarder with 11 seconds left in the first half to cut the halftime deficit to 20-30.
Even more surprising for Trojan fans, the third quarter was all Cougars. Bell kicked a 48-yard FG less than five minutes after halftime and Kevin Kolb (19-32, 218 yards, TD) finally found endzone with an 8-yard TD pass to Donnie Avery with 4:30 left in the period, and just like that, the game was tied at 30 entering the final quarter.
The Trojans put it away late, though, outscoring Houston 21-0 in the fourth with a short Booty-to-Patrick Turner TD pass and TD runs from Gable and Washington. USC will advance to play LSU in the Holiday Bowl next Saturday, while Houston will likely receive an invitation to the Liberty Bowl.
Game 4: No. 9 Auburn Tigers (10-2) VS. No. 8 Boise State Broncos (12-0)
Bronco Stadium - Boise, Idaho
Friday, Dec. 15, 2006 - 6 PM MST
Wind: WNW 5 MPH
Final Score: Boise State 47, Auburn 14
Player of the Game
Boise State RB Ian Johnson
BOISE (AP) - Ian Johnson helped Boise State establish an absolutely punishing ground game, as the Broncos pummeled Auburn 47-14 to advance to the school's third Elite Elight.
Boise State (13-0) outrushed the Tigers (10-3) 476-224, an impressive figure, but one made slightly more understandable given that the arctic Idaho air made establishing any semblance of a decent passing game difficult at best.
Johnson scored the first points of the game less than nine minutes after kickoff and posted four consecutive TDs in the third quarter and the 18 seconds preceding it. He rushed 34 times for 225 yards and five TDs, one of the more dominating performances in playoff history.
His backup, Brett Denton, had a pretty nice day, too, carrying the ball 12 times for 171 yards and a TD. Together, they helped carry the weight for Jared Zabransky (9-13, 134 yards, INT) and his struggling receivers.
Kenny Irons rushed 22 times for 100 yards for the Tigers, but Brandon Cox was just woeful, completing nine of his 19 passes for 100 yards and a staggering four interceptions. Add in a porous Tiger defense that hardly made the SEC proud after allowing so many rushing yards, and it was pretty clear that the very un-Alabama-like weather had Auburn all out of sorts.
All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out - it's pretty cool.
#15 BYU @ #2 Florida
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
#14 Troy @ #3 Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.
#11 Wake Forest @ #6 Louisville
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
#10 Oklahoma @ #7 Wisconsin
Camp Randall Stadium
BracketCat's Protest Playoff Archives
2006: Selection Sunday