I apologize for missing my noon deadline today. From time to time, the connection I usually use to view this site gets it into its head that it doesn't want to load certain sites, such as collegiate official athletics sites, and BOTC appears to have joined this list of sites.
It literally crashed as I was posting a comment on the KU game thread last night. No amount of refreshing or restarting the computer has been able to fix this problem - I usually just have to wait 24 hours and things work fine again, which makes me suspect it's either a problem with the router or the modem.
Anyhow, I usually upload these the night before and schedule them for publishing so they're always on time. I planned to wake up this morning and get it uploaded, but I guess last night took more out of me than I expected and I overslept badly. I promise it won't happen again
So, hit the jump to see today's belated but still awesome developments. K-State can use some good news right about now, even if it is fake.
The bowl selection process this week was fairly straightforward. Last year's title game host, the Fiesta Bowl, selected first, and it chose the Kansas State-Nebraska bracket to get a Big 12 team or two. Cotton was next, and tried to get Alabama or Tennessee, but lucked into hosting home team TCU despite the crazy upsets. Citrus took the 1-8 bracket and was rewarded with local Florida State and tie-in Michigan. Lastly, the poor Holiday Bowl got stuck with a Big East team and a Big Ten team and hosted one of the worst blowouts in playoff history. Poor them.
Decent slate of games today - an overtime shootout, a blowout, and two defensive battles. Ron Dayne, LT, Tom Brady, and Chad Pennington were all ejected. That Citrus Bowl was a doozy. I've been wondering for a while if this thing could simulate overtime games - apparently the answer is "yes."
Glad to see the Cats advance (and win their third consecutive Fiesta Bowl), but I suspect that Snyder will suffer his first playoff loss tomorrow. The Hokies look unstoppable and I think they're on a collision course with Florida State, but you never know. Still, there are worse ways to exit than in the Rose Bowl, in the Final Four, against Michael freakin' Vick. Snyderball vs. Beamerball - it doesn't get much better than that, folks.
Oh, and don't shed any tears for TCU. LT will be back with a vengeance in 2000, I think. That is a team that no one would want to draw.
Game 1: No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (12-0) VS. No. 8 Michigan Wolverines (10-2)
CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl
Florida Citrus Bowl - Orlando, Fla.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 1999 - 11 AM EST
Wind: W 17 MPH
Final Score: Florida State 38, Michigan 34 (OT)
Player of the Game
Florida State WR Peter Warrick
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - For the second straight week, Michigan found itself in a shootout with a team from Florida.
Despite holding a lead in the 4th quarter, though, the Wolverines (10-3) couldn't stop Florida State (13-0) from forcing overtime, and the Seminoles' momentum carried over into the extra period as they were able to escape the Citrus Bowl with a 38-34 win to advance to the Final Four.
QBs Chris Weinke and Tom Brady turned in phenomenal performances in this one. For the Seminoles, Weinke completed 32-58 passes for 419 yards, 3 TDs, and 3 INTs. For the Wolverines, Brady was 26-42 for 357 yards and a TD.
Those tuning in early might have been surprised to learn Florida State needed to come back to win. It was all Seminoles in the 1st quarter, as Jeff Chaney capped the opening drive with a 3-yard TD run to make it 7-0. Near the end of the period, Player of the Game Peter Warrick (11 catches, 127 yards) caught a Michigan punt and returned it 89 yards for a TD to stretch the Florida State lead to 14-0.
It took Michigan until 10:03 left in the 1st half to finally score, as a 46-yard Jeff Del Verne FG cut the FSU lead to 11. Florida State answered six minutes later with Sebastian Janikowski's 23-yarder to make it 17-3.
Brady was not content to go into the locker room and mount a comeback attempt in the 2nd half, though. First, he completed a 69-yard TD pass to Marquise Walker (4 catches, 96 yards) with 1:14 left in the half. Then, after a Ron Dugans (6 catches, 90 yards) fumble gave the ball back to Michigan, Brady drove the Wolverines 31 yards in 35 seconds and Anthony Thomas (29 rushes, 60 yards, 2 TDs) rumbled in from three yards out to tie the game 21 seconds before halftime.
Florida State jumped back in front 24-17 early in the 2nd half when Warrick caught his first receiving TD of the game from 12 yards out, but Michigan took charge late in the 3rd quarter as Walter Cross and Thomas both scored from the Florida State 1-yard line to push the Wolverines ahead for the first time in the game, 31-24.
Neither team could change the score for much of the 4th quarter as both defenses stepped up, forcing a Weinke INT and several punts and 4th-down stops. Finally, with 1:42 left in the game, Weinke dug deep and found some magic, driving his team 80 yards down the field and throwing an 11-yard TD pass to Warrick to tie the game with just 0:27 remaining.
In overtime, Brady got Michigan to the Florida State 11, but the 4th-quarter comeback injected new life into Florida State's defense and they held firm; Del Verne's 28-yard FG drew the Wolverines ahead 34-31.
That set up a picture-perfect ending. Almost. First Florida State coach Bobby Bowden had to weather a holding penalty that gave his team a 1st-and-20, and then almost had to restart his heart when Warrick gained back 14 of those yards on a screen pass, fumbled the ball, and managed to recover it. Weinke scrambled for three yards on the next play, and then on 3rd and 3, Anquan Boldin caught his first and only pass of the game for a 5-yard TD, the win, and the biggest play of his young career.
Florida State fans, comprising the majority of the crowd at the Citrus Bowl, went crazy, as the Seminoles celebrated their historic win and the Wolverines trudged back to the locker room, dejected at their inability to pull out a second close game in as many weeks.
Next week, Florida State will play its third consecutive game in the Sunshine State, as the Seminoles advance to the Orange Bowl to play the winner of the TCU-Michigan State game, and Bowden probably hopes they can bottle some of the magic of tonight's performance and take it south to Miami with them.
Game 2: No. 13 Michigan State Spartans (10-2) VS. No. 12 TCU Horned Frogs (8-4)
Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Classic
Cotton Bowl - Dallas, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 18, 1999 - 12 PM CST
Wind: N 9 MPH
Final Score: Michigan State 11, TCU 6
Player of the Game
Michigan State RB Lloyd Clemons
DALLAS (AP) - The Citrus Bowl brought us an overtime shootout. The Cotton Bowl was anything but.
In a battle of surprising upstarts, Michigan State (11-2) beat TCU (8-5) 11-6 in the Cotton Bowl despite a strong crowd advantage for the Horned Frogs. The TCU campus is on the other side of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex from the Cotton Bowl, and an estimated 20,000 fans made the short drive to support their team, only to be disappointed by the final outcome.
TCU out-rushed the Spartans 216-146, thanks mostly to another star performance from LaDainian Tomlinson (33 carries, 129 yards), but was doomed by poor QB play. Patrick Batteaux was just 5-11 for 72 yards and an INT, and the only scores in this game from either side were field goals and one safety.
Michigan State's Paul Edinger started the kick-fest with his 38-yarder in the 1st quarter, answered in kind by a 38-yarder from Chris Kaylakie to end the period with a 3-3 tie. Edinger tacked on kicks of 40 and 49 yards before halftime for a 9-3 Spartan lead.
The Michigan State defense began the second half with a sack of Batteaux for a safety, and the best TCU could do to chip away at the 11-3 lead was produce another Kaylakie FG in the 4th quarter. It was difficult for the offenses to do anything all night, but the defenses sure were fun to watch.
Plaxico Burress caught four passes for 38 yards and Lloyd Clemons was named Player of the Game for his 21-carry, 97-yard day.
Michigan State is the lowest-seeded team to reach the Final Four in the FBS Playoff's two-year history, and they face long odds to continue, as undefeated No. 1 seed Florida State awaits them in its home state.
TCU's season may be done, but the Horned Frogs proved the last two weeks that they could be a force to be reckoned with next season in the WAC. Their fan base is rightfully fired up, as the team returns most of its players next year.
Game 3: No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) VS. No. 2 Virginia Tech Hokies (12-0)
Culligan Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 1999 - 1:30 PM PST
Wind: NW 6 MPH
Final Score: Virginia Tech 37, Wisconsin 10
Player of the Game
Virginia Tech QB Michael Vick
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Everything's coming up Roses for Michael Vick and the Hokies.
Virginia Tech (13-0) crushed Wisconsin (10-3) 37-10 in the Holiday Bowl Saturday, advancing to the 3rd round of the FBS Playoff and the "Granddaddy of Them All," the Rose Bowl.
Vick was named Player of the Game for his 7-9 passing for 144 yards, 17 carries for 45 yards, and two passing TDs, but he had a little help. Shyrone Stith had his second dominating playoff performance, rushing 29 times for 144 yards and 1 TD, while Andre Kendrick ran 14 times for 93 yards. All told, the Hokies out-rushed the Badgers 285-135 and held Heisman winner Ron Dayne to just 107 yards on 27 carries.
Meanwhile, Shayne Graham made FGs of 45, 35, and 41 yards for Virginia Tech (although he also missed from 47, 38, and 48), and Andre Davis caught three of Vick's seven passes for 89 yards.
Wisconsin QB Brooks Bollinger was ineffective, completing a paltry 3-14 passes for 35 yards.
Kendrick scored first, on a 44-yard run, but Dayne answered with 2:05 left in the 1st quarter. That 7-7 tie was as close as the Badgers would get. Vick completed a 5-yard TD pass to Derek Carter with eight seconds left in the 1st half to give the Hokies a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Then Vick tossed an 11-yarder to Emmett Johnson to make it 21-7, and Graham added his first kick for a 24-7 Hokie lead after three quarters. Graham added another to make it 27-7, Visely Pisetsky answered from 49 yards out to make it 27-10, and then Stith and Graham scored the last 10 points to finish the rout.
Virginia Tech awaits the winner of tonight's game between Kansas State and Marshall, having outscored its two playoff opponents by a combined score of 69-10, while Dayne said goodbye to his college career, having collected the top individual award in college football but failing twice to help Wisconsin win the top team award.
Game 4: No. 6 Kansas State Wildcats (11-1) VS. No. 14 Marshall Thundering Herd (13-0)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Sun Devil Stadium - Tempe, Ariz.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 1999 - 6 PM MST
Final Score: Kansas State 17, Marshall 12
Player of the Game
Marshall RB Doug Chapman
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Maybe offense is overrated.
Kansas State (12-1) couldn't do much on that side of the ball Saturday, but won its third consecutive Fiesta Bowl anyway by a score of 17-12. It helped that Marshall's (13-1) offense was even worse.
Thundering Herd RB Doug Chapman (27 carries, 118 yards) won Player of the Game honors, but maybe they should have gone to K Billy Malashevich instead. He accounted for all of Marshall's scoring, kicking exactly one field goal in each quarter.
The unsung stars of the game were on the Kansas State defense, though. Darren Howard had a sack and Travis Litton had two sacks, while Mark Simoneau, Jerametrius Butler, and Lamar Chapman each intercepted Chad Pennington. Simoneau returned his 54 yards for a TD, which would prove to be a decisive score late in the 3rd quarter.
K-State's defensive performance helped it overcome an abnormally bad day from its offense. Jonathan Beasley was 5-21 for 85 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs, while the Wildcat running game produced just 150 yards.
Pennington was marginally better, completing 22-48 passes, but he had no TDs and his turnovers cost Marshall badly at key points in the game.
Malashevich scored first on a 44-yarder, and Kansas State did not get on the board until Quincy Morgan caught a 40-yard TD pass from Beasley 10 seconds into the 2nd quarter. Then Malashevich's 41-yarder made it a 7-6 Kansas State halftime lead.
Another Malashevich FG of 47 yards gave Marshall a brief 9-7 lead, but Simeoneau's INT return pulled K-State back ahead 14-9 with 3:44 left in the 3rd quarter.
Jamie Rheem gave the Wildcats the decisive edge when his 42-yard FG early in the final period made it 17-9, and the Kansas State defense only gave up the last Malashevich FG after that.
Kansas State will need every inch of that defensive excellence next week against the Virginia Tech Hokies, who have yet to play a close game in the playoff. On the other side, Marshall's dream season comes to an end after 13 spectacular wins, including last week's thrilling upset in Lincoln, but Pennington said after the game, "We're very disappointed, but there's no shame in losing to the defending champions."
All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out - it's pretty cool.
The Rose Bowl Game presented by AT&T
#2 Virginia Tech vs. #6 Kansas State
FedEx Orange Bowl
#1 Florida State vs. #13 Michigan State
Pro Player Stadium
Miami Gardens, Fla.