ONE MONTH UNTIL KICKOFF!
Sugar Bowl: The Sugar Bowl had a choice between Florida's region and LSU's region, but since LSU would have to get through USC to get there while Florida only has to play Wisconsin, Florida seemed like the safer bet.
Orange Bowl: The Orange Bowl was left with Boise State, LSU, Ohio State and USC.
Game 1: No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (12-1) VS. No. 11 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (12-2)
Capital One Bowl
Florida Citrus Bowl - Orlando, Fla.
Saturday, Dec. 23, 2006 - 11 AM EST
Wind: E 3 MPH
Final Score: Wake Forest 27, Michigan 13
Player of the Game
Wake Forest RB Micah Andrews
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - For all the storied accomplishments of the legendary Michigan football program, one major distinction was still missing: a Final Four.
This won't be the Wolverines' year to address that failing.
Wake Forest (13-2) continued its upset run with a 27-13 Capital One Bowl victory over Michigan (12-2), becoming the second No. 11 seed to advance to the Final Four in the last three seasons (the other was Louisville).
Micah Andrews had his second straight impressive playoff game, rushing 21 times for 153 yards and two TDs in the early second quarter that stretched a narrow 7-0 Demon Deacon lead into a commanding 21-0 one. Riley Skinner complemented him with 12-of-18 passing for 131 yards and an interception.
Meanwhile, Mike Hart (32 carries, 108 yards, TD) accounted for nearly all of Michigan's scoring punch. He cut into that 21-0 lead with a 38-yard TD catch three minutes before halftime and, when things looked bleak late in the final period, he kept the Wolverines' flagging hopes alive with a 4-yard TD run in the last four minutes to keep Michigan within striking distance.
A comeback was not in the cards, despite Hart's offensive effectiveness and Chad Henne's 11-of-23 passing for 177 yards and a TD.
Game 2: No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers (12-1) VS. No. 2 Florida Gators (13-1)
AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
Cotton Bowl - Dallas, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 23, 2006 - 12 PM CST
Wind: SE 14 MPH
Final Score: Florida 14, Wisconsin 3
Player of the Game
Florida WR Percy Harvin
DALLAS (AP) - A pair of stellar rushing performances brightened what was otherwise a boring, defensive Cotton Bowl.
Florida (14-1) outlasted Wisconsin (12-2) in a battle of wills in the trenches to advance to only its second Final Four ever, and the multidimensional Percy Harvin again led the way with 12 carries for 205 yards, including a 78-yard TD run early in the second quarter for the first points of the game for either team, and three catches from Chris Leak (11-20, 134 yards, 3 INT) for 32 yards, too.
P.J. Hill keyed the Badger ground attack with 35 carries for 134 yards, but was unable to account for any points. That honor belonged solely to Taylor Mehlhaff, who missed two of his three FG attempts, but cashed in his only make from 26 yards out to avoid the shutout. John Stocco struggled all day at quarterback, completing just seven of his 20 passes for a paltry 39 yards and an interception.
Game 3: No. 5 USC Trojans (11-2) VS. No. 4 LSU Tigers (11-2)
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 23, 2006 - 1:30 PM PST
Wind: W 5 MPH
Final Score: LSU 44, USC 22
Player of the Game
USC RB Chauncey Washington
SAN DIEGO (AP) - USC had the better running back, but LSU had the better team.
The Tigers (12-2) stopped the unstoppable Trojans (11-3), halting USC's 2 1/2-year playoff winning streak at nine games with a dominating 44-22 win in the Holiday Bowl.
JaMarcus Russell managed the game brilliantly for LSU, going 19 of 22 for 337 yards and a TD. He led an offense that built a 23-3 lead in the first 25 minutes of the game.
That's when Chauncey Washington (15 carries, 153 yards, 2 TDs) answered the call, though. He scored TD runs of 28 and 20 yards in the final 1:40 of the first half to trim the halftime deficit to 16-23. Mario Danelo then added a 28-yard FG early in the third quarter to make it 23-19 LSU.
LSU's running backs poured it on late to salt the game away, though, outscoring the Trojans 21-3 down the stretch to claim the program's second Final Four and give the SEC a 50-percent chance to make the championship game, after Florida advanced earlier today.
Game 4: No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes (13-0) VS. No. 8 Boise State Broncos (13-0)
The Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi
Rose Bowl - Pasadena, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 23, 2006 - 5 PM PST
Wind: SW 3 MPH
Final Score: Ohio State 37, Boise State 20
Player of the Game
Ohio State RB Antonio Pittman
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Boise State made a valiant attempt at an upset, but in the end, the Ohio State defense was simply too strong to overcome.
The Broncos (13-1) jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and led 20-10 at halftime, but the Buckeyes (14-0) posted a shutout in the second half and scored 27 unanswered points to secure a 37-20 comeback win in the Rose Bowl and proceed to their second straight Final Four appearance.
Ian Johnson rushed 28 times for 211 yards and scored two TDs, each about three minutes into each of the first two quarters, but Jared Zabransky was only 9 of 14 for 102 yards and an interception.
Antonio Pittman (25 carries, 213 yards, 2 TDs) kept Ohio State in the game early, scoring the Buckeyes' only TD of the first half, while Troy Smith keyed the comeback effort with 13-of-19 passing for 175 yards, an interception and TDs to Ted Ginn, Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie.
All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out - it's pretty cool.
All bowl logos are courtesy of sportslogos.net.
FedEx Orange Bowl
#1 Ohio State vs. #4 LSU
Miami Gardens, Fla.
Nokia Sugar Bowl
#2 Florida vs. #11 Wake Forest
New Orleans, La.
BracketCat's Protest Playoff Archives
1998: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Fiesta | Data | Encore
1999: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Sugar | Data | Encore
2000: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Orange | Data | Encore
2001: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Rose | Data
2002: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Fiesta | Data
2003: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Sugar | Data
2004: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Orange | Data
2005: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Rose | Data
2006: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2)