Trying to make sense of 35 bowl games in 24 days is a task too big for mere mortals, so we asked Mike Hlas, the award-winning Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist and force behind The Hlog, to review each of the games. Here is his fourth installment of Bowl Game Confidential.
Holiday Bowl: Washington 19, Nebraska 7. Announced attendance: 57,921. ... Washington made a 47-point improvement from their September meeting in Seattle, a 56-21 Cornhusker victory. ... "It was a ridiculous performance," said Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini. About the rematch, that is.
Fun stat: Nebraska had more penalty yardage (102) than rushing yardage (91).
Tweet: @georgerapp: I'd say the #huskers laid an egg tonight, but that implies that there was actual pushing effort expended ... #fail
Meinke Car Care Bowl: South Florida 31, Clemson 26. Announced attendance: 41,122. ... It was the lowest crowd in the nine-year history of the bowl. ... More than 70,000 tickets were sold to the ACC title game in the same Charlotte stadium four weeks earlier. ... "I'm going to do everything within my power to make sure that I get us better as a football team and that this never happens again," Tiger coach Dabo Swinney said. ... Next year this becomes the Belk Bowl. Belk is a Charlotte-based department store.
Fun stat: It's the first losing season for Clemson (6-7) since 1998.
Tweet: @WesPhillips: Sorry alumni association, I'm not buying a shirt because we won the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Sun Bowl: Notre Dame 33, Miami 17. Announced attendance: 54,021. ... It was a sellout and an attendance record for the 77-year-old bowl. ... Brian Kelly became the first Notre Dame coach to win a bowl in his first season as coach. ... "El Paso treated Notre Dame so very well," Kelly said. ... Players from both teams were barred by their coaches from going across the border to visit Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
Fun stat: It was warmer at kickoff in South Bend (46 degrees) than it was in El Paso (34).
Tweet: @TheLisaDShow: Welcome to El Paso Sun Bowl Fans! Decapitated head found on pillow in Juárez
Liberty Bowl: Central Florida 10, Georgia 6. Announced attendance: 51,231. ... It was UCF's first bowl win. ... "The sweetest sound in the world. I rang that bell until I couldn't ring it anymore," said UCF senior Bruce Miller about the Liberty Bell trophy. ... Georgia Coach Mark Richt didn't accept the runner-up trophy, instructing a bowl official to get it to him later. ... Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "This is what it looks like: Mark Richt has lost control of this program."
Fun stat: Georgia (6-7) had its first losing season since 1997.
Tweet: @KanuDawg How bad was Georgia in the Liberty Bowl? AJGreen will be lucky to get 1000 pesos for his game jersey.
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Florida State 26, South Carolina 17. Announced attendance: 72,217. ... E.J. Manuel came off the bench to lead two FSU touchdown drives after starting QB Christian Ponder suffered a concussion. "EJ, boy, thank God," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I'm glad he's on my team." ... South Carolina suffered its third consecutive loss, all with Stephen Garcia at quarterback, who had three interceptions. "He pretty much got us this far," Gamecock Coach Steve Spurrier said. "So we might as well let him finish the thing."
Fun stat: The SEC East fell to 0-3 in bowls, with only Kentucky (vs. Pittsburgh on Jan. 8 in the BBVA Compass Bowl) left to save the division from a shutout.
Tweet: @itsjordylive: Well, if you have eleventy billion turnovers, you don't win football games. Excuse me while I take shots of peroxide. #Gamecocks
TicketCity Bowl: Texas Tech 45, Northwestern 38. Announced attendance: 40,121. ... The actual crowd was several thousand less, partly because the temperature in Dallas was in the 30s. ... Tech tried an onside kick when leading by three touchdowns in the third quarter. It failed, and Northwestern got back in the game. "I'd blame it on somebody else," Red Raider coach Tommy Tuberville said, "but I called it."
Fun stat: Northwestern has lost its last eight bowls, the last victory coming in the 1948 Rose Bowl.
Tweet: @DoubleTRaider: Texas Tech wins another bowl. And in the process set EVERY record in Ticket City Bowl history.
Outback Bowl: Florida 37, Penn State 24. Announced attendance: 60,574. ... While 46-year-old Urban Meyer coached his last game for Florida. Joe Paterno insisted he is staying on for a 46th year as Penn State's coach. ... Florida capitalized on a blocked punt for a touchdown and five Penn State turnovers, including a last-minute 80-yard Ahmad Black interception return for the clinching score.
Fun stat: Meyer's record at Florida was 64-15. One-third of those losses came this season.
Tweet: @TraceyWright785: Joe Paterno says punter Anthony Fera's status up in the air.
Capital One Bowl: Alabama 49, Michigan State 7. Announced attendance: 61,519. ... Alabama scored touchdowns on its first five possessions. ... The Crimson Tide had 275 rushing yards. Michigan State minus-48. ... This was the most-lopsided game in the bowl's history, topping East Tennessee State's 33-0 win over Tennessee Tech in the 1953 then-Tangerine Bowl. ... "We were outcoached, we were outplayed and we were outphysicaled and that's just the way it is," Spartan coach Mark Dantonio said. ... "We were just relentless," Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson said. "That's all I can say."
Fun stats: The No. 7 team in the AP poll had never lost by this many points. At any time in a season. The last ranked team to lose this badly was No. 18 Northwestern, 66-17, to No. 9 Nebraska in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.
Tweet: @j_a_stafford: Maybe they shud change the name of this one to the Capital Punishment bowl...spartans being carted off evry few plays
Gator Bowl: Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14. Announced attendance: 77,497. ... It was the worst bowl loss in Michigan's history. ... The Bulldogs scored 42 consecutive points after Michigan led, 14-10, after the first quarter. ... "Hopefully that [win] catapults us into the step from good to great," Bulldog coach Dan Mullen said.
Fun stat: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez's buyout dropped from $4 million to $2.5 million once the calendar flipped over to 2011.
Tweet: @spencer_josh: First time ever a defensive coordinator trending on Twitter? And that's not a good thing for #GregRobinson or #RichRod
Rose Bowl: Texas Christian 21, Wisconsin 19. Announced attendance: 94,118. ... Tank Carder swatted away Scott Tolzien's two-point conversion pass attempt with two minutes left to secure the victory for unbeaten TCU. ... Horned Frogs quarterback Andy Dalton won his third bowl MVP award. ... "We weren't just playing for TCU. We were playing for all the non-AQ schools out there," Dalton said. ... "Don't know why it had to happen," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "Obviously, a very good football team on the other sideline, but we'll take this and we'll move forward. I don't think there will be anything that sets us back."
Fun stat: Non-automatic qualifying schools are now 4-1 against automatic qualifiers in BCS bowls.
Tweet: @andylevy: So #TCU advances to the finals now?