Sunday, December 20, 2009

Crappy bowl games aren't always crappy

There are way too many bowl games. This is not debatable -- schools like Marshall and Wyoming that finish 6-6 in mediocre conferences should not be playing in the postseason.

But sometimes, you luck into an unbelievable game that makes you glad for that little bit of extra college football. Fresno State and Wyoming played a fantastic game Saturday night in New Mexico to open the season's bowl schedule: Wyoming rallied from 11 points down to tie the score with a field goal in the final minute of regulation, stuffed Fresno State (and Ryan Mathews, the nation's leading rusher) four times from the 1-yard line in overtime and then watched their kicker shank the potential game-winning field goal. But freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels made a fantastic play in double overtime -- escaping the pocket and threading the needle to David Leonard on third down for a 13-yard touchdown that proved to be the game-winner -- and Wyoming held on for a stunning win to conclude Dave Christensen's first year as head coach. Not a bad game, right?

It paled in comparison, though, to a seemingly crappy bowl game that I still consider one of the best college football games I've ever seen: the 2001 GMAC Bowl between East Carolina and Marshall.

I originally planned to write a little bit about some of the mind-boggling stats and give somewhat of a play-by-play to explain how ridiculous the game was as a whole, but I just can't do it justice (here's a link if you want more info). All I'll say is that East Carolina led 38-8 at halftime, at which point Marshall began an incredible comeback that led to one of the most entertaining finishes ever.

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