7.31.2009

B.o.C. - WOODY REGION - Round 1

A preview for this region can be found HERE

RESULTS - Part II
(seed) year school - score

(91) 1993 Nebraska - 18
(27) 1988 Miami - 27
The Miami offensive line did a good job of protecting quarterback Steve Walsh from Trev Alberts and the Nebraska pass rush, and the Hurricane skill players were too much for the Huskers, much the way they were in the Orange Bowl after the 1988 season.

Offensively for the Huskers, Tommie Frazier was the only one who provided any spark. I-Back Calvin Jones was held to just 41 rushing yards, and the production freshman Lawrence Phillips provided off the bench was too little too late. Russell Maryland, Greg Mark and Bill Hawkins fared well in the trenches. Even though Frazier was able to pile up yards, the Hurricanes eliminated the threat of the other 10 players on the field.

(75) 1989 Miami - 20
(11) 1995 Nebraska - 31


Another Miami/Nebraska matchup produced similar results - except this time it was Nebraska coming out on top. Nebraska won the battle in the trenches this time around because they were better conditioned than Miami. Against a young linebacking corps the Huskers were able to pound the running game more effectively, piling up 301 yards on the ground.

Christian Peter and Jared Tomich played big roles on the defensive side of the ball for Nebraska. Tomich had two sacks and Peter had countless pressures that kept Craig Erickson on the run. This is an excellent Miami team - a national championship team, actually - and for 1995 Nebraska to dismiss them by double digits should send a message to the rest of the field that the #11 seed is a team to watch out for.

(46) 1996 Florida State - 27
(147) 2002 Oklahoma - 20
Two more great defenses took the field, but the Sooners showed a weakness against the play action pass over the top of the secondary and Thad Busby exploited it.

Oklahoma led with the running game. Mighty mite tailback Quentin Griffin hid behind his mammoth offensive line and darted through holes when they opened up. Griffin's success, particularly on draw plays, helped slow the Florida State pass rush of All American bookends Reinard Wilson and Peter Boulware. Griffin went into the locker room at halftime with an impressive 92 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, giving the sooners a tight 14-13 lead.

But the Seminole defense tightened the screws in the second half and suddenly Griffin wasn't a factor anymore. Quarterback Nate Hybl began to show a little panic and it culminated in a bad throw that was picked off by nickel back Mario Edwards and returned to the 2 yard line. Rock Preston plugged it into the end zone and suddenly the underdog Sooners found themselves trailing.

In the fourth quarter after OU had scratched and clawed their way back into the game with two field goals to tie it at 20, Busby finally struck. His play fake to Warrick Dunn made Sooner safety Brandon Everage bite hard, which left E.G. Green all alone over the top for what would end up being the game winning 55-yard touchdown pass.

(62) 1999 Nebraska - 19
(3) 1978 USC - 22 (OT)
Neither team had a lot of success moving the football, but neither team gave up on their running game. Southern Cal tailback Charles White ran for 99 yards, including the game winning touchdown in overtime to propel the Trojans past the '99 Huskers in a game that saw just 432 yards of total offense.


The USC defense made it their priority to take away the running game of quarterback Eric Crouch. The creative three-tiered approach, using defensive tackle Ty Sperling, linebacker Dennis Johnson, and safety Ronnie Lott worked as they hit Crouch at every opportunity and forced him to pitch on option plays. Crouch ended up with just 39 yards rushing, and Nebraska as a team only had 123 yards on the ground.

Bracket of Champions - Woody Region
Next Round Matchups:
(6) 1982 Penn State vs (27) 1988 Miami
(11) 1995 Nebraska vs (22) 2004 Auburn
(14) 2000 Oklahoma vs (46) 1996 Florida State
(3) 1978 USC vs (35) 1987 Florida State

7.30.2009

B.o.C. - BEAR REGION - Round 1

A preview for this region can be found HERE

RESULTS - Part II
(seed) year school - score

(96) 1986 Oklahoma - 20
(32) 1993 Florida State - 23
A common theme throughout the first round of the Bracket of Champions has been defense. This game was no exception. Despite two great quarterbacks, each offense had a hard time gaining yards against these talented, athletic defenses.

Florida State linebackers Derrick Brooks, Todd Rebol, and Sam Cowart were keying on quarterback Jamelle Holieway, forcing the talented runner to pitch the ball when running the option. The wishbone didn't have much success early with the Sooners going 3-and-out on their first three possessions. But Spencer Tillman finally took an option pitch and broke free for 24 yards, and on the next play Holieway hit tight end Keith Jackson on a play action pass for 55 yards and a touchdown.

But Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward proved to be too dynamic. With the Seminole defense holding OU to 20 points, the two touchdowns and three field goal drives Ward led would be enough. The running game never got going - Brian Bosworth and company held FSU to 32 rushing yards - but receivers Matt Frier (6 receptions), Kez McKorvey (1 touchdown catch), and Kevin Knox (1 touchdown catch) gave reliable options.

(177) 1987 Oklahoma - 21
(113) 2003 LSU - 16
The LSU defense was great, but quarterback Matt Mauck turned the ball over one too many times as Nick Saban's Tigers fell to Switzer's Sooners.


Oklahoma's wishbone attack grinded out 189 rushing yards against an LSU defense that featured an imposing defensive line of Marcus Spears, Chad Lavalais, Kyle Williams, and Marquise Hill. But two big pass plays are what eventually put OU on top for good. Carl Cabbiness caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Jamelle Holieway to start the second quarter, and tight end Keith Jackson caught a 62-yard pass in the fourth quarter to set up the game winning score.

The Oklahoma defense kept the pressure on Mauck all game long. Defensive end Darrell Reed had two sacks, and Darren Kilpatrick and Dante Williams were effective collapsing the pocket from the inside.

(41) 1977 Notre Dame - 24
(24) 1996 Florida - 35
Dan Devine and the 1977 Fighting Irish had never seen a passing attack executed like Steve Spurrier's Fun 'N Gun. Danny Wuerffel spread 332 passing yards and 4 touchdowns over his excellent receiving corps of Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green. Notre Dame cornerback Luther Bradley - an All American in 1977 - was left searching for answers after getting beat on two of the four touchdowns.

"I've never seen anything like it. Every single one of those receivers was the fastest guy I've ever seen. They were everywhere," Bradley said after the game

Wuerffel was pleased with the win, but he was more excited that he got to meet Joe Montana, quarterback of the 1977 Notre Dame team.

(57) 1997 Florida - 17
(121) 2008 USC - 24
What a difference a couple generations can make. Whereas the '77 Fighting Irish struggled mightily with Florida's passing game, the '08 Trojan defense came out attacking and actually controlled the game from the outset.

With 31 years of additional experience and athleticism, USC was able to attack Florida quarterbacks Doug Johnson and Jesse Palmer. The pressure made for a lot of incomplete passes (Gator QBs were just 22-of-48) and three interceptions. Clay Matthews was a prime source of the pressure.

The lone bright spot for the '97 Gators was their defense. Fred Weary and the secondary held Mark Sanchez to just 14-for-27 passing and 164 yards. Joe McKnight was a difference maker for the Trojans, though, with a touchdown rushing and a punt return for touchdown in the third quarter that turned the tide for good.


Bracket of Champions - Bear Region
Next Round Matchups:
(64) 1994 Florida State vs (32) 1993 Florida State
(48) 1996 Ohio State vs (177) 1987 Oklahoma
(73) 1998 Ohio State vs (24) 1996 Florida
(40) 1981 Penn State vs (121) 2008 USC

B.o.C. - WOODY REGION - Round 1

A preview for this region can be found HERE

RESULTS - Part I
(seed) year school - score

(6) 1982 Penn State - 26
(59) 1988 Florida State - 24
In case you forgot, 1998 Florida State has already won the title for the best team rap in the tournament.


But the Seminoles drew a tough matchup here against Joe Paterno's national champion '82 Nittany Lions. Todd Blackledge out-shined Chip Ferguson in the quarterback duel, throwing for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns against Deion Sanders and LeRoy Butler in the FSU secondary. WR Kenny Jackson caught one of those TD passes and piled up 88 yards receiving. Tailback Curt Warner caught the other scoring pass.

Florida State tailbacks Sammie Smith and Dexter Carter couldn't pick up the slack on offense. With an inconsistent passing game throughout much of the day, these two needed to step up. But against linebacker Al Harris they didn't have much luck.

(22) 2004 Auburn - 23
(86) 1989 Colorado - 20
The Auburn defense contained Colorado's potent running attack en route to a relatively easy win. In the Bracket of Champions, there is no such thing as an easy matchup, so nursing a 23-13 lead throughout most of the fourth quarter can be considered relatively easy.

Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was disruptive in the middle, while defensive end Stanley McClover and linebacker Travis Williams stayed disciplined against the option. Safety Junior Rosegreen was active as well coming up to help out in run support.


The running back matchup was intriguing as well. Colorado had J.J. Flannican and Eric Bieniemy, and Auburn countered with Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. Auburn won that battle by a nose, 145 rushing yards to 133.

(14) 2000 Oklahoma - 17
(78) 1986 Miami - 16
When Jimmy Johnson and Miami takes on Bob Stoops and Oklahoma you know there is going to be some top notch defensive talent on the field.

All American quarterback Josh Heupel had to look over a defense featuring DT Jerome Brown, S Bennie Blades, DE Daniel Stubbs, and LB Winston Moss. Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde had an equally daunting view from under center: LBs Rocky Calmus and Torrance Marshall, S J.T. Thatcher, DT Kory Klein, and S Roy Williams. No wonder neither team reached 20 points.

Neither running game produced any significant yardage, so it came down to which quarterback could navigate the land mines the best. Testaverde looked good early, throwing a touchdown pass to Michael Irvin on Miami's second drive after a turnover put the 'Canes in good field position. But Heupel had a few more receivers to choose from. Tight end Trent Smith caught 8 clutch passes for 66 yards, and Curtis Fagan caught the game winning touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.

(30) 1994 Nebraska - 20
(35) 1987 Florida State - 27
With Tommie Frazier still sidelined nursing a blood clot, the '94 Cornhuskers couldn't be considered to be at full strength. But against this Seminole team I'm not sure it would have mattered.

Quarterback Danny McManus got hot early throwing touchdown passes on each of the first two Seminole drives. From there it was simply a matter of containing Lawrence Phillips and Brook Berringer. Berringer had filled in admirably for Frazier in this tournament, throwing for 756 yards and 7 touchdowns in four games. But he met his match in the '87 FSU secondary.


Deion Sanders intercepted a pass early in the third quarter and returned it for a touchdown, delivering the deciding blow that finally knocked the '94 champs out.

B.o.C. - BEAR REGION - Round 1

A preview for this region can be found HERE

RESULTS - Part I
(seed) year school - score

(1) 1983 Auburn - 18
(64) 1994 Florida State - 23
The number one overall seed in the tournament fell to a potent Florida State team. The Florida State front seven, highlighted by All American linebacker Derrick Brooks and defensive linemen Andre Wadsworth & Derrick Alexander, held Bo Jackson to 72 yards on 24 carries. Pat Dye was forced to turn to his passing game and quarterback Randy Campbell did not respond well.

For Florida State, fullback Zack Crockett scored two touchdowns and Sean Hamlet nearly returned an interception for a touchdown.

(17) 1992 Alabama - 17
(48) 1996 Ohio State - 21
The Alabama defense dominated Joe Germaine and the Ohio State offense for a while, but Stanley Jackson came to the rescue and bailed the Buckeyes out in the fourth quarter.

Through three quarters the Ohio State offense had only managed 166 yards of offense and the Buckeyes trailed 17-7. Tailback Pepe Pearson finished with just 34 yards rushing.

But in the fourth quarter, Jackson, playing in place of Germaine (2 interceptions to George Teague) at quarterback, used his athleticism to avoid the hellacious Crimson Tide pass rush. He only rushed for 13 yards, but his evasiveness in the pocket allowed him to hook up with freshman wideout David Boston for two fourth quarter touchdowns. Free safety Rod Kelly picked off a Jay Barker pass in the closing seconds to secure the upset.

Even though they lost here in the Round of 64, Alabama fans will always have fond memories of the gutsy National Championship team of 1992.


(9) 1986 Penn State - 20
(73) 1998 Ohio State - 21
John Cooper picked up another big upset victory over a national championship team here in the Bracket of Champions. Linebackers Andy Katzenmoyer and Na'il Diggs combined for 23 tackles and played a pivotal role in holding D.J. Dozier, Blair Thomas, and the rest of the Penn State running game to just 77 rushing yards.

Offensively, the Buckeyes struggled against Shane Conlan and the fantastic Penn state defense. The difference in the game, though, was that Ohio State had enough athleticism on offense in players like tailback Michael Wiley and now-Junior receiver David Boston.


(25) 1977 Penn State - 23
(40) 1981 Penn State - 29 (OT)
It took overtime to decide this battle of the Penn States featuring Chuck Fusina at QB for the '77 Nittany Lions and Todd Blackledge at QB for the '81 edition.

The defenses, as has been the case so far here in the Bear Region, controlled the game throughout the first half. Bruce Clark and Matt Millen stayed busy harassing Blackledge, while the '81 team boasted Walker Lee Ashley and Leo Wisniewski along their defensive front.

Running back Curt Warner ended up being the difference in the game. The Junior ran for 54 of his 77 yards in the second half, and tacked on the game winning touchdown in the first overtime period.

7.29.2009

BRACKET OF CHAMPIONS - Preview

The Final 64 includes 28 different head coaches. Some quick math shows that's over two teams per coach, meaning the great coaches were able to guide several of their teams to the Bracket of Champions. The following list includes all the head coaches that still have at least one team still alive. As expected, it's a veritable who's who of head coaches over the last 3+ decades.

BOBBY BOWDEN
9 Florida State teams still alive
(1980, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993*, 1994, 1996, 1999*, 2000)

TOM OSBORNE
9 Nebraska teams still alive
(1980, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1993, 1994*, 1995*, 1996, 1997*)

JOE PATERNO
5 Penn State teams still alive
(1977, 1981, 1982*, 1986*, 1994)

PETE CARROLL
4 USC teams still alive
(2002, 2004*, 2005, 2008)

DENNIS ERICKSON
3 Miami teams still alive
(1989*, 1990, 1991*)

JIMMY JOHNSON
3 Miami teams still alive
(1986, 1987*, 1988)

STEVE SPURRIER
3 Florida teams still alive
(1996*, 1997, 2001)

BOB STOOPS
3 Oklahoma teams still alive
(2000*, 2002, 2003)

BARRY SWITZER
3 Oklahoma teams still alive
(1985*, 1986, 1987)

MACK BROWN
2 Texas teams still alive (2005*, 2008)

FRANK BEAMER
2 Virginia Tech teams still alive (1999, 2000)

JOHN COOPER
2 Ohio State teams still alive (1996, 1998)

LLOYD CARR
1 Michigan team still alive (1997*)

LARRY COKER
1 Miami team still alive (2001*)

DAN DEVINE
1 Notre Dame team still alive (1977*)

DON JAMES
1 Washington team still alive (1991*)

URBAN MEYER
1 Florida team still alive (2008*)

JOHN ROBINSON
1 USC team still alive (1978*)

NICK SABAN
1 LSU team still alive (2003*)

GENE STALLINGS
1 Alabama team still alive (1992*)

PAT DYE
1 Auburn team still alive (1983)

LOU HOLTZ
1 Notre Dame team still alive (1989)

BILL McCARTNEY
1 Colorado team still alive (1989)

BO SCHEMBECHLER
1 Michigan team still alive (1985)

JACKIE SHERRILL
1 Pittsburgh team still alive (1980)

FRANK SOLICH
1 Nebraska team still alive (1999)

JIM TRESSEL
1 Ohio State team still alive (2006)

TOMMY TUBERVILLE
1 Auburn team still alive (2004)

*Years in bold indicate National Championship teams

BRACKET OF CHAMPIONS - Preview

The "Bracket of Champions" boasts a whopping 23 teams that won or shared a national championship. That means not all the national champs made it through the many land mines placed in front of them in The Greatest Tournament of All Time. The following are the 14 teams that won or shared titles who weren't lucky enough to make it to the Final 64.

1978 Alabama (11-1)
Head Coach: Bear Bryant
Who Beat Them: 1990 Miami

1979 Alabama (12-0)
Head Coach: Bear Bryant
Who Beat Them: 2003 Oklahoma

1980 Georgia (12-0)
Head Coach: Vince Dooley
Who Beat Them: 1991 Michigan

1981 Clemson (12-0)
Head Coach: Danny Ford
Who Beat Them: 2003 Oklahoma

1983 Miami (11-1)
Head Coach: Howard Schnellenberger
Who Beat Them: 1992 Florida State

1984 BYU (13-0)
Head Coach: LaVell Edwards
Who Beat Them: 2004 USC

1988 Notre Dame (12-0)
Head Coach: Lou Holtz
Who Beat Them: 2001 Florida

1990 Colorado (11-1-1)
Head Coach: Bill McCartney
Who Beat Them: 1989 Colorado

1990 Georgia Tech (11-0-1)
Head Coach: Bobby Ross
Who Beat Them: 1982 Nebraska

1998 Tennessee (13-0)
Head Coach: Phil Fulmer
Who Beat Them: 2003 LSU

2002 Ohio State (14-0)
Head Coach: Jim Tressel
Who Beat Them: 2008 USC

2003 USC (12-1)
Head Coach: Pete Carroll
Who Beat Them: 1994 Nebraska

2006 Florida (13-1)
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Who Beat Them: 2002 Oklahoma

2007 LSU (12-2)
Head Coach: Les Miles
Who Beat Them: 2001 Nebraska

BRACKET OF CHAMPIONS - Preview

Eighteen different schools were able to stay alive and put at least one team into the Final 64. The following ranks those 18 schools in order of the most number of teams placed in the Bracket of Champions.

1. Nebraska           10
2. Florida State 9
3. Miami 7
4. Oklahoma 6
5. Penn State 5
USC 5
7. Florida 4
8. Ohio State 3
9. Michigan 2
Notre Dame 2
Texas 2
Virginia Tech 2
Auburn 2
14.Alabama 1
LSU 1
Washington 1
Colorado 1
Pittsburgh 1

7.28.2009

BRACKET OF CHAMPIONS - Preview

JOEPA REGION

Matchups:
1999 Florida State vs 1980 Nebraska
1980 Pittsburgh vs 1996 Nebraska
1991 Washington vs 2000 Virginia Tech
1989 Notre Dame vs 2005 USC
2002 USC vs 2001 Florida
1982 Nebraska vs 1990 Miami
2008 Florida vs 2006 Ohio State
2001 Miami vs 1980 Florida State

National Champions:
1991 Washington
1999 Florida State
2001 Miami
2008 Florida

Heisman Trophy Winners:
Carson Palmer (QB-2002 USC)
Reggie Bush (RB-2005 USC)
Troy Smith (QB-2006 Ohio State)

Lombardi Award Winners:
Hugh Green (DE-1980 Pittsburgh)
Dave Rimington (OL-1982 Nebraska)
Steve Emtman (DL-1991 Washington)

Team Info
click on the purple bracket links to trace each team's path to this point

2001 Miami (12-0)
#4 Seed - Winner of Bracket #4
Coach: Larry Coker
*BCS National Champions*

1999 Florida State (12-0)
#5 Seed - Winner of Bracket #5
Coach: Bobby Bowden
*BCS National Champions*

1989 Notre Dame (12-1)
#12 Seed - Winner of Bracket #12
Coach: Lou Holtz
Final AP Rank: #2

1991 Washingon (12-0)
#21 Seed - Winner of Bracket #21
Coach: Don James
*Coaches Poll National Champions*

2008 Florida (13-1)
#36 Seed - Winner of Bracket #36
Coach: Urban Meyer
*BCS National Champions*

1980 Pittsburgh (11-1)
#37 Seed - Winner of Bracket #37
Coach: Jackie Sherrill
Final AP Rank: #2

2000 Virginia Tech (11-1)
#44 Seed - Winner of Bracket #44
Coach: Frank Beamer
Final AP Rank: #6

2002 USC (11-2)
#52 Seed - Winner of Bracket #52
Coach: Pete Carroll
Final AP Rank: #4

2005 USC (12-1)
#53 Seed - Winner of Bracket #53
Coach: Pete Carroll
Final AP Rank: #2

1980 Florida State (10-2)
#68 Seed - Winner of Bracket #61
Coach: Bobby Bowden
Final AP Rank: #5

1982 Nebraska (12-1)
#84 Seed - Winner of Bracket #45
Coach: Tom Osborne
Final AP Rank: #3

2006 Ohio State (12-1)
#100 Seed - Winner of Bracket #29
Coach: Jim Tressel
Final AP Rank: #2

1990 Miami (10-2)
#109 Seed - Winner of Bracket #20
Coach: Dennis Erickson
Final AP Rank: #3

2001 Florida (10-2)
#141 Seed - Winner of Bracket #13
Coach: Steve Spurrier
Final AP Rank: #3

1996 Nebraska (11-2)
#156 Seed - Winner of Bracket #28
Coach: Tom Osborne
Final AP Rank: #6

1980 Nebraska (10-2)
#188 Seed - Winner of Bracket #60
Coach: Tom Osborne
Final AP Rank: #7

BRACKET OF CHAMPIONS - Preview

BO REGION

Matchups:
2005 Texas vs 1985 Oklahoma
2008 Texas vs 2000 Florida State
1994 Penn State vs 1987 Nebraska
1991 Miami vs 1999 Virginia Tech
2004 USC vs 1992 Florida State
1997 Michigan vs 1983 Nebraska
1997 Nebraska vs 2003 Oklahoma
1987 Miami vs 1985 Michigan

National Champions:
1985 Oklahoma
1987 Miami
1991 Miami
1997 Michigan
1997 Nebraska
2004 USC
2005 Texas

Heisman Trophy Winners:
Mike Rozier (RB-1983 Nebraska)
Charles Woodson (CB/PR-1997 Michigan)
Chris Weinke (QB-2000 Florida State)
Jason White (QB-2003 Oklahoma)
Matt Leinart (QB-2004 USC)

Lombardi Award Winners:
Dean Steinkuhler (OL-1983 Nebraska)
Tony Casillas (NG-1985 Oklahoma)
Marvin Jones (LB-1992 Florida State)
Grant Wistrom (DE-1997 Nebraska)
Corey Moore (DE-1999 Virginia Tech)
Jamal Reynolds (DE-2000 Florida State)
Tommie Harris (DT-2003 Oklahoma)
Brian Orakpo (DE-2008 Texas)

Team Info
click on the purple bracket links to trace each team's path to this point

2005 Texas (13-0)
#2 Seed - Winner of Bracket #2
Coach: Mack Brown
*BCS National Champions*

1987 Miami (12-0)
#7 Seed - Winner of Bracket #7
Coach: Jimmy Johnson
*AP National Champions*

2004 USC (13-0)
#10 Seed - Winner of Bracket #10
Coach: Pete Carroll
*BCS National Champions*

1991 Miami (12-0)
#15 Seed - Winner of Bracket #15
Coach: Dennis Erickson
*AP National Champions*

1994 Penn State (12-0)
#18 Seed - Winner of Bracket #18
Coach: Joe Paterno
Final AP Rank: #2

1997 Michigan (12-0)
#23 Seed - Winner of Bracket #23
Coach: Lloyd Carr
*AP National Champions*

1997 Nebraska (13-0)
#26 Seed - Winner of Bracket #26
Coach: Tom Osborne
*Coaches Poll National Champions*

2008 Texas (12-1)
#31 Seed - Winner of Bracket #31
Coach: Mack Brown
Final AP Rank: #4

1992 Florida State (11-1)
#55 Seed - Winner of Bracket #55
Coach: Bobby Bowden
Final AP Rank: #2

1985 Michigan (10-1-1)
#58 Seed - Winner of Bracket #58
Coach: Bo Schembechler
Final AP Rank: #2

1985 Oklahoma (11-1)
#63 Seed - Winner of Bracket #63
Coach: Barry Switzer
*AP National Champions*

1983 Nebraska (12-1)
#87 Seed - Winner of Bracket #42
Coach: Tom Osborne
Final AP Rank: #2

2000 Florida State (11-2)
#95 Seed - Winner of Bracket #34
Coach: Bobby Bowden
Final AP Rank: #5

2003 Oklahoma (12-2)
#167 Seed - Winner of Bracket #39
Coach: Bob Stoops
Final AP Rank: #3

1987 Nebraska (10-2)
#175 Seed - Winner of Bracket #47
Coach: Tom Osborne
Final AP Rank: #6

1999 Virginia Tech (11-1)
#178 Seed - Winner of Bracket #50
Coach: Frank Beamer
Final AP Rank: #2

BRACKET OF CHAMPIONS - Preview

WOODY REGION

Matchups:
1982 Penn State vs 1988 Florida State
1988 Miami vs 1993 Nebraska
2004 Auburn vs 1989 Colorado
1995 Nebraska vs 1989 Miami
2000 Oklahoma vs 1986 Miami
1996 Florida State vs 2002 Oklahoma
1994 Nebraska vs 1987 Florida State
1978 USC vs 1999 Nebraska

National Champions:
1978 USC
1982 Penn State
1989 Miami
1994 Nebraska
1995 Nebraska
2000 Oklahoma

Heisman Trophy Winners:
Vinny Testaverde (QB-1986 Miami)

Outland Trophy Winners:
Zach Wiegert (OL-1994 Nebraska)

Team Info
click on the purple bracket links to trace each team's path to this point

1978 USC (12-1)
#3 Seed - Winner of Bracket #3
Coach: John Robinson
*UPI National Champions*

1982 Penn State (11-1)
#6 Seed - Winner of Bracket #6
Coach: Joe Paterno
*AP National Champions*

1995 Nebraska (12-0)
#11 Seed - Winner of Bracket #11
Coach: Tom Osborne
*AP National Champions*

2000 Oklahoma (13-0)
#14 Seed - Winner of Bracket #14
Coach: Bob Stoops
*BCS National Champions*

2004 Auburn (13-0)
#22 Seed - Winner of Bracket #22
Coach: Tommy Tuberville
Final AP Rank: #2

1988 Miami (11-1)
#27 Seed - Winner of Bracket #27
Coach: Jimmy Johnson
Final AP Rank: #2

1987 Florida State (11-1)
#35 Seed - Winner of Bracket #35
Coach: Bobby Bowden
Final AP Rank: #2

1996 Florida State (11-1)
#46 Seed - Winner of Bracket #46
Coach: Bobby Bowden
Final AP Rank: #3

1988 Florida State (11-1)
#59 Seed - Winner of Bracket #59
Coach: Bobby Bowden
Final AP Rank: #3

1999 Nebraska (12-1)
#62 Seed - Winner of Bracket #62
Coach: Frank Solich
Final AP Rank: #3

1989 Miami (11-1)
#75 Seed - Winner of Bracket #54
Coach: Dennis Erickson
*AP National Champions*

1986 Miami (11-1)
#78 Seed - Winner of Bracket #51
Coach: Jimmy Johnson
Final AP Rank: #2

1989 Colorado (11-1)
#86 Seed - Winner of Bracket #43
Coach: Bill McCartney
Final AP Rank: #4

1993 Nebraska (11-1)
#91 Seed - Winner of Bracket #38
Coach: Tom Osborne
Final AP Rank: #3

2002 Oklahoma (12-2)
#147 Seed - Winner of Bracket #19
Coach: Bob Stoops
Final AP Rank: #5

7.27.2009

BRACKET OF CHAMPIONS - Preview

BEAR REGION

Matchups:
1983 Auburn vs 1994 Florida State
1993 Florida State vs 1986 Oklahoma
1992 Alabama vs 1996 Ohio State
2003 LSU vs 1987 Oklahoma
1986 Penn State vs 1998 Ohio State
1996 Florida vs 1977 Notre Dame
1977 Penn State vs 1981 Penn State
1997 Florida vs 2008 USC

National Champions:
1977 Notre Dame
1986 Penn State
1992 Alabama
1993 Florida State
1996 Florida
2003 LSU

Heisman Trophy Winners:
Charlie Ward (QB-1993 Florida State)
Danny Wuerffel (QB-1996 Florida)

Lombardi Award Winners:
Ross Browner (DE-1977 Notre Dame)
Orlando Pace (OT-1996 Ohio State)

Team Info:
1983 Auburn (11-1)
#1 Seed - Winner of Bracket #1 [click for results]
Coach: Pat Dye
Final AP Rank: #3

1986 Penn State (12-0)
#9 Seed - Winner of Bracket #9
Coach: Joe Paterno
*AP National Champions*

1992 Alabama (13-0)
#17 Seed - Winner of Bracket #17
Coach: Gene Stallings
*AP National Champions*

1996 Florida (12-1)
#24 Seed - Winner of Bracket #24
Coach: Steve Spurrier
*AP National Champions*

1977 Penn State (11-1)
#25 Seed - Winner of Bracket #25
Coach: Joe Paterno
Final AP Rank: #5

1993 Florida State (12-1)
#32 Seed - Winner of Bracket #32
Coach: Bobby Bowden
*AP National Champions*

1981 Penn State (10-2)
#40 Seed - Winner of Bracket #40
Coach: Joe Paterno
Final AP Rank: #3

1977 Notre Dame (11-1)
#41 Seed - Winner of Bracket #41
Coach: Dan Devine
*AP National Champions*

1996 Ohio State (11-1)
#48 Seed - Winner of Bracket #48
Coach: John Cooper
Final AP Rank: #2

1997 Florida (10-2)
#57 Seed - Winner of Bracket #57
Coach: Steve Spurrier
Final AP Rank: #4

1994 Florida State (10-1-1)
#64 Seed - Winner of Bracket #64
Coach: Bobby Bowden
Final AP Rank: #4

1998 Ohio State (11-1)
#73 Seed - Winner of Bracket #56
Coach: John Cooper
Final AP Rank: #2

1986 Oklahoma (11-1)
#96 Seed - Winner of Bracket #33
Coach: Barry Switzer
Final AP Rank: #3

2003 LSU (13-1)
#113 Seed - Winner of Bracket #16
Coach: Nick Saban
*BCS National Champions*

2008 USC (12-1)
#121 Seed - Winner of Bracket #8
Coach: Pete Carroll
Final AP Rank: #3

1987 Oklahoma (11-1)
#177 Seed - Winner of Bracket #49
Coach: Barry Switzer
Final AP Rank: #3

7.26.2009

BRACKET #3 FINALS

BRACKET #3
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(126) 1991 Alabama - 13
(131) 1985 Tennessee - 18
There were no fourth quarter fireworks for Siran Stacy and David Palmer against the Vols this time around.


I'm sure the loss didn't sit well with this Alabama fan.

"[Neyland Stadium] looks like a garbage truck worker convention" - classic..

(259) 1986 Alabama - 15
(3) 1978 USC - 19
Alabama had another team eliminated from the tournament in Bracket 3 when the 1986 edition, led by tailback Bobby Humphrey and linebacker Cornelius Bennett, fell to the '78 Trojans. Head coach Ray Perkins said after the game that he was proud of his team and that he hopes Mike Shula - the quarterback on the '86 team - gets another chance to be a head coach.

BRACKET FINAL

(131) 1985 Tennessee - 11
(3) 1978 USC - 14
A fantastic defensive showdown ended with John Robinson's Trojans topping Johnny Majors' Volunteers to secure a spot in the Bracket of Champions.

A Tennessee defense that only gave up 34 points over the final 7 games (an average of less than 5 points per game) held their own against a USC offense that featured two All American offensive linemen and and two future Heisman trophy winners in the backfield.

The SugarVols played remarkably well over the first three quarters. "Mr. Defense" Dale Jones out-quicked tackle Keith Van Horne and made a living in the USC backfield for much of the first half. He sacked Paul McDonald twice and was the key component in holding USC's vaunted rushing attack to 54 yards over the first 30 minutes of action.

Tennessee went into the locker room clinging to a 3-0 lead, but still searching for some offense of their own.

In the second half the Trojans finally got things going on the ground. To counter the speedy Tennessee defense, USC fullback took a couple of quick hitters for 11 and 13 yards on the on the opening drive of the second half. Mix in a couple short completions to Calvin Sweeney and suddenly things were starting to open up for the Trojan offense. Charles White capped the opening drive of the second half with a 6-yard touchdown run. The Trojans botched the extra point, though, so the score was now 6-3.

That score stood through the end of the third quarter as the defenses continued to control the tempo and the line of scrimmage.

Tennessee finally got things going with their first drive of the fourth quarter. Quarterback Tony Robinson got the passing game rolling and suddenly he was hitting receivers all over the field. Robinson was 4-for-5 on the drive for 72 yards, including a spectacular 42-yard touchdown pass to Tim McGee, who had to go up strong over safety Ronnie Lott in the end zone to make the catch.

The Volunteers seemed to botch the extra point as well, but holder and backup quarterback Daryl Dickey took a bad snap and scrambled into the end zone to put an unplanned two points on the board.

With an 11-6 lead and a defense that was seemingly in control of the ball game, Tennessee fans were starting to sense a potential upset to finally get a Vol team into the Bracket of Champions.

But Charles White wouldn't let the Trojans go quietly.

Coach Robinson put the game in the hands of his star tailback and White delivered. Carrying the ball on 10 of the 11 plays on the drive, White courageously drove his team down the field. Following the blocking of his All American offensive guard Pat Howell, White took hits and kept plowing forward until he capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. He piled up 66 yards on the drive, eclipsing his total from the first three and a half quarters combined.

Quarterback Paul McDonald converted the two-point conversion with a pass to Kevin Williams to give the Trojans a three point lead that they never relinquished.

By the way, is this what life was like in Tennessee back in 1985? You have got to be kidding me with that.

1978 USC (#3 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Trojans will face the winner of Bracket 62 in the first round.

BRACKET #11 FINALS

BRACKET #11
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(118) 1977 Alabama - 24
(139) 1993 Ohio State - 19
All American linemen Dan Wilkinson (DT) and Korey Stringer (OT) figured to hold the advantage in the trenches, but Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide had other ideas. Joey Galloway scored the Buckeyes lone touchdown and Raymont Harris was held to just 45 rushing yards.

(267) 1996 Penn State - 20
(11) 1995 Nebraska - 41
Penn State's offensive skill players (RB Curtis Enis, WR Joe Jurevicius, FB Aaron Harris, QB Wally Richardson) were largely ineffective against the fast and furious Blackshirts. The defense (DL Brandon Noble, CB Brian Miller) didn't fare too well either.

BRACKET FINAL

(118) 1977 Alabama - 21
(11) 1995 Nebraska - 35
Another round another blowout for the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Nebraska took a 23-7 lead into halftime on the strength of a potent running game and a stout defense. Lawrence Phillips had 75 yards rushing, and Ahman Green added 43 in the first half. Marty Lyons, Barry Krauss and the Alabama defense geared up to stop quarterback Tommie Frazier, and Frazier was more than happy to pitch to his talented I-Backs.


On the other side of the ball, Grant Wistrom and Terrell Farley led a pass rush that sacked Jeff Rutledge every time he tried to find receiver Ozzie Newsome in the first half. That's right, Rutledge dropped back to throw 4 times and was sacked 4 times.

1995 Nebraska (#11 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Cornhuskers will face the winner of Bracket 54 in the first round.

7.25.2009

BRACKET #54 FINALS

BRACKET #54
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(54) 2005 Penn State - 27
(310) 1990 Tennessee - 24
Dale Carter had a spectacular 90 yard kickoff return for touchdown, but the Vols fell a field goal shy of advancing to the Bracket 54 Final.

(182) 1996 BYU - 20
(75) 1989 Miami - 34
BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian was hassled all day by the Miami defense, and Omarr "The Electric Blanket" Morgan had a rough day against the Miami passing game. The Cougars were no match for a really good Miami team.

BRACKET FINAL

(54) 2005 Penn State - 20
(75) 1989 Miami - 26
The atmosphere was electric for this matchup of 11-1 teams. The entire town of Paternoville was in attendance to root on their senior-laden Nittany Lions against the potent '89 Hurricanes.


It was a defensive struggle in the early going with the Penn State defense matching the Miami defense stop for stop. In fact, defensive end Tamba Hali hammered Miami quarterback Craig Erickson so hard that he missed the majority of the rest of the first half.

The Hurricanes didn't miss a beat, though, with freshman Gino Torretta taking the reins. Torretta quickly led a field goal drive that put the 'Canes up 3-0.

Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson had some success through the air, but Miami defensive tackles Russell Maryland and Cortez Kennedy were disrupting the option game before it even had a chance to start. As a result tailbacks Tony Hunt and Austin Scott became non-factors.

Torretta added a touchdown pass to Wesley Carroll to close the second half, and Erickson threw a touchdown pass to Dale Dawkins late in the third quarter as the '89 Hurricanes marched relatively easily through the Nittany Lions.

1989 Miami (#75 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Hurricanes will face the winner of Bracket 11 in the first round.

BRACKET #62 FINALS

BRACKET #62
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(62) 1999 Nebraska - 26
(195) 1985 Iowa - 23
Iowa hit a wall against Nebraska, much the way they lost their undefeated season and #1 ranking against Ohio State in 1985. Chuck Long threw four interceptions, and the defense - highlighted by All American linebacker Larry Station - couldn't keep up with Eric Crouch.


(190) 1992 Texas A&M - 17
(67) 1985 Florida - 21
The Wrecking Crew (LB Marcus Buckley, DT Sam Adams, CB Aaron Glenn) played a fantastic ballgame, but Kerwin Bell and the Florida passing game had just enough juice to outscore a faltering Aggie offense.

BRACKET FINAL

(62) 1999 Nebraska - 23
(67) 1985 Florida - 19
Nebraska's secondary came up big against a good passing game for the second straight game to secure the '99 Huskers' spot in the Bracket of Champions.

Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell played his worst game of the tournament going up against a secondary that featured Ralph and Mike Brown, as well as Keyuo Craver. Bell completed just 13 of his 33 pass attempts, and was picked off twice.

Eric Johnson played a big role in the game for the Blackshirts as well. The speedy linebacker (a former safety) covered Neal Anderson and John L. Williams out of the backfield, eliminating the short passing game that was so crucial to the Florida offense.

Nebraska's offense didn't fare much better than Florida's, but the Huskers got a boost from all purpose threat Bobby Newcombe. Newcombe had two long punt returns that set up scores. He also caught a 45-yard pass and had a 32-yard run - both on third downs - to provide a jolt on offense.

1999 Nebraska (#62 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Cornhuskers will face the winner of Bracket 3 in the first round.

BRACKET #35 FINALS

BRACKET #35
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(94) 1980 Georgia - 21
(163) 1991 Michigan - 24
The national champion Georgia Bulldogs fell two games shy of the Bracket of Champions as Desmond Howard out-shined freshman sensation Herschel Walker.


(222) 1986 LSU - 15
(35) 1987 Florida State - 32
Florida State won in a blowout as LSU only managed 237 yards of offense. Quarterback Tommy Hodson threw two interceptions and RBs Harvey Williams and Sammy Martin only managed 66 total yards.

BRACKET FINAL

(163) 1991 Michigan - 22
(35) 1987 Florida State - 30
Why is this the greatest tournament of all time? Because of matchups like this. Where else are you going to get Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard going one-on-one with All American Deion Sanders?




Neither one disappointed their fans. Sanders intercepted a pass from Elvis Grbac and returned a punt 67-yards for a touchdown. Howard caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Grbac and also returned a punt 67-yards for a touchdown.

The difference in the game was on the defensive side of the ball. FSU could stop the other ten guys on the Michigan offense, but the Michigan defense didn't fare as well.

Danny McManus threw a touchdown pass to Ronnie Lewis, and tailback Sammy Smith ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns.

Michigan tried to counter by using their freshman tailback Tyrone Wheatley late in the game for a boost of athleticism (starter Ricky Powers only managed 28 rushing yards against the athletic 'Nole front). He ran hard, eclipsing Powers' rushing total in just one quarter, but a late fumble gave the game to FSU for good.

1987 Florida State (#35 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Seminoles will face the winner of Bracket 30 in the first round.

7.24.2009

BRACKET #30 FINALS

BRACKET #30
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(30) 1994 Nebraska - 25
(286) 1995 Kansas State - 22
Bill Snyder suffered yet another loss to Tom Osborne as Chris Canty and the Wildcats were eliminated.

(158) 2007 Georgia - 26
(99) 2003 USC - 31
A fantastic Bracket 30 semi-final matchup featured a ton of talent on both sidelines. Georgia played an excellent game, but USC was better. Knowshon Moreno ran for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day.


BRACKET FINAL

(30) 1994 Nebraska - 27
(99) 2003 USC - 24
The Nebraska defense played their guts out to contain a loaded USC offense, and Brook Berringer compiled another strong passing game as the Huskers marched their 9th team into the Bracket of Champions.

Cornerback Tyrone Williams drew the tough assignment of covering 6-foot-5 Trojan receiver Mike Williams. Tyrone did a marvelous job as Mike didn't collect a single reception in the first half. That fact played a huge role in Nebraska taking a 13-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

In the second half the offenses opened up a little bit as each team opened up their playbooks. I-Back Lawrence Phillips ran for 73 tough yards in the second half, but the story was quarterback Brook Berringer. After injuring his throwing shoulder in the first half and missing nearly three series, Berringer came back in the third quarter and tossed two touchdown passes. Abdul Muhammad was on the receiving end of the first scoring strike, and Reggie Baul caught the other.

USC quarterback Matt Leinart heated up in the second half too. Keary Colbert and tight end Dominique Byrd stepped up to the plate with Mike Williams being erased by Tyrone Williams. Freshman Reggie Bush also came up with a big touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter that pulled the Trojans within three.

But the Blackshirts held USC scoreless on consecutive possessions while Zach Wiegert, Brendan Stai, and the rest of the big offensive line - along with fullback Cory Schlesinger - grinded out the clock on the ground.


1994 Nebraska (#30 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Cornhuskers will face the winner of Bracket 35 in the first round.

BRACKET #19 FINALS

BRACKET #19
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(110) 1995 Northwestern - 19
(147) 2002 Oklahoma - 26
Gary Barnett authored one of the best stories in college football history when he guided the 1995 Northwestern Wildcats to Pasadena after decades of losing. But Northwestern's run in The Greatest Tournament of All Time came to an end against Bob Stoops and the Sooners. It will be a long time before college football fans forget about the Wildcats, though. Darnell Autry, the Steve Schnur to D'Wayne Bates combo, and All American linebacker (and current Northwestern head coach) Pat Fitzgerald will live on forever in Wildcat lore. There are 6 parts to the video below, so be sure to enjoy them all.


(238) 1992 Michigan - 20
(19) 2006 Florida - 24
Tyrone Wheatley and the Michigan offense struggled against the Florida defense as they exited quietly from the tournament.

BRACKET FINAL

(147) 2002 Oklahoma - 29
(19) 2006 Florida - 23 (OT)
The vaunted Oklahoma defense made a meal out of the Gators offense, but the Sooners needed overtime to pull off the upset and advance to the Bracket of Champions.

Florida started off the game just fine. Quarterback Chris Leak led a nice 8 play drive that ended in a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. Leak capped the next Florida drive with a nice touchdown pass in traffic to Andre Caldwell.


Linebackers Brandon Siler and Earl Everett swarmed Quentin Griffin and forced Oklahoma to punt again. With a 10-0 lead and all the momentum, coach Urban Meyer decided to switch quarterbacks and put in freshman sensation Tim Tebow.

Tommie Harris, Teddy Lehman and company jammed the line of scrimmage, expecting Tebow to run. Tebow fought for 5 yards on first down, and then tried a play action pass. Derrick Strait picked off the short throw intended for Dallas Baker and returned it for a touchdown, and suddenly it was a game.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter, where Florida held a 23-20 lead with just 5:35 left to play. Meyer made a similar move to go with the freshman Tebow instead of the senior Leak, and Tebow once again turned the ball over. Lance Mitchell recovered the fumble which set up the game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime.

The Gators had the ball first and Chris Leak once again took the field at quarterback. On first down Tommie Harris broke through the line and hit Leak as he threw, forcing the ball high into the air. It came down into the arms of defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson for an interception. Bob Stoops quickly capitalized on the momentum and Nate Hybl threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to tight end Trent Smith on the first play of the possession to give the Sooners a come from behind victory.

2002 Oklahoma (#147 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Sooners will face the winner of Bracket 46 in the first round.

BRACKET #46 FINALS

BRACKET #46
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(46) 1996 Florida State - 30
(211) 2007 West Virginia - 23
The Florida State defense held Steve Slaton to 35 yards rushing and a fumble as West Virginia exited the tournament for good.

(339) 1993 Tennessee - 28
(83) 2008 Utah - 26
Utah jumped out to a big lead against the worst remaining seed in the tournament. But Utah blew a 26-14 fourth quarter lead to suffer their first loss. At least there will always be memories of the 2009 Sugar Bowl.


BRACKET FINAL

(46) 1996 Florida State - 28
(339) 1993 Tennessee - 23
Phil Fulmer's '93 Volunteers finally tasted defeat at the hands of the '96 Seminoles.

The Tennessee passing game had been on point all tournament long with Heath Shuler and a talented receiving corps (Cory Fleming, Craig Faulkner, Billy Williams). But the defensive line for Florida State got to him early and often and rattled the senior leader. Defensive ends Peter Boulware and Reinard Wilson each registered 2 sacks and Shuler was looking over his shoulder the majority of the game.


Tennessee got the running game going early, with Charlie Garner and James Stewart each registering touchdown runs in the first half. But once the passing game was erased, linebackers Daryl Bush, Henri Crockett, and Sam Cowart were free to key on the tailbacks.

Offensively Florida State rode tailbacks Warrick Dunn and Dee Feaster to victory. The Seminoles ran for a whopping 231 yards in the game while the passing game struggled.

1996 Florida State (#46 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Seminoles will face the winner of Bracket 19 in the first round.

7.22.2009

BRACKET #51 FINALS

BRACKET #51
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(78) 1986 Miami - 27
(179) 2002 Texas - 20
The Longhorns passing game (QB Chris Simms, WRs Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson, Sloan Thomas) was stifled by Jimmy Johnson's Hurricane defense. Bennie Blades had a pick-six off Simms that ended up being the difference in the ball game.

(206) 1988 West Virginia - 28
(51) 1995 Florida - 35
Major Harris and the Mountaineers came up well short against the '95 Gators. The game wasn't as close as the score indicated, though, because WVU fell behind 14-0 early and were chasing Florida the rest of the way.


BRACKET FINAL

(78) 1986 Miami - 41
(51) 1995 Florida - 34 (2 OT)
It took overtime, but the '86 Hurricanes slowed Steve Spurrier's Fun 'N Gun offense down enough to pull out the win.

Miami defenders played fast and furious under the direction of a motivated coach Jimmy Johnson. The talk all week was about offense and how Spurrier was sure to guide another Gator team into the Bracket of Champions. Johnson took it all in and funneled it into an aggressive game plan that saw defensive tackle Jerome Brown taking up residence in the Florida backfield.


Brown led the defensive charge with three sacks.

Wuerffel hung in there, though, and came through in the fourth quarter with a game-tying touchdown drive in the closing minutes of regulation.

Wuerffel needed a little help from his defense too. Antoine Lott picked off a Vinny Testaverde pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown to get the Gators back in the game in the third quarter.

After trading touchdowns in the first overtime period, the Miami defense came up big again in the second overtime. Winston Moss sacked Danny Wuerffel and forced a fumble that was recovered by Jerome Brown. That meant all the 'Canes had to do was kick a field goal to win the game.

Jimmy Johnson chose to go for the jugular instead, and on first down Testaverde went play acation and hit Michael Irvin over the top of the defense for the 25 yard game winner.

After the game, clearly caught up in the excitement over beating an in-state rival and claiming a berth in the Bracket of Champions, Johnson exclaimed "We own the state of Florida! It's going to take more than a gimmick offense to beat us!"

1986 Miami (#78 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Hurricanes will face the winner of Bracket 14 in the first round.

7.21.2009

BRACKET #14 FINALS

BRACKET #14
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(14) 2000 Oklahoma - 28
(270) 2003 Florida State - 17
Quarterback Chris Rix was harassed into four turnovers which put the Seminole defense (DT Darnell Dockett, LB Kendyll Pope, CB Bryant McFadden) in some bad situations. Oklahoma capitalized and picked up the win.

(142) 2006 LSU - 25
(115) 1997 Auburn - 19
One of my personal favorite teams in the tournament, the 1997 Auburn Tigers were upended by talented LSU. I'll never forget the Dameyune Craig to Karsten Bailey combo, and Takeo Spikes and Jimmy Brumbaugh were solid on the other side of the ball as well.


BRACKET FINAL

(14) 2000 Oklahoma - 24
(142) 2006 LSU - 20
JaMarcus Russell and the LSU Tigers gave a valiant effort, but the Oklahoma defense was just too good.

OU linebackers Rocky Calmus and Torrance Marshall, along with a little help from safety Roy Williams - completely eliminated the LSU running game. Running backs Keiland Williams, Jacob Hester, Justin Vincent, and Alley Broussard combined for just 19 rushing yards. Without Les Miles' bread and butter, defensive ends Corey Callens and Corey Heinecke were able to pin their ears back and rush the quarterback.

Under the pressure, Russell was frequently forced to throw on the run. Receivers Dwayne Bowe, Early Doucet, and Craig Davis found open space in the Oklahoma secondary, but Russell was often off the mark. In fact, on three separate occasions Russell missed what would have been a sure touchdown pass to a wide open receiver because either he had to throw on the run or he simply did not have the time to go through his progressions.

Oklahoma's All American quarterback, on the other hand, stayed cool in the pocket and didn't try to force anything. He found Curtis Fagan on a 24-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter that gave the Sooners the lead for good.

2000 Oklahoma (#14 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Sooners will face the winner of Bracket 51 in the first round.

BRACKET #43 FINALS

BRACKET #43
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(86) 1989 Colorado - 29
(342) 1986 UCLA - 21
Gaston Green, Flipper Anderson, Ken Norton Jr, Carnell Lake, and the rest of the 1986 UCLA squad fell to an oft-forgotten Colorado team.

(299) 1988 Wyoming - 24
(43) 1990 Colorado - 27
Paul Roach's Cowboys nearly pulled a monumental upset over the 1990 co-champion Buffaloes. Quarterback Randy Welniak threw for 250 yards and ran for another 61. Bobby Dawson's 33-yard touchdown run gave Wyoming a 24-20 lead with just over two minutes remaining. But with time winding down, Colorado benefited from some VERY generous officiating, converting the game winning touchdown on 5th down.


BRACKET FINAL

(86) 1989 Colorado - 26
(43) 1990 Colorado - 22
Two very similar Colorado teams faced off in an unusual Bracket Final.

1990 Colorado quarterback Darian Hagan went out early with a sprained shoulder, leaving the game in the hands of backup Charles Johnson. Eric Bieniemy and Mike Pritchard tried to pick up the slack, but against a defense featuring linebackers Alfred Williams and Kanavis McGhee they were held in check.

1989 Darian Hagan on the other hand played a whale of a ball game. Running Bill McCartney's option to perfection, '89 Hagan finished with 138 rushing yards. J.J. Flannigan added 121 yards on the ground as the '89 Buffs avoided throwing on Deon Figures and the '90 Colorado secondary.

Noted in the win for 1989 Colorado was the performance of punter Tom Rouen. The senior was key in the field position battle, planting 4 of his 6 punts inside the 10 yard line and forcing the '90 Buffaloes to work extra hard for any points they accumulated.

1989 Colorado (#86 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Buffaloes will face the winner of Bracket 22 in the first round.

BRACKET #22 FINALS

BRACKET #22
Click HERE for first round results.
Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.

BRACKET SEMI-FINALS

(22) 2004 Auburn - 24
(278) 2006 Rutgers - 17
Two quick defenses took the field in this bracket semi-final matchup. Rutgers defensive linemen Jamal Westerman, Ramel Meekins, Eric Foster, and William Beckford collected 5 sacks between them. Ray Rice added 117 yards on 31 carries, but the Scarlet Knights couldn't come up with the win.

(150) 1980 BYU - 34
(107) 1993 Florida - 33
In a shootout, Steve Spurrier's Gators came up one point short against LaVell Edwards' Cougars. The two quarterbacks, Jim McMahon and freshman Danny Wuerffel combined to throw for 776 yards in the game.


BRACKET FINAL

(22) 2004 Auburn - 52
(150) 1980 BYU - 50 (4 OT)
If you like points, just follow BYU. LaVell Edwards, down to just two teams alive after starting with 24 teams in the tournament, pulled out all the stops offensively to try to put a team in the Bracket of Champions.

The 2004 Auburn secondary was tested repeatedly against Air Edwards. All American corner Carlos Rogers held up for the most part, but safeties Junior Rosegreen (more of a run stopping safety) and Will Herring didn't have good games on the back end of the defense.

BYU quarterback Jim McMahon started the scoring with a 37 yard bomb to TE Clay Brown over the top.

Auburn answered with a ground attack that featured tailbacks Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. The duo proceeded to hammer on Kyle Whittingham and the BYU defense until the Tigers had built a 27-13 lead late in the fourth quarter while amassing 243 rushing yards.

But McMahon, no stranger to comebacks, wasn't finished yet. McMahon led two straight touchdown drives in the final 6 minutes, culminating in a 41-yard touchdown pass to Clay Brown as time expired. The extra point tied the game and sent it into overtime.


With both defenses clearly wearing down, a parade of touchdowns lit up the scoreboard and sent each team's score near the half-century mark. BYU reached 50 points first in the fourth overtime. McMahon threw his 6th touchdown pass of the game - this one to fullback Eric Lane. The required two-point conversion pass fell harmlessly to the ground, though, giving Auburn hope.

After riding the legs of Williams and Brown the majority of the game, it was time for senior quarterback Jason Campbell to make a play. Facing fourth and 12 after two short runs and a sack, Campbell rolled right to avoid the rush and found Courtney Taylor for 13 yards and the first down.


A play later Campbell found tight end Anthony Mix in the end zone for the game-tying touchdown. With the adrenaline flowing, Campbell called his own number on the two-point conversion attempt, scrambling left and finding paydirt for the exhausting 52-50 win.

2004 Auburn (#22 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Tigers will face the winner of Bracket 43 in the first round.