The college bowl season is just about over, with the National Championship between Michigan and Washington just under a week away. However, around these parts, many only care for the three local schools, Kansas, Missouri, and Kansas State, and that is who our subject matter is today. You want stories on more college football teams (and these schools too) go check out CollegeFootballDawgs.com. Definitely not a shameless plug, what are you talking about? (You should definitely check it out though, along with other articles on this website...)
I digress, all three programs won their respective bowl games pretty handily, however, the Burning Question this week is which program had the more dominant, impressive win? Let's quickly summarize each game and I'll give you a rundown as to who I believe won it best this bowl season.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Kansas 49- UNLV 36
Kansas had two opponents this game: The UNLV Rebels and the referees. Nonetheless, the Jayhawks still dominated the first half, going up 28-10 after a Jason Bean, Luke Grimm, Lawrence Arnold, and Quinten Skinner air show. The Jayhawks never really felt out of control of this game, even after 3 interceptions and UNLV getting within 4. The referees blew a whistle for what seemed like every play, and the Jayhawks had a bowl record 210 penalty yards from basically the referees trying to make it a game. The Jayhawks were far more dominant in this one than the score makes it seem but could have cleaned up a few things to make this even more of a wash than it already was. Jason Bean passed for 449 yards and 6 touchdowns to make up for his 3 interceptions, having the most passing yardage out of any quarterback this bowl season. He also moved into 2nd place all-time in passing yardage and touchdowns for the Jayhawks, which could solidify his place in the KU Ring of Honor. The Jayhawks won their first bowl in 15 years and are poised to make a run at many more in the near future. The Leipold era is just getting started.
Pop-Tarts Bowl: Kansas State 28- NC State 19
In what was perhaps the most meme-able bowl game ever, not due to the play on the field but the edible 7-foot-tall Pop Tart, Avery Johnson-led Kansas State showed that they have a bright future ahead of them by playing very well against one of the nation's best defenses. In what was a back-and-forth contest all the way up until the end, Kansas State showed a dynamic, balanced offensive attack that leaned into their fantastic offensive line and great running capabilities. DJ Giddens had 28 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown, while Avery Johnson had 7 carries for 71 yards and a score himself. Johnson also passed for 14/31 and 178 with 2 scores for a rating of 94.8. This culminated in a win that allowed the Wildcats to feast on a giant Pop Tart, which may win them this most dominant title as well...
Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Missouri 14-Ohio State 3
In what was the most boring, but not necessarily the least dominant, performance of the three games (and perhaps the bowl season entirely) Missouri outlasted Ohio State in a defensive war of attrition. Both offenses couldn't get anything going, while both defenses were as strong as brick walls. One had to break eventually though, and that was the defense of the Buckeyes. Brady Cook passed for 11/18 and 128 yards with 1 touchdown, while also scrambling for 66 yards to boot. Cody Schrader ran for 128 yards a 1 score as well. The ground game is what won this for the Tigers, while many know this Tiger squad as a pass-first team with their elite group of receivers, they had to find a way around the 1st in the nation-ranked secondary of Ohio State. They did just that by utilizing Cody Schrader and Brady Cook's legs. Overall, a bend but don't break, tough-it-out type of performance.
All three teams had solid wins and made their fanbases very proud, however, if I had to choose who had the most impressive and dominant win, I would say it would have to be Kansas State. Shocker, I know, but let's look at some key factors. Kansas's performance was fantastic but riddled with discipline errors. While most of those flags I tend to disagree with, at least at first glance because the just fantastic production value of ESPN couldn't replay anything and the commentators had zero clue what they were talking about, Kansas did look undisciplined and shot themselves in the foot a lot. While they weren't in any danger, they could have won this game by a lot more had they stayed mistake-free. Top that with going up against a Mountain West school that was picked to finish dead last in the conference at the beginning of the year, and it really isn't as impressive as K-State's win. It's good to beat a team that's hot like UNLV, but they weren't anything super special.
A close second though, as I thought Missouri's was the least dominant of the three. Ohio State had a decent portion of their team opt out of the bowl game/get injured beforehand, a third-string quarterback for most of the game, and their best offensive playmakers nowhere to be found, either because they weren't playing or because Treveyon Henderson couldn't find a hole in the defense to save his life. Missouri should have WAXED this Ohio State team, instead, they allowed them to keep with them and played Ohio State's game with them. Lucky for them it worked out, but this should have been Eli Drinkwitz's big statement. Instead, it feels watered down, but the season itself is still a major testament to what's to come at Mizzou.
This leaves Kansas State's win. K-State imposed their will on a defense that is one of the best in the nation this year. NC State lost one defensive starter to bowl opt-out, other than that, they were the same old team that went on a hot streak to finish the season 9-3 and ranked 18th after being picked to finish in the lower echelon of the ACC. Kansas State exposed how weak the ACC is this year though, and went blow for blow with this really hot, really underrated NC State squad. Eventually, through the work done on the ground, K-State began to pull away, and you could guarantee K-State's victory with a decent handful of minutes in the 4th. Plus, they savagely ate that Pop Tart, have you seen the damage they did to that poor fella? You could tell those boys are CORNFED.
However, what do you think? Think Kansas or Missouri had the more dominant win? Why or why not? Answer for a chance to be featured in the upcoming ScorchCast!