15 things we learned from bowl season

Photo of 15 things we learned from bowl season

With only the College Football Playoff title game left to play, bowl season is officially over for another year.

Though the majority of the games may be glorified exhibitions, this bowl season still revealed or reinforced a number of truths about the college football world. Here are 15 of them.

The Pac-12 was a train wreck this season

While it's usually silly to use bowl games to grade a conference's performance, the Pac-12 has some explaining to do after a horrific 1-8 record in bowl season. Not only did the schools in the conference lose eight times, they allowed 35-plus points in seven of those eight losses. Hopefully Chip Kelly can help restore the Pac-12 to national relevance at UCLA.

UCF is legit

UCF capped its perfect season with an incredible win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. That gave the Knights a 13-0 season - and beating Auburn means UCF defeated the only team that beat both Alabama and Georgia this season. That's good enough for athletic director Danny White to declare his school the national champ.

The Big Ten looked really good

Outside of Michigan blowing a 19-3 lead with 18 minutes to play against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, the Big Ten finished with a sparkling 7-1 record in bowl play. Call them the anti-Pac-12, if you will. The wins that Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin registered against top-11 opponents will get the headlines, but Michigan State's 42-17 hammering of Washington State also deserves recognition.

No, Ohio State shouldn't have made the playoff

Ohio State didn't deserve to make the playoff before bowl season, and nothing changed because of a win over USC in the Cotton Bowl. The Buckeyes' defense was incredible against the Trojans, but the offense struggled to move the ball against the nation's 60th-ranked defense. That would have made for very tough sledding against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl had Ohio State grabbed the No. 4 spot in the CFP.

Do not make plans during the Rose Bowl

For the second straight season, the Rose Bowl arguably provided the best bowl game. Last year, USC outscored Penn State 17-0 in the fourth quarter to win on a last-second field goal. The 2018 version was even better. With a berth in the CFP title game on the line, Georgia rallied for a double-overtime win against Oklahoma in the highest-scoring Rose Bowl in history.

Da'Ron Payne has 'gold hands'

Da'Ron Payne may be the most agile 6-foot-2, 319-pound man on the planet. Not only did the Alabama standout show off some incredible athleticism with this interception in the Sugar Bowl ...

... he followed it up with a remarkable touchdown grab on the ensuing drive.

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