Cirminiello's Biggest Bowl Disappointments
Posted Jan 8, 2013

Rich Cirminiello's big clunkers of the bowl season.

2012-2013 Bowl Season

Cirminiello's Top Clunkers

- 2012-2013 CFN Bowl Central

Richard Cirminiello's 2012-2013 Bowl Season ...
Top Offensive Performances | Top Defensive Performances
Best Bowl Coaches | Best Bowl Games
Biggest Bowl Surprises | Biggest Bowl Disappointments

By Richard Cirminiello 

15. The Ball State Offense
Okay, so UCF is stout on D, but 17 points in the Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl was a major downer for the Cardinals. The team began the game 22nd nationally in offense, and averaged 33 points against Clemson, Indiana and South Florida during the regular season. At the Trop, though, they labored to amass 288 yards, and were 3-of-9 on third downs.

14. QB Kolton Browning , Louisiana-Monroe
Browning was a microcosm for the entire Warhawks team, which failed to compete against Ohio in the Independence Bowl in front of a partisan crowd. It got bullied on D, dominated at the line of scrimmage and scored three touchdowns below its season average. Browning couldn't rescue his teammates, like he'd done during the regular season, finishing 21-of-39 for 219 yards, two scores and three picks.

13. QB Tyler Russell , Mississippi State
Prior to the Gator Bowl loss to Northwestern, Russell had thrown six interceptions all season. On New Year's Day, he was picked four times, and that number darn near rose a little higher in Jacksonville. The junior just didn't have it against the high-energy Wildcats D, finishing 12-of-28 for 106 yards, two touchdowns and those four costly turnovers.

12. QB Logan Thomas , Virginia Tech
A full season in, Thomas is still playing like a rookie. Sure, his line stunk and the Hokies play-calling against Rutgers was questionable, but No. 3 has to be able to rise above it all if he's going to become a next-level quarterback. As part of the problem in the Russell Athletic Bowl, one of the most dreadful games of this postseason, Thomas went 15-of-39 for 193 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

11. QB Mike Glennon , NC State
Glennon's final college audition for NFL scouts probably suppressed his draft grade. The senior was a part of the problem in the Music City Bowl for the Pack, throwing three interceptions to help give life to a necrotic Vanderbilt offense. Glennon is going to get his shot on Sundays, but he'll have to make better decisions than he did on New Year's Eve in order to enjoy a prosperous pro career.

10. Fresno State
Rookie head coach Tim DeRuyter still has a lot to learn. He and his Bulldogs, who were nearly two-touchdown favorites in the Hawaii Bowl, got schooled by .500 SMU. Fresno State played its worst game of the season, turning the ball over four times, while getting obliterated in the trenches. The Bulldogs couldn't generate positive yards on the ground, allowing QB Derek Carr to be sacked seven times.

9. The Nebraska D
The Huskers spent the month of December committed to erasing the memory of their defensive collapse to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. They were unsuccessful on New Year's Day. Nebraska got burned for 589 yards in a 45-31 Capital One Bowl loss to Georgia, suffering a handful of embarrassing breakdowns in pass coverage.

8. Northern Illinois
The Huskies got their chance in the national spotlight, but mustered just 10 points, or 30 points below their season scoring average. The attempt to quiet critics who suggested a one-loss MAC team didn't belong in a BCS bowl game fell way short of the goal, as Florida State dominated defensively. Jordan Lynch for the Heisman? Yeah, those kinds of awards are won against far better teams than the quarterback faced during the regular season.

Prior to the Holiday Bowl, the Bruins had never faced Baylor. It's a good thing. Despite being favored, UCLA was no match for the Bears, getting abused on offense and defense. It couldn't match the speed and diversity of the Baylor personnel or spring its best weapon, RB Johnathan Franklin, who rushed for a season-low 34 yards on 14 carries.

6. Oklahoma
Okay, so Texas A&M was a tall order in the Cotton Bowl, but a 41-13 loss in Arlington, Tex. was a troubling sign for Bob Stoops and the Sooners. They were competitive for a little over a half, before the Aggies pulled away with 20 unanswered points in the third quarter. While there's no shame in bowing to Johnny Manziel and the A&M offense, OU tanked with the ball, especially in the red zone.

5. West Virginia
The Mountaineers didn't want to finish the season in the Bronx at the Pinstripe Bowl. They played like it, too, against former Big East rival Syracuse. The conditions were poor, but they were slick for the Orange as well. West Virginia was unable to execute its vaunted offense, while the D allowed 369 rushing yards in an ugly, uninspired 38-14 loss.

4. QB Collin Klein , Kansas State
Throughout the Fiesta Bowl, it was easy to forget that Klein was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. He never got going in Glendale, suffocated by the Oregon defense. His passing was predictably erratic, including a pair of interceptions, and he could only manage a season-low 30 yards on the ground. The Cats scored just 17 points on the night, more than three touchdowns below their season average.

3. Lane Kiffin and USC
Kiffin and his Trojans put forth an effort in the Sun Bowl worthy of scorn and even dismissals. The entire program looked as if it had no idea how to conduct itself, both leading up to and during a postseason game. There were off-field missteps, though nothing compared to the dreadful performance in the Sun Bowl. USC produced 205 yards and 10 first downs in a listless 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech.

2. Notre Dame
Fans hoped for a classic in the BCS National Championship Game. What they got instead was a snoozer that was never competitive. The Irish played every bit like a heavy underdog in Miami, getting shoved around the field by Alabama in a deflating 42-14 loss. Notre Dame was manhandled at the point of attack, tackled poorly and generally looked like a shell of the team that ran the regular season table. Everyone outside of Tuscaloosa paid the price for ND's flop.

1. Florida
It was the Sugar Bowl, doggone it. The Gators went through the motions as if to be playing in the BBVA Compass Bowl, getting schooled by a Louisville opponent that wasn't expected to be competitive in this game. Florida couldn't stop Teddy Bridgewater when it mattered, and reverted back to many of its poor habits on offense. This was the team that almost lost to UL-Lafayette on Nov. 10; except this time, there was no blocked punt to bail it out.

Richard Cirminiello's 2012-2013 Bowl Season ...
Top Offensive Performances | Top Defensive Performances
Best Bowl Coaches | Best Bowl Games
Biggest Bowl Surprises | Biggest Bowl Disappointments