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Bowl Season Matters

Oregon-North Carolina


Florida State-Oklahoma

Those are just a trio of games that were instant classics throughout the first part of bowl season. Extra games matter and so do the practices. Take Arkansas for instance with 20+ players entering the transfer portal. Key starters and contributors like DB Myles Slusher, DB Khari Johnson, WR Ketron Jackson, DL Isaiah Nichols and TE Trey Knox all out gave freshmen and seldomly known players their chance to shine.

Other players that skipped the bowl game for the NFL Draft included LB Drew Sanders, WR Jadon Haselwood and OL Ricky Stromberg. This was LSU-like numbers when they played their bowl game after the ousting of Ed Orgeron.

The Hogs saw guys like Jaedon Wilson, Ty Washington and Harper Cole shine in the receiving game. While Jordan Crook and Jackson Woodard providing great moments from their linebacker position.

Kansas had every reason to fold up like your grandma's lawn chair but once they found momentum they didn't let up. The Jayhawks scored 25 unanswered points to force overtime and almost pulled off an improbable fourth quarter comeback no one saw coming. Down 38-20 in the final stanza of any game would likely do a team in but Kansas QB Jalon Daniels performed mightily and put together a performance he may never forget.

The Hogs stopped their run game to a measly 59 yards but they sure allowed Kansas to find YAC yardage and big plays in the second half up 25. Daniels finished 37-55 passing, 544 yards and five touchdowns.

Bowl games don't matter anymore? Stop with that mess. Look at the Holiday Bowl and their seemingly annual great matchup. This year saw Oregon and North Carolina faceoff with two quarterbacks that had exceptional seasons putting their teams back on the map as contenders in each respective conference.

Carolina put together a very good defensive performance that college football fans haven't seen this season from the Tar Heels. They were gassed by the fourth quarter, allowing Oregon to score two touchdowns and losing another Holiday Bowl Classic.

Bo Nix tossed a six yard touchdown pass to Chase Cota on fourth down with 19 seconds remaining to tie the game. The PAAT bounced off the left upright and through the goalpost to give the Ducks a 28-27 victory inside Petco Park.

On Thursday, The Cheez-It Bowl gave fans another fantastic football game finishing with a Florida State win. A victory that continues the upward trajectory of the Seminole football program.

That was even said after the game by Florida State head coach, Mike Norvell, who has experienced quite a challenge to revitalize the program.

"I know what we had to come through as a program," said Norvell. "It was hard. And we know what's ahead. It's going to be work. There's no limits to what we can accomplish and I'm going to push them until we get to ultimately where I know we can go."

Seminoles kicker, Ryan Fitzgerald kicked a 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining to ultimately preserve a 35-32 victory over the Sooners.

The Sooners loss sent them to a 6-7 overall finish, their first losing season since 1998. That streak was the longest one in college football.

With Wisconsin pulling off a victory in their bowl game over Oklahoma State, they now hold college football's longest streak of seasons without a losing record.

Other notable bowl games this week:

December 30th:

North Carolina State-Maryland, Pittsburgh-UCLA, Notre Dame-South Carolina and Tennessee-Clemson.

December 31st:

Iowa-Kentucky and Alabama-Kansas State.

January 2nd:

Illinois-Mississippi State, LSU-Purdue, USC-Tulane and Utah-Penn State

*Jacob Davis is a national columnist for Sidelines Sports covering college football, basketball and baseball. You can follow him on Twitter @jacobscottdavis to discuss all things sports and life.

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