Well let's just say that 2011 got off to a great start for the Mountain West Conference. In case you've been in a turkey induced food coma since Thanksgiving and missed all the Bowl games then we'll get you caught up. Instead of covering every single team we'll just a look at each bowl game featuring a current/future Mountain West team and rank it on the simple BANG or BUSTscale.
If it was an entertaining game for the senses then we'll give it a BANG. If we fell asleep or wanted to change the change the channel then it is a BUST. We're going to make this a two part post with the second coming next Monday. We will cover four bowl games in each post. Let's start things off with a little game known as the Granddaddy.
THE ROSE BOWL
TCU 21 Wisconsin - 19
What more could this game really need? Offensive outburst in the first quarter. Then two powerful defenses squared off against each other for three quarters. Other BCS games have been exciting when Non AQ's are playing but there is something about the Rose Bowl that just makes it a special game. The game is played outside and the light always seems a little brighter during the game. One has to wonder why Wisconsin only decided to really use John Clay on the last drive heavily. He couldn't have been stopped earlier in the game but they rested him. Overtime was on the line but the two point conversion was deflected by Tank Carder. Truly a fantastic and dramatic finish for this one.
This was the easiest game to grade ever.
Air Force 14 Georgia Tech 7
With two teams running the triple option this was either going to be a very entertaining game or a snoozer. Unfortunately it fell into the latter category as neither team could get much going on offense. Either team playing a scrimmage could have been just as entertaining here. One redeeming aspect was the fact that both teams love to go fourth down conversion and they had a combined eight attempts. Only 10 points were scored in the final 45 minutes did not help this one at all. It's not like we can claim it was a tremendous defensive battle either. Georgia Tech turned it over four times so it was more general ineptness on their part.
San Diego State 35 Navy 14
The Aztecs waited so long to play in a bowl that they came busting out of the gates in this one. Ronnie Hillman set a bowl record with 228 yards rushing and Vincent Brown a record with 165 yards receiving. Most of those yards came in the first quarter for Brown. To add the drama before the game Qualcomm Stadium was an absolute lake for a couple days before the game. The city pumped out 1.5 million gallons of water off the field and it was in great condition considering it had been submerged so long. The score was 21-14 at halftime in favor of the Aztecs but Navy couldn't muster anything in the second half. All in all the first San Diego State Bowl game since 1996 was well worth the wait.
LAS VEGAS BOWL
Boise State 26 Utah 3
This game was confusing to watch because do you root for the outgoing conference member or the incoming one? It looked like the Utes would head to the PAC10 and escape having to face the Broncos. Unfortunately this game fizzled and left a bad taste in my mouth. The first quarter was horrendous and Kellen Moore seemed rattled while fumbling as well as throwing an interception. The Utes were without Jordan Wynn and Terrence Cain didn't get his team ready at all. Utah had no answer for the Boise defense and managed just 200 total yards in the game. Their only score was the field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead and it all went downhill from there. Fans were expecting a lot more from a pairing of the #10 and #20 teams but this was not what they were hoping for at all. If Kyle Brotzman would have caught a pass that was thrown to him that would have helped soothe our soul's a little bit.
Next week we'll cover the Hawaii, New Mexico, Humanitarian and Fight Hunger Bowl.