After an extended break during which I spent driving my resting heart rate down to about 19 beats a minute, I have returned refreshed and ready to begin that part of your life where you do absolutely nothing. But I'm SO MANY YEARS AWAY FROM THAT, so I press on into another year, which is one year closer to that sweet day of no schedule.
Anyway, to begin the new year, let us review the performances of those SEC teams who have played their bowl games, and do so in a brief fashion because I have things to do, like complain about all this stupid cold weather. WHAT ARE YOU DOING, SUN? STOP HIDING.
Performances will be rated on a scale of one to five Steven Seagal Songs from the Crystal Cave because it is the greatest album man has ever created. In fairness, I have not listened to it, but assume that if Seagal made the music, there is nothing better.
Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee
Vanderbilt 38, NC State 24
In one of the most Vanderbilt performances I can recall, the Commodores collected 225 total yards of aluminum cans and waited for NC State to do dumb things, which they did often (5 turnovers). The win gave Vanderbilt its ninth win of the season, which they had not done since the world WAS ENGAGED IN WORLD WAR I.
Clemson 25, LSU 24
I know whenever I have a running back who is averaging 12.5 yards a carry on 12 carries, with 2 touchdowns, I prefer to put the ball in the hands of my quarterback, who in the second half is 4-8 for 17 yards and been sacked twice, when the game is on the line. No other way to call plays.
While watching LSU's lack of offense finally bite them in the ass in a losing way against an inferior team was most enjoyable, it still only happened in a bowl game and not a conference game, which would have been infinitely more delightful. But I suppose it is for the greater good, as Les Miles job status retains its firm hold and we got to watch Dabo Swinney celebrate a Chick-fil-A Bowl victory like I imagine the way he celebrates winning that Cracker Barrel game where you try to only have one tee remaining at the end.
Northwestern 34, Mississippi State 20
The sights, sounds, and big stage of Jacksonville proved to be too much for Tyler Russell, as he produced a Michael Henig-ish performance, going 12-28 for 106 yards, 2 TDs, and 4 INTs. Had there been more time and Dan Mullen continued to ignore Dak Prescott on the bench, Russell could have had his shot at tying Henig's 6 INT performance against LSU in 2007.
Mississippi State ends the season losing 5 of its last 6, but that win over Middle Tennessee State and subsequent Sun Belt championship is something they can always fondly remember.
Georgia 45, Nebraska 31
It took some time, but Aaron Murray stopped doing rather stupid things and started throwing nothing but touchdowns. Granted, this was a Nebraska defense fresh off giving up 70 points, but Wisconsin got those numbers by running.
Murray proved that the Nebraska defense is also very bad at stopping the pass, as he threw for 5 TDs and 427 yards, with none of the touchdowns being less than 24 yards.
South Carolina 33, Michigan 28
I've watched it 25 times and, like the referee awarding Michigan a first down on the play before when they were clearly a few inches short, I still can't believe it happened.
And in GIF form:
And explosion form:
And LSUFreek form:
South Carolina Performance Rating:
Jadeveon Clowney Performance Rating:
Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M
Still to come.