Entries in Rose Bowl (15)


Hollywood finish for Florida State — and the BCS

By Art Spander

PASADENA, Calif. — Isn’t this the way the scripts usually run down here Hollywood way? Drama every few minutes. Then when we’re all washed out, the hero comes riding — or passing and running — out of the distance to save the day?

When they’re bringing the curtain down, make certain you leave them something to remember.

Which in this final of the often criticized, soon-to-be-disposed-of Bowl Championship Series, is exactly what this ultimate title game did.

If it wasn’t one for the ages, it was one that left us pleading for more.

And left Auburn, watching and grasping as its magic of last-second success was filched by Florida State, wishing for more time on the clock, impossible as it would be.

On his 20th birthday Monday, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston did what Heisman-winning quarterbacks are supposed to do, throw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds to play, giving the Seminoles a 34-31 win over Auburn and the perfect finish to a perfect 14-0 season.

“It’s the best football game he played all year,” Florida State coach Jimbo Elliott said of Winston. “Because for three quarters he was up and down, and he fought . . . It’s not ‘my’ night, and you have two or three touches left, and you can lead your team to victory, that’s what a great player is to me.”

Winston, the red-shirt freshman, trailing, wanted to make the difference.

“That’s a storybook moment,” said Winston. “I was ready. I wanted to be in that situation because that’s what great quarterbacks do, That’s what the Tom Bradys, Peyton Mannings, Drew Breeses do.

“Any quarterback can go out there and perform when they’re up 50-0. That’s what you’re judged by. I’m pretty sure that drive, I got more respect from my teammates and people around me on that last drive than I got all year.”

Well, he got a great deal of respect from the people who voted him the Heisman.

The plot for the 16th BCS championship was part Alfred Hitchcock, part Woody Allen and all engrossing, with gasps and grasps, fumbled punts and — a Florida State player taking off his helmet and drawing a 15-yard penalty after a touchdown — dumb moves.

But it was compelling. Five days earlier, Michigan State had held off Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl Game. Then almost before we could blink, we get another thriller in the same Rose Bowl stadium before 94,208 in weather that was like the song "June in January," 69 degrees at the start. 

Kermit Whitfield, untouched, ran a kickoff 100 yards for a Florida State touchdown to give Florida State a 27-24 lead, and a few minutes later Treason ran a handoff 37 yards to give Auburn a 31-27 lead.

Florida State, which hadn’t been behind by more than 11 points in any previous game this crazy year, trailed, 21-3 in the second quarter of his one, and the only thing you could think was that the Seminoles of the Atlantic Coast Conference might be overrated. And under-tested. 

What if they played in the SEC? Or Pac-12? Or Big Ten?

No more questions. They’re legitimate. They’re also the first non-SEC member in eight years to win the MacArthur Bowl as the nation’s top college team.

Winston, confident, brilliant, was 20 of 35 passing for 237 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner. He was sacked four times by an Auburn defensive that was impressive when it wasn’t offensive. That 100-yarder was a game changer.

Winston also ran 11 times but his net distance, ruined by the sacks, was a mere 52 yards.

“He’s a freshman,” Auburn defensive end Dee Ford said of Winston, “and he started second-guessing his decisions, holding the ball. I think tonight we kind of exposed him.”

But who made the big play? Who won the game? Who left Auburn, which once had a 21-3 lead, in the end with a 12-2 record? Jameis Winston and Florida State, that’s who.

The greatest finish in a BCS championship game was when Vince Young scored with 19 seconds to go and gave Texas a 41-28 win over USC on Jan. 4, 2006, also at the Rose Bowl. This one, the last one, the ultimate one, ranks right with it.

Farewell, BCS. You had a great run. And pass.


Newsday (N.Y.): Connor Cook, Spartans defense rally Michigan St. past Stanford in Rose Bowl

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

PASADENA, Calif. — It was one of 100 for the Rose Bowl, the "granddaddy of them all," as it is billed, but for Michigan State, the winner yesterday on the first day of 2014, it was one of a kind.

"Thirteen-and-one," bellowed Spartans coach Mark Dantonio, as he accepted the trophy, "can't get much better than that."

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2014 Newsday. All rights reserved.


Newsday (N.Y.): Defensive juggernauts clash in 100th Rose Bowl

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

PASADENA, Calif. — The oldest of the bowl games, the one known as the "Granddaddy of Them All," promises smash-mouth power football, a throwback to the old days, good or not.

For its 100th game, the Rose Bowl on Wednesday matches Michigan State, ranked No. 4 in the BCS standings, against No. 5 Stanford, two teams more concerned with substance than style, particularly in stopping an opponent.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2014 Newsday. All rights reserved.


Newsday (N.Y.): Stanford gets fast start, shuts down Wisconsin in 2nd half to win Rose Bowl

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

PASADENA, Calif. -- The new year brought old-style football to the Rose Bowl, the pound 'em, ground 'em game of an earlier era. And Stanford -- contrary to its image as a school that relies on passing -- grounded and pounded relentlessly and effectively.

The Cardinal -- living up to the promise of coach David Shaw, who insisted in a pregame media session: "We're going go run the ball. That's what we do" -- ran it well enough.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2013 Newsday. All rights reserved.


RealClearSports: Playoffs? Nah, Bowl Games Are Just Fine

By Art Spander

PASADENA, Calif. — Playoffs? Not to sound like Jim Mora, so let’s paraphrase him. In college football, who needs playoffs?

We have bowl games. We have the BCS. We had an overload of overtime. An abundance of suspense. What else do we need?

You think LSU-Alabama will be any better than Oregon-Wisconsin...

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2012