These four games fall into the "Ugly" category.
Auburn 38, Northwestern 35, OT
This game had about as wild a finish as could be imagined. You can read the game summary for yourself.
Suffice to say, Auburn did everything but move out of the way to give Northwestern a chance to win the game — the same Northwestern team that turned it over six times. Six times. Boys and girls, a team that turns it over six times should be within 17 points of the other one unless that other team commits stupid penalty after stupid penalty. For instance, two seniors that made big plays subsequently earned unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for showboating on the field. That's not solid senior leadership and that's a reflection on the coaches. To head coach Gene Chizik's credit, he ripped them both on the sidelines, but one wonders what messages weren't clear to the players about their behavior before the game.
The audacity of Chizik in the postgame press conference is even more galling. "I've never gone into a game with seven wins and come out with 10," Chizik said. I realize he was probably trying to be funny, but for a guy who was supposed to bring in a new era of class to Auburn, this wasn't a good showcase and it wasn't a good time for humor.
By the way, Iowa State, Chizik's former employer where it was "impossible to win," also won their bowl game over a Big 10 opponent and finished 7-6.
Virginia Tech 37, Tennessee 14
Lane Kiffin is a wildcard. But now he can add classless jerk to his list as well. This straight up snub of Frank Beamer following the drumming his Vols took in Atlanta New Year's Eve is downright inexcusable. I shouldn't be surprised by this considering Kiffin's track record of missteps in the SEC has been well documented (even going back to his first few months on the job). I wrote a week ago Tennessee is hurdling towards the SEC East Championship and NCAA probation at the same speed. Well, this latest move just threw another lump of coal on the fire of that steam engine as it barrels down the tracks — call it The No Class Express. Cap this move off with the way the Vols practically laid down in front of Virginia Tech and one has to wonder how much more of this the Tennessee faithful can take.
Florida 51, Cincinnati 24
Aside from the Urban Meyer resignation/leave of absence fiasco and the Tim Tebow's last game lovefest, there was little reason to pay attention to this game.
Cincinnati wasn't even playing for the coach who will lead them next season and they looked as outmatched as many thought they would be against what was once considered one of the most dominant teams in the country. It's not that Florida blew them out that earns the "Ugly" sticker, it's how they did it. Meyer, a guy focused on faith and family now, kept his starters in high-gear until late into the game. Don't give me that line about needing to showcase the future alleged NFL talent; there's plenty of game film for that. This was about doing the only thing Meyer and Florida know how to do when they have an advantage – just like the karate instructor and his drones, the Gators strike fast, strike hard, and show no mercy.
So, now Meyer takes a break to contemplate life, health, and savor the memories of blowing away yet another lesser opponent proving only more that the bully never gives it up even when the rest of the world knows his time is done.
Connecticut 20, South Carolina 7
I realize playing in the rundown stadium that is Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama in January is no picnic, but at least act like you want to be there, Gamecocks. UConn, playing in weather and conditions not far from the norm, played with fire, determination, and vigor as they ran all over South Carolina. The Gamecocks mailed that in before Christmas and got it canceled with a brick to the forehead.
Losing to UConn is nothing to sneeze at; that's a good program. However, Steve
Spurrier's inability to get his team "up" for games each year is becoming more they rule than the exception and that may signal the beginning of the end for the ol' ball coach's career.