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The 2014 Bowl Season’s Biggest Losers

The national championship will be decided in less than one week as Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and Oregon take on Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes. While all that remains of the college football season is one game, the bowl season was nothing short of entertaining. Some teams managed to prove themselves while others disappointed. Here’s a look at this year’s big losers during bowl season:

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The Losers

Alabama
For a second straight season, a stellar year ended in disappointment for Alabama as the Crimson Tide were ousted from college football’s second semifinal — the Sugar Bowl — by an Ohio State team playing a third-string quarterback. Alabama allowed 537 yards to the Buckeyes in a 42-35 loss.

Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
It was an up and down career for Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, but in the Peach Bowl, it was the bad Bo that showed up. In a 42-3 loss to TCU, Wallace went 10-for-23 passing for 109 yards and three interceptions. The Rebels managed just 129 yards of offense in the defeat.

Baylor
For the second year in a row, Baylor was the favorite to win a major bowl game and for the second year in a row, Baylor lost. After losing to UCF in the Fiesta Bowl last season, the Bears appeared on their way to routing Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. Baylor led 41-21 entering the fourth quarter, but were outscored 21-0 in the final quarter. Connor Cook’s touchdown pass to Keith Mumphery with 17 seconds to play lifted the Spartans to a 42-41 victory.

Florida State
The defending national champions saw its 29-game winning streak end in an abrupt way as Florida State was handled by Oregon in the Rose Bowl, 59-20. The Seminoles allowed over 600 yards of offense to the Ducks while the offense turned the ball over five times in the second half, allowing for 34 Oregon points and turning what looked to be a shootout into a rout.

SEC West
We heard a lot this season about how the SEC West was the best division in football, but during the bowl season, it was proven to be anything but as it went just 2-5. Alabama was knocked from the college football playoffs, but Ole Miss and Mississippi State suffered beatdowns in New Year’s six bowls. Auburn fell to a good, but one-dimensional Wisconsin team while LSU fell late to a Notre Dame team that entered the game having lost five of its previous six games.

Mike Knoll, Boston College
The most scrutinized kick of the bowl season came off the foot of Boston College kicker Mike Knoll. In a 31-30 Pinstripe Bowl loss to Penn State, Knoll missed an extra point in overtime, which left the Eagles ahead 30-24. Penn State was able to win the game on its drive after scoring a touchdown and making its extra point.

End of Miami Beach Bowl
Memphis set a new school-record earning its 10th win in double-overtime against BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl, 55-48. An outstanding game however, was marred by a brawl that took place following the game (below).

Oklahoma
A top 5 team in the preseason, Oklahoma suffered its fifth loss of the year in a 40-6 trouncing at the hands of Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Sooners turned the ball over five times and did not get on the scoreboard until the game’s final seven minutes. Clemson’s 34-point win came without its best offensive player.

North Carolina’s Defense
North Carolina’s defense had been dreadful most of the year and continued to be against a Rutgers team that ranked just 76th in total offense and 83rd in scoring. In a 40-21 loss at the Quick Lane Bowl, the Tar Heels yielded 524 yards including 340 on the ground.

Big XII
The Big XII entered the bowl season with three teams raked in the top 15, but as a whole, the conference went just 2-5 in bowl games. TCU and Oklahoma State were the only winners while Texas and Oklahoma were each embarrassed.

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Mike Ferguson is a Bloguin contributor and the editor of Bloguin’s Florida State site, Noled Out. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson and Noled Out @Noled_Out.

About Mike Ferguson

Mike Ferguson is a Bloguin contributor, the editor of Noled Out and a lifetime Florida State sports enthusiast. Mike vividly remembers watching Warrick Dunn run down the sideline in Gainesville in 1993, the "Choke at Doak" in 1994 and Monte Cummings' driving layup to beat #1 Duke in 2002. Mike has worked as a sports reporter in both print and online. For isportsweb in 2013, Mike gave press coverage of Florida State football's run to the 2013 national championship. Mike has been featured on SI.com, FoxSports.com and Yahoo Sports while interviewing major sports stars such as 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. Mike graduated from Florida State University in 2009 with a major in Religion and a minor in Communications. Mike currently resides in Haines City, Florida with his wife Jennifer and daughters Trinity and Greenly. Mike is a full-time reporter at Polk County's newspaper, The Ledger, in Lakeland, Florida. Mike can be followed on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.

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