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The PAC Twelver - Belated ‘Bowling’ Edition

A twelve-pack of observations on The Conference of Champions.

NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Pittsburgh vs Stanford Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

First: In “The Grandaddy of them all”, #6 Ohio State (13-1) held off a late charge by #9 Washington (10-4), to win the 105th Rose Bowl 28-23. Even in defeat, Huskies senior running back “For” Myles Gaskin (24 carries / 121 yards / 2 TD’s / 5.0 YPC / 1 for 1 passing / 1 passing TD) was arguably the best player on the field, rushing for two TD’s and throwing for another. Gaskin, a Washington native, leaves U Dub as the all-time leading rusher in school history. What a very cool story that is, most of all for he and his family.

Second: PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year and “Friend of The Twelver”, Huskies senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (12 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 sack / 1 PD), also played like a man on fire in the losing battle for those timeless roses. At the next level, I see him becoming a solid nickel LB, or possibly even a badass strong safety. #BewareOfDawg #BBK9

Third: In the 1st half, Huskies senior quarterback Jake Browning (35 for 54 passing / 313 yards / 5.8 YPP / 48.4 QBR) simply could not find any rhythm in the passing game, and unfortunately that was the difference between beautiful roses and heartbreaking disappointment for the U Dub community. On that level, it was my amazing Aunt Sally’s birthday on January 1st, and she is the biggest Huskies fan I know. So, that was a real bummer too Jake, a real bummer. I’m just sayin’.

Fourth: On December 28th #13 Washington State (11-2) edged #24 Iowa State (8-5) in the 2018 Alamo Bowl, played annually down in San Antonio. “The Constant” Gardner Minshew (35 for 49 passing / 299 yards / 2 TD’s / 69.9 QBR / 6 carries / 16 rushing yards / 1 rushing TD) was the best player on the field in this one, as he was for most every WSU game this season. #TheConstantGardner #FreeMustacheRidesInPullman

Fifth: Senior linebacker Peyton “The Allure” Pelluer (11 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 fumble recovered /1 sack / 1 QBH) and junior cornerback Marcus “He So” Strong (7 tackles / 2 PD / 1 INT returned for 66 yards / 1 sack / 1 TFL) were everywhere for the Cougs against the Cyclones, as they have been all year for WSU head coach and buccaneer history aficionado Mike Leach. #ThePullmanPirate #PAC12Piracy

Sixth: In the San Diego County Holiday Bowl on 12/31, #22 Northwestern (9-5) beat #17 Utah (9-5) 31-20, though the Utes truly beat themselves on five 2nd half turnovers. In a rare Southern California rainstorm, Wildcats sophomores linebacker Paddy “Wagon” Fisher (13 tackles / 1 forced fumble / 1 TFL / 1 PD ) and defensive back J.R. Pace (7 tackles / 2 PD / 1 INT / 1 fumble recovered / 1 TFL) both kept it “classy” in San Diego.

Seventh: Also on December 31st, my Stanford Cardinal (9-4) outlasted the Pitt Panthers (7-7) 14-13, in possibly the ugliest Bowl Game of them all. The Cardinal D stood tall in El Paso, much on the leadership of senior linebackers Bobby Okereke (6 tackles / 2 TFL / 2 PD / 1 sack), Sean Barton (8 tackles / 1 TFL / 1 PD), and Casey Toohill (7 tackles / 1 QBH / 1 TFL). #StanfordStrong #TreeD

Eighth: Stanford senior running back and Swiss Army Knife Cameron Scarlett (22 carries / 94 yards / 2 TD’s / 4.3 YPC / 111 all-purpose yards) was named the 2018 Sun Bowl offensive MVP, basically in Disney fashion. Scarlett has humbly played behind the legendary likes of Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love the past four years, and has consistently served as one of the best special teams players on those squads as well. So, for him to have the opportunity to shine in the Sun Bowl win was very, very well deserved. #ScarlettIsCardinal

Ninth: All the way back on Saturday 12/15, #21 Fresno State (12-2) ran over Arizona State (7-6) 31-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl. Keeping with that analogy, Bulldogs sophomore running back “Runnin’” Ronnie Rivers (24 carries / 212 yards / 2 TD’s / 8.8 YPC / 4 receptions / 33 receiving yards / 8.3 YPR) ran laps around Sin City, and the Sun Devils defense, seemingly at will.

Tenth: In the second ugliest Bowl Game of the season, Oregon (9-4) “beat the Duck” out of Michigan State (7-6) 7-6, in the entertainment always Redbox Bowl. Yes, the final was honestly 7-6, and winning that game is kind of like kissing your sister. However, with junior QB and teen heartthrob Justin Herbert returning next season, I expect Oregon to be back on top of the PAC-12 in 2019. #StrongAsDuck #FastAsDuck #ToughAsDuck

Eleventh: The incomparable Cheez-It Bowl was another thriller, showcasing an epic 10-7 overtime victory for TCU (7-6) over the CAL Bears (7-6). While there is no hiding my sarcasm in regard to the football game itself, I do love Cheez-Itz unconditionally, and my favorite part of this contest was when the TCU players showered themselves in the delicious baked snack crackers during the post-game celebration.

Twelfth: I got sideways on Aloha Sculpin during Stanford’s Sun Bowl W, and it was glorious, as was the end result. As we go forward in the college hoops season, I hope you will continue to enjoy your PAC-12 buzz here at The Twelver. Cheers y’all.