Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 4:00 pm

Luck, Stanford OL highlight All-Bowl Team

We made it.

After more than four months of college football and 100s of games, the season has finally come to an end. And after watching 35 bowl games over a three-week period (raise your hand if you saw at least part of every bowl game), it's time to remember some of the great individual performances of the past month.

Here are the best in this year's All-Bowl Team:

QB: Andrew Luck, Stanford, Orange Bowl: He had a tremendous performance against Virginia Tech, throwing for 287 yards with four touchdowns, including three in the second half to blow open a 14-13 game at halftime. Luck almost had the perfect game, completing 18 of 23 passes. Luck is joined by a few others on this team that helped him have such a special game.

RB: Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State, Poinsettia Bowl: The freshman ran for 228 yards on 28 carries to lead the Aztecs to their first bowl victory since 1969. Hillman had four touchdowns, scoring on runs of 1, 22 and 37 yards, while also catching a 15-yard touchdown reception.

RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa, Insight Bowl: The freshman was filling in for suspended starter Adam Robinson and ran for 219 yards on 33 carries with two touchdowns in the victory over Missouri in the Insight Bowl. Coker scored on runs of 1 and 62 yards.

WR: Marcus Sales, Syracuse, Pinstripe Bowl: The junior had a career game, catching five passes for 172 yards with three touchdowns. He scored on catches of 52, 36 and 44 yards as Syracuse holds on to beat Kansas State 36-34.

WR: Terrence Toliver, LSU, Cotton Bowl: Jordan Jefferson threw for only 158 yards, but 112 of it came at the hands of Toliver. The wide receiver also had three touchdowns, scoring on passes of 42, 2 and 41 yards in the win over Texas A&M.

TE: Coby Fleener, Stanford, Orange Bowl: The backup tight end had a career game against Virginia Tech, catching six passes for 173 yards with three second-half touchdowns.

OL: (tie) Drew Schaefer, Colin Porter, Cody Habben, Senio Kelemete and Ryan Tolar, Washington, Holiday Bowl and Chase Beeler, Dave DeCastro, Derek Hall, Jonathan Martin and Andrew Phillips, Stanford, Orange Bowl: This was too close to call. Washington's offensive line racked up 268 yards rushing against Nebraska's great run defense, including Chris Polk's 177 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Stanford had its way with Virginia Tech's defensive line, opening up huge holes for the running game and giving Luck time to throw.


DL: Cameron Heyward, Ohio State, Sugar Bowl: Heyward had a strong performance against Arkansas, recording six tackles with two sacks and forcing a fumble in the win over Arkansas.

DL: Nick Fairley, Auburn, BCS National Championship: In one of the biggest performances of the bowl season, Fairley shut down the Oregon running game, while recording five tackles, three for a loss and forcing a fumble.

DL: Bruce Miller, UCF, Liberty Bowl: The senior went out with a bang, recording eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, helping the Knights hold Georgia to just six points in the Liberty Bowl.

DL: Jake Coffman, Northern Illinois, Humanitarian: Coffman had a game for the ages, recording six tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and forcing a fumble in the 40-17 against Fresno State.

LB: Shayne Skov, Stanford, Orange Bowl: The sophomore was all over the field against Virginia Tech, recording 12 tackles, three sacks and four tackles for a loss.

LB: Curnelius Arnick, Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl: Arnick had a great game against the high-powered Hawaai offense, recording 10 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Arnick returned one of his INTs 54 yards for a touchdown in the 62-35 win.

LB: Tank Carder, TCU, Rose Bowl: The stat line might not be the best -- six tackles, three for a loss, but Carder made one of the biggest plays of the bowl season, knocking down a two-point conversion to preserve the Horned Frogs' 21-19 victory over Wisconsin.

DB: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, Cotton Bowl: The freshman was all over the place against Texas A&M, recording seven tackles, forcing two fumbles, recording a sack and an interception late in the game.

DB: Ahmad Black, Florida, Outback Bowl: Black had a great game for the Gators, recording six tackles and two interceptions. His returned his second INT 80 yards for a touchdown to clinch a 37-24 victory over Penn State.

DB: Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, Sun Bowl: Smith was getting more wide open than the Hurricanes receivers, recording three interceptions to go along with seven tackles.

DB: Micah Hyde, Iowa, Insight Bowl: Hyde had one of the biggest plays of the bowl season, interception Blaine Gabbert late in the fourth quarter and returning it 72 yards for a touchdown to give Iowa a 27-24 victory. Hyde also added six tackles.

P: Dylan Breeding, Arkansas, Sugar Bowl and Brad Langley, Nevada, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (tie): These two had almost identical games. Breeding had seven punts for 43.7-yard average with four punts inside the 20-yard line. He had two punts in the fourth quarter downed at the 4-yard line to help keep Arkansas in the game. Langley had seven punts, 43.4-yard average with five punts inside the 20. His last punt was knocked down at the 10-yard line with 3:06 to go.

K: Casey Barth, North Carolina, Music City Bowl: Barth not only finished the game 3-for-3 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points, but he hit a 39-yarder as time expired to send the game into overtime and then hit a 23-yarder in OT to beat Tennessee.

KR: T.Y. Hilton, FIU, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Never mind that Hilton had the biggest play in FIU's history, converting a 4th-and-17 with the hook and lateral play. He makes this squad for his 34.8-yard average on five kick returns, including a 89-yard touchdown in the third quarter to get the FIU rally going. The Golden Panthers would eventually win 34-32.

PR: Rishard Matthews, Nevada, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: It was quiet for punt returners during the bowl season, but Matthews returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown to give Nevada a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

All-Purpose: Damaris Johnson, Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl: Johnson had a career-high 326 all-purpose yards to break the NCAA career record in the win over Hawaii. Johnson finished with 98 yards rushing, 101 yards receiving, 109 on kick returns and 18 on punt returns. He also scored on a 67-yard run and a 9-yard reception.

Miss a bowl game? Recap all 35 games with the CBSSports.com individual bowl pages.

Posted on: July 2, 2010 5:03 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 10:57 am

Five great players on bad teams

Mark Ingram, Terrelle Pryor and Kellen Moore are all guys that even the casual fan knows. Even on a team like Ball State, which won two games last year, most fans know who running back MiQuale Lewis.

But there are a ton of very good, even great, players around the country on bad teams that don't get noticed by most of the country. As we are only two months away from the start of the season, here are five guys to keep your eye on even if their teams end up at 3-9 this season:

Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State: The die-hard fans will know Burfict, but the average fan might not. Not much is expected from the Sun Devils this season, but the sophomore linebacker will be a beast this season. In case you missed it, he was named Pac-10 defensive freshman of the year and earned freshman All-American honors. One of the best linebackers in the nation, he won't be a name most have heard of because he plays on such a bad team out west. Look for him to improve on his numbers from last year -- 69 tackles, seven for a loss and two sacks. Burfict has already earned earned preseason first team All-American honors by the Sporting News.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State: The first-team All-Big 12 member is posed for another big season. Thomas is back for his senior season after leading the conference with 1,265 yards on 247 attempts (5.1 avg) to go along with 11 touchdowns. Kansas State hasn't played in a bowl since 2006 and it might miss the postseason again, but it won't be because of Thomas. The 6-foot-2 back has flown under the radar a bit, mostly because he plays for Kansas State and he came in last year as a junior college transfer. Be ready to know this guy as his production should increase after being involved in 34.4 percent of the offensive plays last year.

Donovan Varner, WR, Duke: It's not too often that Duke has a leader in the ACC, but the junior wide receiver led the conference with 65 catches and receiving yards per game (88.8). He became just the third player in Duke history to have 1,000 yards receiving. Against Miami (Fla.) he had eight catches for 165 yards. Varner is a definite first-team all-conference member and if he can improve on last year's numbers, he just might be able to earn some third-team All-American honors.

Duke Ihenacho, S, San Jose State: Not even diehard fans know much about San Jose State, considering its had one winning season in the past 10 years, but you need to know Ihenacho. He led the Spartans last season with six pass breakups and 89 tackles and is one of the best safties in the nation. He's also a two-time All-WAC selection and can also play linebacker. NFLDraftScout.com has the fourth-best safety for the 2011 NFL Draft. Ihenacho will be center stage for the first game of the season as the Spartans play at Alabama.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International: The Golden Panthers have never had a winning season since the progam started in 2002. And for the most part, it hasn't had any big-time players, until Hilton came to Miami. After a tremendous freshman season where he earned Freshman All-American honors as a punt return specialist by the FWAA, he struggled a bit as a sophomore due to injuries. He still led the team with 57 catches and a return average of 28.8 yards per game, the highest in school history and 13th in the nation. I'll bet the Alabama special teams unit knows Hilton as he opened the season in 2009 with a 96-yard kickoff return for touchdown.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com