Struggling to make sense of the Bowl Season?
Finding it as unfathomable as the regular season that preceded it?
Fear not! We’ve gone straight to the sources for enlightenment and edification. Here’s what the coaches themselves had to say about their bowl games — and what they really meant.
All quotes courtesy of the Associated Press and ASAPsports.com.
Jim McElwain, Colorado State: Just unbelievable. You don’t write scripts like this. I want to know — how many guys already filed their stories because you had a five o’clock deadline?
Translation: We scored 18 points in the final 2:52. I’m as shocked as you are. I’ve got no explanation.
Mike Leach, Washington State: Colorado State finished the game. We didn’t.
Translation: I’m just as shocked as you are. I’ve got no explanation.
Curtis Johnson, Tulane: Then, all of a sudden, we settled down, and for three quarters of the game, from the second quarter on, we played pretty well.
Translation: You can’t even spot Louisiana-Lafayette a 21-0 lead.
Mike Riley, Oregon State: When you win, you’d like to say it’s a good ending, a good beginning for the upcoming year.
Translation: Hopefully this win erases the memory of the five straight losses that preceded it.
Bob Gregory, Boise State: There wasn’t a loss of focus. We just didn’t make as many plays as we had to make to make a difference in the game.
Translation: How do you roll up 538 yards of offense and lose by 15?
Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh: We obviously have some great young talent, and that’s why we are so confident about the future of the program.
Translation: Who wouldn’t be giddy after beating the MAC champions on a last-minute field goal?
Rod Carey, Northern Illinois: We weren’t able to move it like we normally do.
Translation: Utah State sure isn’t a MAC team!
Doc Holliday, Marshall: These kids never flinched.
Translation: Funny. They flinched against Rice in the Conference USA championship game, but not here against Maryland.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: It’s great to be in New York!
Translation: Not only did we beat Rutgers (Sweet!) but I also picked up a new defensive coordinator. Welcome, Brian VanGorder!
Charlie Strong, Louisville: We’re one of the best teams in college football. When we go out and play the way we played tonight, you can understand why.
Translation: I am officially announcing my candidacy for the head coaching job at Texas.
Al Golden, Miami: We got beat in all three phases. No excuses.
Translation: There goes my shot at the Penn State job.
Brady Hoke, Michigan: We didn’t play well enough in a lot of areas.
Translation: Pretty typical Big Ten bowl performance.
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State: It’s hard to simulate on a scout team what Navy does.
Translation: Wait! Did I just call Georgia Tech a scout team?
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss: I’m glad to win two bowl games in our first two years.
Translation: Our scout team did a great job simulating what Georgia Tech does.
Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech: We didn’t play well enough in any facet to win the game.
Translation: We didn’t play well enough in any facet to win the game.
David Bailiff, Rice: We knew coming in to this game we were going to have to play our best to win it. We didn’t.
Translation: This performance wouldn’t even beat Marshall.
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M: David Cutcliffe and his staff did a great job. That is a really, really well-prepared, well-coached, well-disciplined football team.
Translation: Duke absolutely maximized its talent.
David Cutcliffe, Duke: They played their hearts out today.
Translation: Seeing the passion these kids played with today, well, that’s what coaching is all about.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska: We went through a lot this year. It was a difficult year.
Translation: If they want to fire me...
Mark Richt, Georgia: We came close. Guys played hard. Proud of our team.
Translation: If one game ever summed up a season, this was it.
Nick Saban, Alabama: We have a formula that we try to follow here, and I think it’s important that the players know that it’s a formula that will help us be successful. Some of the things we did tonight did not allow us to be successful.
Translation: Please stand back and give me room while I hurl my entire team under the bus.
James Franklin, Vanderbilt: The thing that’s probably the most exciting is there is a culture of winning at Vanderbilt.
Translation: No wonder I’m a candidate for every vacant head coaching job in the free world.
Denton Ashway is a contributing columnist for The Times. His colums appear Wednesdays.