1. Upsets happen. They’ve been happening this entire bowl season. All credit to No. 21 Louisville, which dominated No. 3(!) Florida, 33-23, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. But give credit to Florida for continuing to play hard long after it self-destructed. The Gators lost the game in the first half and created a disaster in the first 10 minutes of the second half, getting three dead-ball or sideline major penalties. That performance guarantees anyone within earshot of head coach Will Muschamp is in for a long offseason.
2. Bowl performances are assigned too much meaning, probably because we analyze them for eight months. But it was clear before the last week that the SEC was top-heavy this season (hello, Auburn and Tennessee). And now that two of the league’s top-10 teams not only lost in the postseason but played poorly, each in its own way, it’s time to ask if the league’s long arc of dominance is on the downward side. No. 2 Alabama will provide the answer Monday night.
3. The Cotton Bowl is no longer played at the Cotton Bowl. A baseball stadium stands where the Orange Bowl was born and raised. But the Rose Bowl lives on. For all of its resistance to modernity, the home of the GOTA (Granddaddy of Them All) still has a hold on the imagination of fans. Put it this way: I saw more people stop and take photos of themselves beneath the neon Rose Bowl sign after the game Tuesday than I’ve ever seen at any other stadium.