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Looking back at the best and worst of bowl season

The 2015 college football season is over. No more debating the College Football Playoff rankings. No more Heisman Trophy polls. No more bowls. No more trolling one another. Well, there will still be plenty of trolling.

Here's the best and worst of the bowl season. Maybe this will (Crimson?) tide you over until September?

Best performance by the guy who should have won the 2015 Heisman Trophy: Stanford DE -- "Does Everything" -- Christian McCaffrey went 75 yards for a touchdown on his first touch against befuddled Iowa, and that was just the beginning as he piled up a Rose Bowl record 368 all-purpose yards against the Hawkeyes in a 45-16 victory, adding to his NCAA record single-season total of 3,864 all-purpose yards, which is more than 600 yards ahead of the previous record held by Barry Sanders. McCaffrey finished with 172 yards rushing, 105 yards receiving and 91 on returns, including a 63-yard touchdown on a punt return.

Best performance by the guy who will win the 2016 Heisman Trophy: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson was spectacular on a big stage against what was supposed to be a fearsome adversary. He rolled up 478 total yards against Alabama's top-ranked defense in the national title game, completing 30 of 47 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns, rushing for another 73 yards. Only three players have recorded 400 yards of total offense against a Nick Saban-coached Alabama team. The performance should make Watson 1A on the list of 2016 Heisman candidates compared to McCaffrey's 1B.

Worst bowl season: For once, the sourpusses who complain about "too many bowl games" might have been right. Well, no, of course they aren't right, but this was not exactly the best-ever bowl season. For one, both College Football Playoff semifinals were blowouts. Further, nearly one quarter of the 40 bowl games -- nine -- were decided by at least 28 points. No previous bowl season produced more than six such games. The average margin of victory in the eight New Year's Eve and New Year's Day bowl games was 27 points. No game was decided by fewer than 14 points. The overall average margin of victory was 15.9 points, most of any bowl season in a decade. Even some of the close games, such as Marshall beating UConn 16-10 in the St. Petersburg Bowl, had us tearing our eyes out.

Worst performance on a big stage: Michigan State made like one of those nonconference patsies SEC teams beat up in November in one College Football Playoff semifinal, getting thoroughly trounced 38-0 by Alabama. The Spartans managed only 239 total yards -- 29 yards rushing -- and Alabama rolled up 440 yards. Michigan State also yielded a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown. So: Bad offense, bad defense, bad special teams. Wonder if coach Mark Dantonio being curt during the pregame interview, which is part of the broadcast contract that enriches coaches like Dantonio, caused a dark turn of cosmic forces? Naaa. But maybe.

Best bowl game: While a Duke-Indiana matchup sounds like primetime college basketball, it produced the best thriller of the bowl season in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Duke prevailed 44-41 in overtime in a game that featured eight lead changes and a controversial "Did Indiana really miss that tying field goal?" at the end (field goals are not reviewable if the ball crosses higher than the upright). It was Duke's first bowl victory in 54 years. The loss overshadowed Devine Redding, Indiana's backup running back, rushing for 227 yards on 35 carries.

Worst performance... ever?: Northern Illinois piled up ... er ... 33 total yards in a 55-7 loss to Boise State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The Broncos had 654 yards. We could go on with all sorts of mathy things to highlight how bad the Huskies were, but coach Rod Carey summed it up nicely when he said afterward, "It wasn't a good performance for us."

Best fake punt.... ever?: Trailing 7-3, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney made like a riverboat gambler in the Tigers' College Football Playoff semifinal against Oklahoma. Lining up at the Sooners 45-yard line, punter Andy Teasdall caught the snap, moved to his right, then launched a deep pass down the sideline to Christian Wilkins, a 300-pound freshman defensive tackle, who made a shockingly athletic play to make the catch. The 31-yard gain set up Clemson's go-ahead touchdown two plays later.

Worst day by a future first-round draft pick: Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, the No. 1 quarterback on Mel Kiper's and Todd McShay's draft boards, posted season lows in both completion percentage (43.2 percent) and Total QBR (22.5) in the Tigers' 31-10 loss to Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl.

Best wardrobe change: TCU coach Gary Patterson wore a black long-sleeve shirt in the first half of the Valero Alamo Bowl against Oregon and his team was outscored 31-0. At halftime, he changed into a short-sleeve purple mock turtle neck. His team scored 47 points and beat the Ducks in triple overtime. While some might say Patterson was just ditching a shirt he sweated through, the karmic significance seems impossible to ignore. "The purple shirt works," he said after the game.

Best imitation of milquetoast: North Carolina's defense yielded 645 yards rushing -- 84 carries! -- and seven touchdowns to Baylor in a 49-38 defeat in the Russell Athletic Bowl. That is not a misprint, and if it seems like a lot of rushing yards, it is -- it's an all-time bowl record. Baylor's RB Johnny Jefferson was one yard shy of becoming the second player to rush for 300 yards in FBS bowl history, his 299 yards rushing being 72 more than any other player this bowl season. The Tar Heels knew the Bears didn't have a quarterback who could throw the ball. They just couldn't do anything about it.

Best and Worst halftime performance: While many inside the Rose Bowl tried to enjoy the mellifluous music and watch the charming performance of the world famous, celebrated Stanford band, Iowa fans rudely booed and booed. Beethoven, John Philip Sousa and Punch & Judy probably were rolling over in their graves, confounded by the disrespect. While some might think Hawkeyes fans were just sour because their team was getting walloped 35-zip, they apparently took offense at the Stanford band's tribute to Iowa's great tradition of farming, and stuff that goes along with farming.

Worst hangover: Michigan State and Iowa, teams that met in the Big Ten championship game, lost by a combined margin of 83-16 in their bowl games.

Best "Hello World" performance: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson ran for a career-high and Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl-record 226 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 227 yards and two TDs in a 27-21 win over Texas A&M. He became the third quarterback to run and throw for at least 200 yards in a bowl game, joining Vince Young in 2006 and Johnny Manziel in 2012.

Best TD machine: Navy QB Keenan Reynolds scored his 88th career touchdown in a 44-28 victory over Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman. His final score broke a tie with Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech for most TDs in FBS history.

Best defensive performance: While the Baylor offensive line earned the headlines, Bears linebacker Aiavion Edwards had a career-high 17 tackles, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a sack and a pass breakup for the Bears defense. That's a really busy day.

Worst performance by a city: USC and UCLA both went belly-up in bowl games. UCLA surrendered 326 yards rushing to Nebraska in a 37-29 loss the Foster Farms Bowl, and USC's supposedly potent offense struggled in a 23-21 defeat to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl. Talk about Hollywood bombs. Only question is which team was "Pixels"?

Best "remember me?" performance: LSU running back Leonard Fournette went from Heisman Trophy certainty to forgotten man when the Tigers' season went south, but he showed up big in the 56-27 win over Texas Tech in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. Fournette rushed for 212 yards and four touchdowns and had a 44-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. He tied a bowl record with five total touchdowns.

Best imitation of an Air Force: California quarterback Jared Goff passed for 467 yards -- 12.6 yards per attempt -- with six touchdowns and no interceptions in a 55-36 win over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Best imitation of an Air Force II: West Virginia and Arizona State combined for 950 passing yards and nine touchdown passes in the Mountaineers' 43-42 win in the Motel 6 Catcus Bowl Classic.

Best stressful goodbye: Frank Beamer won his final game at Virginia Tech, finishing a 23rd consecutive winning season at his alma mater, but it required a nail-biting 55-52 victory over Tulsa in the Camping World Independence Bowl. The conservative defense and special teams advocate was bailed out by Isaiah Ford's 227 receiving yards, the best total for a receiver this bowl season.

Best coaching job: Houston finished 13-1 after whipping Florida State 38-24 in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl. Not much else to say about the job Tom Herman did this season with the Cougars, but the best news for Houston is he's coming back in 2016, which few thought he would as the wins piled up.

Worst confirmation of an SEC stereotype: College football fans outside the Southeast get tired of hearing about "SEC defenses" and how physical they are. Oh well. Oklahoma State's offensive line was physically overwhelmed by Ole Miss' defense in a 48-20 loss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, even though the Rebels were without All-American D-lineman Robert Nkemdiche. The Cowboys rushed for 63 yards on 30 carries, with running backs producing only 15 yards on 14 carries. Ole Miss had three sacks and 12 tackles for a loss.

Best big guy touchdown: Future first-round NFL draft pick Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss' 315-pound left offensive tackle, hauled in a 2-yard lateral just before halftime of the Rebels' blowout win over the Cowboys.

Best losers: The three 5-7 teams participating in bowls -- San Jose State, Nebraska and Minnesota -- went 3-0 with a combined scoring margin of 26 points.

Worst news: It wasn't a great bowl season, but the end of it meant -- yikes! -- the 2015 college football season is over and we won't see another college football game for seven months. But, hey, that first weekend in September looks awesome.