In a day that’s more about tradition than meaning, Stanford, with Christian McCaffrey stood out in their Rose Bowl win over Iowa, Ohio State in their dominant performance against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and the rest of the blowouts: Michigan beating Florida in the Citrus Bowl, Tennessee humiliating Northwestern in the Outback Bowl and Ole Miss blasting Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.
#6 Stanford (12-2) 45 Iowa (12-2) 16 (Rose Bowl): Christian McCaffrey is the only name you need to take from this game, as the sophomore running back finished with 172 rushing yards, 105 receiving yards with a touchdown (a couple for Michael Rector) and another punt return touchdown, to finish the season with 3864 all-purpose yards, and somehow not winning the Heisman, because the award is voted on before Bowl games begin. Stanford led 38-0 before the Hawkeyes made themselves noticed, as Stanford pick up their second Rose Bowl trophy under David Shaw.
#8 Notre Dame (10-3) 28 #7 Ohio State (12-1) 44 (Fiesta Bowl): The real best team in the Big Ten looked like it in Arizona, as Ezekiel Elliott runs for 149 yards and four touchdowns, while J.T. Barrett played alone without interruptions, throwing one touchdown pass and rushing for 96 yards. After a 28-7 start the Buckeyes took their foot of the gas for a little bit, but the Irish struggled generating a running game to open up the opposing defense entirely, left without a major bowl game win for another season. Ohio State are now 50-4 under Urban Meyer since he took the job in 2012.
#16 Oklahoma State (10-3) 20 #12 Ole Miss (10-3) 48 (Sugar Bowl): A disappointing showing from the Cowboys, who were outgained by just under 200 yards while Ole Miss get their first 10-win season since 2003 and make amends on their poor New Year’s day showing from last year. Chad Kelly threw four touchdown passes and the most important factor was holding the Cowboys to just 63 yards on the ground, 2.1 per carry.
#13 Northwestern (10-3) 6 #23 Tennessee (9-4) 45 (Outback Bowl): The Vols win a second bowl game in a row and have their best season since 2007, back when Phillip Fulmer was still the head coach, and the big decline began. The Wildcats turned the ball over four times and didn’t score a single time past midway through the second quarter, with Tennessee scoring all their offensive touchdowns on running plays, adding one on a pick-six.
#14 Michigan (10-3) 41 #19 Florida (10-4) 7 (Citrus Bowl): In a couple of days full of blowouts, this one stands out as well. Jim Harbaugh completed a fantastic debut season with the Wolverines, getting three touchdown passes out of Jake Rudock, a defense that held the Gators to just 273 yards and over 500 yards of their own offense, making it only the second time since Lloyd Carr retired that Michigan finishes a season with double digit wins.
The second day of 2016 brings another crop of some interesting bowl games. The best of them might be ranked Oregon and ranked TCU going at it in the Alamo Bowl, with other games being Penn State facing Georgia in the TaxSlayer Bowl, Kansas State playing Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl and West Virginia facing Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl.