Bowled Over: Young, Other Black QBs Showed Their Dominance in The Postseason

By Tony McClean
Updated: January 7, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — When Texas’ Vince Young scored the game-winning touchdown in Wednesday night’s Rose Bowl against Southern Cal, I couldn’t help but think back to a cold night on December 10th.

That night, the outstanding Longhorn QB finished second to USC’s Reggie Bush in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. Visibly disappointed, Young was gracious in defeat. But in my mind, the seeds of victory were planted that very night in New York.
If I could have seen a thought balloon for Young that night, I think it would have said “Reggie, you may have won the trophy tonight. But I’m taking your title in a month from now”.
Not only did Young bring the Horns its first National Championship since 1969, he also helped put a cap on one of the most exciting college football postseasons in quite a while.
Before the season began, we here at BASN felt that Young, not incumbent Heisman winner Matt Leinhart, was the nation’s top collegiate signal caller.
Following a season that saw Texas go into Columbus and beat Ohio State and a few months later dethrone the defending champs in a pseudo “home” game in the title game, there shouldn’t be any more questions about who is the best QB in college football.
What also made this postseason even more satisfying was the way several prominent Division I-A African-American QBs made their mark. Especially in the BCS bowl games. Just witness these examples:
— In the Sugar Bowl, West Virginia freshman Pat White out dueled Georgia’s D.J. Shockley as the Mountaineers defeated the Dawgs, 38-35 at the Georgia Dome. WVU opened the game with 28-0 lead and held off a Georgia rally for the victory.
— Michael Robinson helped lead Penn State past Florida State, 26-23, in a triple overtime thriller at the Orange Bowl.
— Ohio State’s Troy Smith outplayed the over hyped Brady Smith of Notre Dame as the Buckeyes thrashed the Irish in the Fiesta Bowl, 34-20. OSU churned out nearly 700 yards of total offense in the game.
Also in the lesser bowls, several African-American QBs showed their mettle:
— Missouri’s Brad Smith accounted for 431 (of the Tigers’ 504 yards as they defeated South Carolina 38-31 in the Independence Bowl. He passed for 200 or more yards for the 18th time in his career. He also ran for 150 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries.
— In the Music City Bowl, Virginia’s Marques Hagans threw for a career-high 358 yards in helping the Cavaliers overcome a 14-point deficit to beat Minnesota 34-31 at Nashville.
— Also, Florida’s C.J. Leak helped lead the Gators past Iowa 31-24 in the Outback Bowl. Leak threw for 277 yards and two TDs in the win.
One other African-American QB of note is Appalachian State’s Richie Williams. The Southern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year battled injuries during the postseason, but still helped lead the Mountaineers to the Division I-AA Championship, the first in ASU’s history.
I have to admit that after watching a part of all the bowl games this winter, it’s made me rethink my feelings about the BCS vs. playoff debate.
While I still want to see the National Championship decided on the field and not by a computer, this year’s postseason performances by White, Smith, and others probably would have been an afterthought with a playoff.
I still have a problem with how the corporate maggots (Tostidos Fiesta Bowl, Vitalis Sun Bowl, FedEx Orange, etc.) have controlled college and professional sports, but I also know it’s become a necessary evil.
I don’t know if I’ll feel this same way next year this time, but after this year’s postseason, I have a new appreciation for the bowl parade. This is something I never thought I would ever say.
At least for now, the BCS has an ally.