Wasn’t that special?

There they were, two of the biggest lightning rods in a sport that would have invented lightning rods if Ben Franklin hadn’t gotten there first, trying to ring in the New Year by overcoming their quarterback woes.

Are there any college football followers who don’t either love or hate to see Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly win?

They were separated by just 88 miles on Interstate 4, Harbaugh at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Kelly at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Their days began and ended very differently.

After skating on thin ice for most of the game, Notre Dame scored on an improbable 55-yard touchdown catch by Miles Boykin with 1:28 left from backup Ian Book, who had replaced ineffective starter Brandon Wimbush late in the second quarter.

That heroic play gave the Fighting Irish a 21-17 victory over LSU, which looked like it would survive its own miscue-filled game when it took a 17-14 lead on a field goal with 2:03 left.

The win gave Notre Dame (10-3) its first New Year’s Day bowl win since the 1994 Cotton Bowl.

And if the Irish, who thought they had sorted out Wimbush’s quarterbacking flaws in the bowl run-up, will have to get their signal-callers straight in the off-season, beating LSU in the Citrus Bowl beat the alternative.


After leading 19-3 in the third quarter and being on the verge of a knockout punch, Michigan withered on the vine in a 26-19 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.