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19 signs Cal-TCU was one of the most beautifully hideous bowls ever

And bless them for it.

Cheez-It Bowl - California v TCU Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

1. The 2018 Cheez-It Bowl, a real football game, ended because TCU scored twice, whereas Cal only scored once.

It went to overtime and still only had that many scores. But that barely tells the tale.

2. We knew all along we’d be in for a treat, because the Vegas total for this thing was all of 38.5.

That’s less than half as many points as are anticipated in the Alabama-Oklahoma Orange Bowl.

(Both teams have had all kinds of QB mishaps this season, is part of the reason. Those would continue during this game. Both teams are also pretty good at defense.)

3. There were six interceptions in the first half alone.

That put us on pace for the all-time bowl record, set by Arizona and Auburn in the 1968 Sun Bowl.

4. By the time we hit seven INTs, two of those INTs had come on illegal throws by the same QB.

All TCU’s Grayson Muehlstein wants to do is throw picks, whether permitted or not. ALL PICKS ARE LEGAL.

Also, history was made. More would be made later.

5. A Cal QB change (amid all the INTs) gave us this completely bizarre moment: when the only two QBs in the Power 5 who stayed with the same school through their senior years despite never starting ... were facing each other in a bowl.

6. The graphics people were clearly crying out for help throughout the night.

7. Side discussion: colleague Richard Johnson suffered a ludicrously bad beat in the third quarter. He quite reasonably bet neither team would score in that period.

This appeared to be in some doubt when TCU broke a 58-yard punt return and then converted a fourth-and-2 with 24 seconds left in the third.

But it appeared he’d cashed his bet when TCU’s Sewo Olonilua was stuffed inches shy of the goal line as ESPN broke to commercial, planning to meet the fourth quarter on the other side.

Upon returning, ESPN discovered it’d landed in the third quarter. The play had been reviewed, unbeknownst to anyone outside the stadium. Olonilua had scored.

Even when this game had points, they arrived via rifts in the universe.

8. TCU put in a QB with drop foot, a condition “caused by weakness or paralysis of the muscles involved in lifting the front part of the foot,” per the Mayo Clinic.

The words “he doesn’t have full use of one of his feet” was uttered by the broadcast booth regarding Justin Rogers.

9. The QB with drop foot immediately had to run on the foot over which he had no control.

What the shit is happening?

10. TCU came to its senses and put back in the QB who’d thrown four interceptions but was in charge of both of his feet.

Please don’t have people with anything possibly involving the word “paralysis” play sports, even if the Cheez-It Bowl trophy is at stake.

11. Cal threw a fourth interception, officially getting us to eight total and enshrining this game’s place in the NCAA’s bowl record book.

This will be updated in the NCAA’s next edition of bowl records, and yes, the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl had more interceptioning still on the way:

12. ESPN chose to give [whatever this spotlight honor is] to a player with zero normal yards, and it was a fair decision!

He later ran for the two yards that would help set up the potential winning field goal’s angle, so I think this is extra fair.

13. TCU used a decoy kicker at the buzzer to foil Cal’s icing attempt.

Missed it, though.

No, this happened. I promise.

14. That sent us to overtime!

This amazing, horrific, gorgeous game went to overtime.

15. The first drive of OT was, of course, Cal throwing an interception to TCU, and it very nearly turned into a pick-six, the perfect ending to the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl.

Alas, that would’ve been far too poetic.

16. At least TCU killing Cal’s possession gave the Frogs a chance to win it with one play, right?

No. TCU also had a sideline interference penalty during the game’s ninth interception, pushing its OT drive back to the 40, instead of the 25.

What was the misdeed? A TCU staffer toppling over a yard marker about a mile behind the action:

Forty is way too many yards for anyone in the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl to traverse, so hope was briefly lost. But TCU got some yards!

17. In came Jonathan Song, the kicker TCU had trotted out back in regulation before the whole icing escapade.

Yes, of course Cal iced him again.




18. It’s called the Cheez-It Bowl.

That’s the real name of a sporting event!

19. This is what it’s all about.