1
16
Ohio State
Troy
47
7
8
9
Boise State
Auburn
27
32
4
13
LSU
BYU
41
23
5
12
USC
Wake Forest
29
20
3
14
Michigan
Houston
41
13
6
11
Louisville
Notre Dame
38
24
7
10
Wisconsin
Oklahoma
23
29
2
15
Florida
C. Michigan
37
10
1
9
Ohio State
Auburn
4
5
LSU
USC
3
6
Michigan
Louisville
10
2
Oklahoma
Florida
1
16
Ohio State
Troy
47
7
The 2006 December Madness tournament opened with the biggest blowout in the three year history of the event as top-seeded Ohio State crushed the Sun Belt Conference champion Troy Trojans 47-7. Troy, which came within two scores of ACC teams Florida State and Georgia Tech on the road during the regular season, made it a game for the first 20 minutes, even pulling within three points at 10-7 early in the second quarter.

Then, someone woke up Heisman Trophy winning senior quarterback Troy Smith to remind him that this game mattered and that everyone in the nation was tuning to in to watch the historical event. Ohio State answered Troy's unexpected touchdown from junior Omar Hougabook to freshman Andrew Davis with an eight-play 53 yard drive that featured a 17 yard hookup between Smith and his former high school teammate Ted Ginn Jr. and a five-yard touchdown pass to freshman standout running back Chris Wells.

Smith followed that scoring drive with a game-changing possession. Leading 17-7 with just 1:21 remaining in the second quarter, Ohio State, which had just held Troy to a three-and-out, quickly, yet methodically, moved the ball down the field 66 yards in six plays before Smith hit tight end Rory Nicol for the 12 yard score.

The second half was all Buckeyes as the Trojans only crossed midfield briefly at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Ultimately, Smith and the entire OSU offense did not disappoint. For the game, Ohio State outgained Troy 570-230 yards. Smith accounted for 406 of those yards on 35 pass attempts and eight carries to go with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The Buckeyes will move forward to play the winner of the #8 Boise State vs. #9 Auburn contest.

Player of the game: Troy Smith (29-35, 396 yards, 5 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Ohio State 100% - Troy 0%
8
9
Boise State
Auburn
27
32
With the winner earning a chance to take on top-seeded Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the 2006 December Madness tournament, Boise State and Auburn stepped up their intensity for the playoffs. The teams essentially borrowed from the other's playbook with Boise State pounding the ball consistently, and Auburn taking a couple more deep shots with passes over the top.

Boise State kicked things off with a bang as sophomore running back Ian Johnson, the nation's leader in touchdowns, burst through one of the SEC's best front sevens to scamper 68 yards for a touchdown on the Broncos' second offensive play. Auburn could only muster two John Vaughn field goals in its next three possessions, ending the first quarter down 7-6.

The Tigers took the lead at the start of the second quarter after a six play 67 yard drive that saw Auburn gain 56 of those yards on the ground. The combatants traded touchdowns and the first half ended with Auburn leading 20-14. Both defenses strengthened in the second half and a field goal battle ensued until late in the game.

After an Anthony Montgomery field goal put the slightly favored Broncos in the lead at 27-26 with just 1:39 left to play in the game, unheralded two-year starting quarterback Brandon Cox broke out two of his best plays of the season with a first down connection to junior Rodgeriqus Smith and a 33 yard bomb to senior wideout Courtney Taylor. A Brad Lester 11 yard run plus an incidental facemask penalty put the Tigers on the 1 yard line down just one with 20 seconds to go and no timeouts. After a failed pass into the endzone, head coach Tommy Tuberville put his trust into his 202-pound senior running back Kenny Irons who did not let him down as he scored the go-ahead touchdown with only six seconds remaining.

The efforts of Irons as well as the entire Auburn defense proved that the team, which defeated #4 LSU and #2 Florida, deserved to be part of the Madness. Irons finished with 99 yards rushing and the Tigers winning touchdown, while his Bronco counterpart Johnson notched 118 yards and two touchdowns. In the end, the Tigers' suspect defense kept the Broncos out of the endzone enough times to advance. The ninth-seeded Auburn Tigers will move forward to play #1 OSU in the December Madness quarterfinals.

Player of the game: Kenny Irons (128 total yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Auburn 61.2% - Boise State 38.8%
4
13
LSU
BYU
41
23
In a game that featured one of the nation's best offenses in 13th seeded BYU and one of the nation's best defenses in 4th seeded LSU, it was LSU's offense that won out. The Tigers set the tone in usual fashion by outgaining the Cougars 114-58 and outscoring them 10-0 on a Colt David 44 yard field goal and 14 yard Dwayne Bowe touchdown from junior quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the first quarter.

Senior BYU quarterback John Beck, the nation's second highest rated passer, rallied the Cougars back, leading the team to a field goal and touchdown to surprise viewers and knot the score at 10 midway through the second quarter. The ever-fickle LSU running game responded with two huge plays, a 45 yard burst from 6'0 228 pound sophomore running back Jacob Hester and 48 yard dash by freshman Keiland Williams, to put the Tigers on top for good.

A Russell-led passing game kept the margin at two scores for the rest of the contest. The much-discussed faceoff between BYU's offense and LSU's defense played to a virtual stalemate. BYU scored 23 points, more than regular season Tigers' opponents Arizona, Auburn and Alabama (among others) and gained 469 total yards from scrimmage, yet turned the ball over three times with two interceptions and one fumble.

Russell, who failed to receive much Heisman hype despite finishing third in the nation in passing on the country's fourth rated team, earned Player of the Game honors with 256 yards passing and two touchdowns. Fourth-seeded LSU will advance forward to play the winner of the #5-#12 USC-Wake Forest game.

Player of the game: JaMarcus Russell (21-28, 256 yards, 2 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: LSU 86.6% - BYU 13.4%
5
12
USC
Wake Forest
29
20
One may have looked bad in losing its last regular season game and the other won its BCS conference championship game, but you may never have known it as the USC Trojans prevailed over Wake Forest. Coming off an impressive performance against Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game, the Demon Deacons kept their upset hopes alive and seemingly accidentally stayed in the game until the end against the vaunted Trojans.

After leading 7-3 early in the game, Wake Forest's deficit was just three points at halftime. Three third quarter Mario Danelo field goals were not enough to put the Deacs away and the surprise ACC Champs were able to pull within two after freshman CJ Gable fumbled on the Trojans' 37 and Wake Forest recovered and capitalized.

Jim Grobe's magical season ended quickly though when Desmond Reed returned a punt to the Wake Forest 37 and junior quarterback John David Booty hit tight end Fred Davis, a converted wide receiver, for a 28 yard TD down the middle of the field with just 3:53 remaining that extended USC's lead to 29-22 and put the game out of reach.

The experienced Demon Deacons will lose many of their starters to graduation, yet, assuming Grobe returns, the groundwork has been laid to make Wake Forest an ACC team with which to contend for years to come. After scoring the Trojan's first touchdown on an electric 17 yard bubble screen, Dwayne Jarrett ended the game with 110 yards receiving yards to lead all players. Gable, who was only making his second career start, excelled despite the fumble with 115 yards rushing on 27 carries. The balanced USC Trojans will look to keep up their winning ways when they take on LSU in the quarterfinals of the December Madness playoffs.

Player of the game: Dwayne Jarrett (110 yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: USC 85.5% - Wake Forest 14.5%
3
14
Michigan
Houston
41
13
After putting together one of the best seasons from any team this season , only losing to top-seeded Ohio State, third-seeded Michigan earned the right to play in the playoffs and to face one of the weakest qualified teams in a Houston squad that defeated Southern Miss to win the C-USA Championship.

The Wolverines did not disappoint. He may have been the best player on the field in the best game of the year when Michigan took on Ohio State in Columbus and junior running back Mike Hart proved that he will be a player to reckon with in this tournament with 276 total yards and three touchdowns against Houston. Hart ran for almost six yards-per-carry and caught three Chad Henne passes in the amazing all-around effort.

The most amazing thing about the contest though may have been how well-rounded a game the Wolverines played. One of the nation's top rush defenses held the Cougars to just 2.1 yards-per-carry and limited Kevin Kolb, the nation's seventh leading passer, to just one TD. The offense was more than just Hart as well. Henne threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns in the blowout victory.

Are the Wolverines that good? Is their defense or offense their greatest strength? And if both are strengths, what are Michigan's weaknesses? More questions will be answered as the Wolverines move forward to face the victor of the Louisville-Notre Dame first round matchup.

Player of the game: Mike Hart (276 yards, 3 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Michigan 99.2% - Houston 0.8%
6
11
Louisville
Notre Dame
38
24
After being dominated by the only top 15 teams, #3 Michigan and #5 USC, that they played and just getting by Michigan State, UCLA and Georgia Tech, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish faced a true measuring stick type of game with a matchup against Big East Champion Louisville. This season, the Golden Domers just do not measure up to the best.

After trading touchdowns throughout most of the first half, Louisville struck with a big score as the first half expired. Junior quarterback and first round NFL prospect Brian Brohm connected with Jimmy Riley for a 39 yard bomb in the corner of the endzone. It was Riley's only catch of the game and just his second touchdown of the season as the Cardinals' lead was extended to 24-14.

Brohm then hooked up with All-Big East wideout Harry Douglas for two long touchdowns to all but ice the game. Trailing 38-24 in the fourth quarter, there was no magic left in senior Brady Quinn's arm, as he had one pass intercepted late and threw several incomplete attempts toward the endzone.

In all, Brohm outshined the consensus #1 rated NFL prospect Quinn, throwing for 366 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against the much-maligned Notre Dame pass defense. Quinn finished with 313 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on ten more attempts than Brohm.

For Louisville, Douglas, who did his best Mario Manningham impression, accumulated 170 yards receiving to go with his two touchdowns; and, running back Kolby Smith, who was thrown to the wolves early in the season when Michael Bush was lost for the year, added 157 total yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals will move forward to face third seeded Michigan in the December Madness quarterfinals.

Player of the game: Brian Brohm (22-31, 366 yards, 4 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Louisville 84.6% - Notre Dame 15.4%
7
10
Wisconsin
Oklahoma
23
29
In the biggest upset – on paper – of the first round of the tournament, Oklahoma upended the Wisconsin Badgers by six points. The win should not be all that surprising considering that Oklahoma won the Big 12, losing one of its games in a highly controversial contest in Oregon and that Wisconsin finished third in its own conference and counted wins against the likes of Western Illinois, Buffalo, Bowling Green and San Diego State.

Plus, Adrian Peterson returned from a broken collar bone injury that sidelined him for much of the season to square off against one of the nation's most unheralded running backs in freshman PJ Hill. Peterson and the Sooners got the best of the Badgers in an exciting game that was in doubt until the late moments.

Things looked like they may get a little out of hand early though after OU took the opening kickoff and marched 73 yards on its first drive to score on a flare pass to sophomore Malcolm Kelly from Paul Thompson, a player who had started the season at wide receiver himself before likely starter Rhett Bomar was ruled ineligible for an NCAA rules violation.

The next Wisconsin drive stalled and Oklahoma was able to capitalize on its next drive with a field goal to make the score 10-0 early. The Badgers were able to respond behind the senior leadership of quarterback John Stocco who completed three consecutive passes of 17, 17 and 13 yards before Hill took the ball in for a one yard TD plunge.

The Sooners answered with another long touchdown drive, but then both offenses, probably more due to the great defenses on both sides than anything, grew stagnant and the margin was still within two scores until a Garrett Hartley 28 yard field goal opened the fourth quarter. PJ Hill carried the load on the next drive and then Stocco finished things off with a pass to Paul Hubbard in the endzone. A 6:21 drive that ended in a field goal all but killed the Badgers' chances at victory.

Yet, down 29-16 with just 1:35 remaining, Wisconsin put together an uncharacteristically quick scoring drive and pulled within six. Facing an onside kick and eerie sense of déjà vu, the Sooners shook off visions of Ducks and faulty replay to recover and ice the game.

Kelly, who finished with 993 yards and 10 touchdowns in a relatively quiet regular season, took home Player of the Game honors with 147 yards receiving, scorching a secondary depleted by the suspension of Jack Ikegwuonu. After taking on a stellar rushing attack in Wisconsin, Oklahoma will advance to face a prolific pass offense in either Central Michigan or Florida.

Player of the game: Malcolm Kelly (147 yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Oklahoma 63.7% - Wisconsin 36.3%
2
15
Florida
C. Michigan
37
10
It may have been an explosive offense in the MAC, but the SEC Champion Florida Gators shut down the Central Michigan passing game en route to a 37-10 victory. Despite controversy on seeding, Florida looked every bit of the second best team in the nation in a contest that was never in doubt.

The Chippewas lone touchdown came on a fluky 43 yard scamper by Ontario Sneed midway through the third quarter when Central Michigan was already down four scores. Otherwise, it was all Gators as Florida outgained the Chippewas 440-352 and forced three turnovers, all interceptions, while losing just one fumble and not throwing any picks.

Senior quarterback Chris Leak, who now holds just about every Florida career passing record, was his usual, efficient self, completing 71.4% of his passes and throwing to six different receivers. The Gators did not use freshman Tim Tebow in the game, most likely saving him for a tougher matchup, and only ran a limited number of gimmicky plays. They did snap the ball directly to the versatile Percy Harvin who tallied 86 total yards.

Probably the best news for the Gators was the play of kicker Chris Hetland who made all three of his field goal attempts, despite connecting on just four field goals in the regular season.

While they lose head coach Brian Kelly and their opportunity to shock the world this season, all is not lost for Central Michigan. Standout skill position players Dan LeFevour, Ontario Sneed and Bryan Anderson are all underclassmen. Florida will move forward to take on Oklahoma, one of two teams to upset its opponent in the first round of the December Madness tournament.

Player of the game: Chris Leak (20-28, 240 yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Florida 96.0% - C. Michigan 4.0%

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