Best & worst of the bowl season

Taking a look at the best and the worst of the Pac-10 bowl season.

Best defensive performance (team): Washington held Nebraska to just seven points and 189 yards in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. In their meeting on Sept. 18, Nebraska scored 56 points on 533 total yards.

Best defensive performance (player): Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov had a game-high 12 tackles and three sacks in the Discover Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech.

Best defensive performance (player) II: Washington linebacker Mason Foster had a game-high 12 tackles with two sacks and a pass breakup in the Huskies win over Nebraska.

Best offensive performance (team): Stanford rolled up 534 total yards -- 281 passing, 247 rushing -- in its 40-12 win over Virginia Tech.

Best offensive performance (player): Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck completed 18 of 23 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns in the Orange Bowl.

Best offensive performance (player) II: Washington's Chris Polk rushed for 177 yards and a touchdown against what was supposed to be a rugged Cornhuskers defense.

Best offensive performance in a losing effort: Oregon receiver Jeff Maehl caught nine passes for 133 yards in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against Auburn. He had an 81-yard reception and a leaping catch on a 2-point play that tied the game late in the fourth quarter.

Worst offensive performance: Arizona scored just 10 points against a mediocre Oklahoma State defense. The problem was more sloppiness -- four turnovers, eight penalties -- than anything else.

Worst defensive performance: None. Now isn't that strange? Arizona would seem like a possibility, but the high-powered Oklahoma State offense gained only 312 total yards, even though they scored 36 points. Oregon gave up a bunch of yards, but held Auburn to 22 points -- 21 below the Tigers' season average. Meanwhile, Washington dominated Nebraska, and Stanford held Virginia Tech to 12 points and 288 yards.

Best cheap shot: Arizona safety Adam Hall flattened Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon away from the ball in the Alamo Bowl. It appeared that Blackmon's showboating after a 71-yard touchdown pass didn't amuse Hall.

Worst performance by a future Pac-12 member: Utah, which will join the conference in 2011, got pounded 26-3 by Boise State in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl. The Broncos outgained the Utes 543 yards to 200. The Utes had three fumbles.

Best goodbye: It's been a tough year for Huskies quarterback Jake Locker, but he led the Huskies to a four-game winning streak to end the season -- including their first bowl game since 2002 and their first postseason win since 2000.

Biggest disappointment: The Oregon offensive line couldn't handle the Auburn defensive front, most particularly defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Of course, Fairley is fairly good.

Best catch: At a full sprint, Oregon wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei tipped the ball to himself over his right shoulder in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn and went 43 yards to the Tigers 3-yard line. Ducks fans: Don't think about what happened over the next four plays.

Best quote: When Luck was asked how he reacted to a Cardinal offensive lineman catching a deflected pass in the end zone for a safety, he said (sounding very Stanford-y): "Football can be a very funny game. No point in getting emotionally hijacked over it."

Best quote II: Polk on how Washington dominated Nebraska: "We just ran right at 'em. We knew we could win if we ran the way we know how to run. They couldn't stop it. We whupped a team that didn't respect us."