Kentucky Player Brandin Echols Is Early Candidate for Flop of the Year in Gator Bowl

by Charles Craighill

In the past few years, we have seen some impressive efforts to draw a foul in the sporting world. From LeBron James charges to the Premier League soccer flops, athletes have gone all-in on selling the foul. In this year’s Gator Bowl, Kentucky’s Brandin Echols has thrown his hat in the ring for the best flop of the year. It may only be the second day of January, but Echols’ flop will be hard to beat.

As the broadcaster points out, “Echols has watched some soccer during quarantine,” with that flop.

Echols’ efforts paid off as the referee called a foul for unnecessary roughness against NC State. That pushed State back fifteen yards in Kentucky’s favor. That mistake actually pushed State out of field goal range, giving them a third and long.

Kentucky Joins Several Unranked SEC Teams in Bowl Wins

With their 23-21 win over NC State in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, Kentucky joins the ranks of unranked SEC teams beating ranked opponents in their bowl games. Many of these SEC teams also finished with records under .500.

In years past, teams with losing records would never make it to bowl games. Bowl eligibility typically only includes teams with winning records. However, this year was not like any other in many ways, bowl games being one of them.

In the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces bowl, the 4-7 Mississippi State Bulldogs edged out Tulsa 28-26. The exciting game featured a large full team brawl at one point alongside the tight shootout.

In the Outback Bowl, a 4-5 Ole Miss team faced off against the 11th ranked, 6-1 Indiana. At first glance, it would seem like Indiana would smash Ole Miss just based on record and ranking. However, Ole Miss had no problems toppling Indian by a score of 26-20.

Auburn, on the other hand, was not so lucky in its bowl game against Northwestern, losing 35-19. While they were not ranked, their 6-4 record going into the game suggested it should have been closer. Arkansas, who had not won an in-conference game in several seasons before this year, also could have made a bowl appearance at 3-7, however, the Texas Bowl against TCU was canceled.