It's probably too much to say that Ole Miss' implosion against TCU in the Peach Bowl killed its dream season. After all, the Rebels had already seen notions of a college football playoff berth or appearance in the SEC Championship Game go by the board after a late-season slide that featured losses in three of their last four games against FBS competition. But if there were any good feelings left over after a 9-3 regular season that marked continuing progress for Hugh Freeze, the 42-3 beatdown in the Georgia Dome probably got rid of most of them.
There aren't many ways to overstate the magnitude of TCU's victory -- it was total domination for 60 minutes. Ole Miss ran the ball 37 times for nine yards. Those numbers are not reversed. It works out to an average 0.2 yards a carry. Five sacks of Bo Wallace contributed mightily to that figure.
As for Wallace, he spent much of the game in full-blown "Bad Bo" mode. He ended the day 10-of-23 passing for 109 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. On one play, a fourth-and-goal from the TCU 7 after the game was pretty much out of reach, the snap went past Wallace, who picked it up and, as he was being tackled by TCU players, pitched it backward to Jordan Wilkins, who was promptly brought down for a loss of another five yards. This was well after Wallace threw a pick-six that was remarkable for the fact that both Wallace and the TCU player who intercepted the ball were standing in the end zone at the time.
The Ole Miss defense didn't fare much better, allowing 423 yards of total offense, though the Rebels did force four turnovers of their own. (Which is perhaps even more of a condemnation of the offense and its inability to capitalize on opportunities.) Nine Horned Frogs each had a run or catch of at least 10 yards. TCU was 9-of-15 on third and fourth down.
All of which kicked up the complaints from a TCU fan base that still believes it was unfairly deprived of a place in the playoff. Never mind that Ole Miss recently lost to Arkansas by 30, or that one neutral-site postseason game can't necessarily prove which team deserves or doesn't deserve a place in the bracket. A beatdown like this is going to make its way into the talking points of the fans of the team that won.
For the SEC, this is the first true black eye of the postseason. The LSU loss to Notre Dame wasn't positive, by any means, but it was a mid-tier SEC team suffering a three-point loss after a hard-fought game. This was a complete and thorough annihilation of what was supposed to be an upper-division SEC team in a national showcase bowl.
And for Ole Miss, it was a harsh ending to a season that in some ways was good for the program, but not good enough. Going 9-4 marked the program's best record in five years. But the Rebels were once close to something truly special, and the bitter taste from Wednesday's loss is likely to linger long after the positives are forgotten.