The college football bowl season kicks off on Friday at 11:30 a.m. when Miami (OH) takes on UAB in the Bahamas Bowl. When the RedHawks take on the Blazers, it will be the first of over 40 bowl games this year. The final bowl game of the season will be the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, where the winner of the Michigan/TCU semifinal will take on the winner of the Ohio State/Georgia semifinal.
Obviously the semifinals on New Year’s Eve will be the most anticipated bowl games of the year, since they’ll be the only bowl games before the title game that actually mean something. While earning a spot in some of the other New Year’s Six contests is a great thing for a college football program, a little of the luster has been taken off some of those bowl appearances with the emergence of players heading to the NFL and sitting out to protect their draft stock.
Not to say there isn’t some interesting matchups and entertainment to be found in those games — just look at the Rose Bowl between Ohio State and Utah last year. Even though the Buckeyes were without Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, we still saw a very fun game on New Year’s Day in Pasadena. We could get another fun one this year when Penn State takes on the Utes.
Today we want to know what non-CFP bowl game you are most looking forward to this year. There certainly are plenty of options to choose from on this year’s schedule. Maybe it’s another Big Ten team you want to see in action. Four other teams from Ohio are playing in bowls besides the Buckeyes this year. Or it could be a wild offensive shootout that looks like could be on tap in one of these games. The best part is there is no wrong answer!
Today’s question: What non-CFP bowl game are you most looking forward to this year?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: The Alamo Bowl
While it hasn’t been officially announced yet, I’m assuming that Texas running back Bijan Robinson won’t play in this game, as the smart move would be to sit out the game and protect himself from injury ahead of April’s NFL Draft. Even with Robinson on the sidelines, I’m still looking forward to the game between Texas and Washington in San Antonio a couple days before the end of 2022.
One reason I’m excited for this game is because of Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. The Indiana transfer has been great for the Huskies this year, throwing for over 4,300 yards and tossing 29 touchdowns. If Washington played even half their games before all the olds that are Heisman Trophy voters were already asleep, Penix would have made a strong case for being a finalist this year. Washington went from 4-8 last year under Jimmy Lake to 10-2 with Penix and new head coach Kalen DeBoer this year.
Another reason I’m excited to watch this game is to see how former Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers does in his final start before Arch Manning joins the Longhorns in January. Ewers has had an up-and-down college career so far, spending a year in Columbus before returning to the Lone Star State. Ewers was inconsistent at times, so he’ll need a strong performance to try and slow down the calls for Manning to start heading into the 2023 season. With Robinson likely not playing, it will give Ewers even more of an opportunity to impress.
Meredith’s answer: The Gator Bowl
I’m really excited about this year’s bowl schedule. There are so many intriguing games, particularly because the College Football Playoff field looks different than it has in previous seasons, and because there seems to be more parity in the sport which naturally leads to more exciting postseason matchups.
As an honorable mention for pure awkwardness, the Wasabi Fenway Bowl features Cincinnati vs. Louisville. As a reminder, Cincinnati just poached Scott Satterfield from the Cardinals after Luke Fickell left for Wisconsin.
In terms of other non-New Year’s Six bowls, I’m looking forward to Notre Dame vs. South Carolina in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Dec. 30. What’s so exciting about a pair of 8-4 teams, neither of whom are in the Big Ten and one of whom Ohio State already beat this season?
Primarily, these are two teams that didn’t just get hot at the end of the season — they sizzled. South Carolina finished the season with two, top-10 wins over Tennessee and Clemson, two teams playing each other in the Orange Bowl. The Irish, meanwhile, won five-straight at the end of the season before falling to USC in the regular season finale. That streak also included a victory over Clemson.
It’s been an exciting ride watching Marcus Freeman in his first season as head coach with Notre Dame. He definitely struggled early (and it doesn’t help when your first game is on the road against your alma mater), but he’s pulled this Irish squad together and won the second half of the season.
Finally, congrats to Kansas on making their first bowl game since 2008.