2023-01-02 07:28

The end is near but before that a huge amount of bowls was played, including the semi-finales.
And we had some huge upsets and surprises.

Thursday, December 29
Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl
Syracuse vs Minnesota

@Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
This game went almost as expected.
Both teams wanted to play, both came out strong on defense and did stop the opponents drives, but after some time the adjustments did bring in some points, 1st for Minnesota in the 2nd quarter scoring 2 Touchdowns and short before the break for Syracuse.
Crucial play was the pick-six Minnesota was able to get in the 3rd quarter, which did maybe break a bit the Orange spirit, but not for long.
Still, Minnesota did pull away by that play and a later TD in the 3rd, so Syracuse had to deal with a 2-score-situation.
The Gophers proved to be a bit better this night and were able to prevent most comeback attempts and when Syracuse finally scored, for the final score of 28-20, it was too late.
The on-side-kick-try did fail and Minnesota did run down the clock.
A good ending for the Gophers, a slightly bad taste for Syracuse, who did start the season so strong and finished so bad.
Jacks BOWL Score: 16-10

Cheez-It Bowl
Oklahoma vs #13 Florida State

@Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
This game did feature a lot of drives and Oklahoma did look like they could pull and upset here.
They did lead 17-11 at the half, including a missed FG-try by the Sooners.
Then came the 3rd quarter, where FSU scored to take the lead, but the 4th quarter was epic after that.
Starting with 18-17 FSU lead, the Sooners had just got the ball from a FSU-INT.
They ran down the field and BA, punched it in. 25-18 for the Sooners.
FSU did not weep, they just scored on the next drive to tie the game at 25.
Oklahoma made the next effort to upset FSU but fumbled and the Seminoles recovered.
Next drive, FSU TD for the 32-25 lead.
Sooners back with the ball ran down the field and ... scored to tie the game at 32.
Still more than 3 min. to go, FSU made another attempt to take the lead, and had to settle for a field goal. 35-32.
Under a minute left, Oklahoma got the ball back and tried hard to get the ball moving, but this time, FSU was sharper and better and won the bowl game.
I guess the Seminoles fans are quite OK with this season, even no Championship was won.
But the team has left the mid-level-field a bit and expectations are likely high for next season.
For the Sooners fans, I think next season the HC will either win or get lost, because expectations are WAY higher in Norman and THIS season was BAD BAD BAD.
Jacks BOWL Score: 17-10

Valero Alamo Bowl
#20 Texas vs #12 Washington

@Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Man, this game started with a shocker, when Washington did throw a pick after a few plays, but Texas did show they came NOT to play afterwards.
After a 3-and-out did Washington get the ball back and scored field goal, and after a Longhorns field goal it was all Washington in the 1st half.
The Longhorns were lucky the Huskies were stopped before the endzone at season end and the Huskies had to take the field goal for the 13-3 lead.
The 3rd quarter started good for Texas, they scored a TD, but were unable to stop Washington and were in the same mess as before after that.
A bit later did Washington score again and Texas was 17 points behind.
With THAT kind of performance ... instant death.
I have to say, they tried to get the game under control, scored a TD after the Huskies TD, kicked a FG a bit later, but the time was just running and running.
Texas got the ball with 30 ticks left to DO something, trailing 20-27, but as often in the game, the offense did not klick and Washington did win this game.
The can be proud, the Longhorns players can weep until next season.
I like the direction the program took, but it's way too less for such a traditional team.
Jacks BOWL Score: 17-11

Friday, December 30
Duke's Mayo Bowl
Maryland vs #23 NC State

@Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
The start of another series of bad picks or maybe unexpected performances.
The 1st half had all the drama and close stuff you like (or not).
Both teams did exchange INTs on consecutive drives.
Both teams did score field goal on the drives after that confusion.
Then the game did settle a bit down and drives ended without scoring, while it must be said, that both teams did end drives by playing on 4th down.
But when NC State did miss on the conversion, Maryland took the ball and scored a TD on a longer drive, now leading 10-3.
NC State needed the rest of the half to score 2 more FGs and the teams did split for the break at 10-9 Maryland.
The 3rd quarter was all defense, except Maryland was one time close enough to try a field goal and made it. 13-9.
Beginning of the 4th quarter was then a moment where NC State had the chance, to turn the game around.
They got the ball on an INT on Marylands 35 yard line but were unable to get it into the endzone and the Wolfpack had to kick a field goal, 13-12.
Biggest problem at that time was, NC State was unable to stop the Terrapins from moving the ball close enough to kick another field goal, 16-12.
Down by 4, NC State needed a TD, badly.
It was still time, but with the performance so far ... They know they need a breakthrough or to score 2 FGs fast.
Neither did happen and when you need plays, you often make errors.
An INT did seal the win for Maryland.
Great game, not my taste on scoring.
Great end of the season for Maryland, NC State was not ready, or not ready enough.
Jacks BOWL Score: 17-12

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Pittsburgh vs #18 UCLA

@Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX
If I would be a Bruins fan ....
The 1st half was so much Kelly-style, former Oregon high-octane-offense-HC, now the Bruins HC, who tries to replicate the success of the Ducks in LA.
UCLA did play good, did make an error by an INT, but was so quick and happy-scoring, they did overcome those and led at the half 21-14.
The problems did start in 2nd half, and I can only put this on the Bruins, playing careless and the Panthers, playing fearless.
On the 1st drive was UCLA intercepted, inside the Pitt redzone.
Then Pitt got intercepted and that went to the house, 28-14.
Next drive did Pitt find the holes in UCLA defense and scored on their own, 28-21.
Beginning of the 4th quarter did UCLA again throw a pick and this time did Pitt score a TD on the next drive. Tied at 28.
On the ensuing kickoff return did then UCLA fumble and gave Pitt the ball again.
Only a field goal came out of that, but that was still a costly play.
Pitt scored another FG a bit later and led 34-28, when finally, Pitt made an error again and UCLA did capitalize on that, scoring a TD on the next drive to take the lead.
Now Pitt was behind by a single point and marched over the field in 30 seconds to score ANOTHER field goal. 37-35.
UCLA with a single chance with 4 ticks left, but of cause that's a 1:1.000.000 and they did NOT make it, did throw another INT.
Pitt won this, which was at least for me unlikely, so congratulation.
UCLA, stop fooling around, if you would play seriously, you would win much more.
Jacks BOWL Score: 17-13

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
#21 Notre Dame vs #19 South Carolina

@TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
And this ...
The 1st half was almost the same kind of vibe as the Pitt-UCLA game, with Notre Dame not good enough to keep up with South Carolina, but South Carolina too careless to seriously pull away.
And to make this clear, Notre Dame did show all the weaknesses they have, but South Carolina did not capitalize enough on those.
At the half did the Gamecocks lead 24-17.
In the 3rd quarter did Notre Dame tie the game, while still giving South Carolina chances to prevent that.
The game was 31-31 when Notre Dame did start to show a bit more spirit.
They score a TD for the lead, they stopped South Carolina, but did again throw a pick, this time for a score. Tied at 38.
But this time ... this time Notre Dame made a long and lasting drive and score a TD, giving South Carolina the ball with less than 2 min. to play.
A GOOD MOOD Gamecocks team could turn this, could win this. But in this game, we had the forcing South Carolina team and they did not made it.
Notre Dame win this as best team in a game of two sloppy teams.
Jacks BOWL Score: 17-14

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl
Ohio vs Wyoming

@Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Wyoming did lead 17-11 at the half.
Ohio took the lead late in the 3rd, 18-17.
Extended it in the 4th, only to have it taken away by the Cowboys with a touchdown.
Trailing by 3 the Bobcats took all they had and went over the field to kick a field goal with 4 ticks left, to tie the game at 24.
Now come the magic.
Wyoming was held for the field goal on the 1st drive, and Ohio took their drive to the house to win 30-27 in OT.
A bit of a good finish for Ohio, I think THAT team on that field could have won the MAC.
I'm curious on the next season.
Wyoming was not clever enough to defend their lead, I hope they get that fixed.
Jacks BOWL Score: 17-15

Capital One Orange Bowl
#6 Tennessee vs #7 Clemson

@Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
The only good pick I made, because Tennessee did dominate.
The Vols did lead 14-3 at the half.
Then it looked like both teams found an equal match, but Tennessee made some adjustments and outscored at the end Clemson in every quarter, winning 31-14.
I think Clemson will be back next season and I think Tennessee might become a force.
Jacks BOWL Score: 18-15

Saturday, December 31
Allstate Sugar Bowl
#5 Alabama vs #9 Kansas State

@Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
The game started with a shocker for KSU fans, when the team did throw an INT on the 1st drive, but in Alabamas half.
The Tide was unable to do something and slowly did the game then developed into a good start for the Wildcats, leading 10-0 at that point.
But as if that was the wakeup call Alabama needed, the team did respond heavily.
To the half they scored 21 unanswered points, after the half additional 14 more and Kansas State was just toothless and clawless.
They made errors, they made small, but crucial mistakes and Alabama made great plays.
At that point, the game was over and the Wildcats tries to get back into the game where managed by Alabama to run down the clock and to avoid big mistakes and plays.
At the end did Alabama win 45-20.
Still a great season for the small program of Kansas State.
For Alabama this was a good ending of a, for Alabama standards of the past decade, mediocre season.
Jacks BOWL Score: 19-15

TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Iowa vs Kentucky

@Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
I did lean on Kentucky on this, but the team did not show up and Iowa just for a quarter, which was way enough.
The 1st quarter? 0-0, with Iowa getting a few more yards than Kentucky.
The 2nd quarter started bad for Kentucky, deep in their own redzone and the punt was quite short, so Iowa did almost start in scoring range their next drive.
Surprisingly they managed to get to long plays going and scored a touchdown.
On the next play, after the kickoff, Kentucky did overthrow their WR and the pick was returned to the house.
And after a few series, another pick was returned by Iowa to the house, making it 21-0.
And from here ... NOTHING on both teams.
A big NOTHING in the complete 2nd half, NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING.
You could say, good managed by Iowa, sure, but overall did they manage to make 1 offense score, the rest was good defense.
Enough to win, sure, but for me way too less.
And Kentucky, the team that did strike fear as spoiler inside the SEC?
No score at all against that Iowa team can only be described as disappointing.
Jacks BOWL Score: 19-16

CFP Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
#3 TCU vs #2 Michigan

@State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
I have to admit, this game was entertaining.
To see the fear and angst on the Michigan fans, then hope, then fear, then hope again and finally ...
Let's start at the beginning of this crazy game.
TCU scored 1st on a pick-six on Michigans 2nd drive.
The Wolverines were quite in shock, were unable to do something on offense and TCU used that to score on their drive, 14-0.
Michigan fans on fear and denial.
The players did respond with a field goal on their next drive.
Then TCU was intercepted and Michigan fans though, NOW comes my team, but the team did fumble the ball away.
Lucky Michigan, TCU was unable to do something, but same is true for Michigan and when TCU got the ball back later, they score again a TD.
All the Wolverines were able to do in that half was to score another field goal with time running out. 21-6 at the half.
Not the score anyone would have expected.
The 3rd quarter became a shocker, 1st it did look like Michigan was able to stop TCU for good and slowly did recover.
They kicked field goal, intercepted TCU and scored a TD afterwards. 21-16.
But on the next TCU drive, the Frogs did against exploit the Michigan defense with easy plays and score also, 28-16.
And Michigan? Did throw another pick-six on the next drive. The fans in panic! 34-16.
Then 3 plays later a Touchdown by Michigan, 34-22.
But TCU unstoppable, 41-22 in 3 plays.
Michigan aggressive in 3 plays again a score, 41-30.
Horned Frogs fumbled on the 1st play of the next drive and Michigan needed 2 plays to score again, 41-38!
The yellow-blue-fans hoping, cheering, YES!
TCU with 3 plays another Touchdown. Wuaaaaaah! 48-38.
Then it seemed the offense power was almost spent, Michigan was stopped, TCU stopped for a FG, then both stopped and Michigan made a long drive to score again. 51-45.
TCU stopped again, but only 52 ticks left on the clock.
Michigan back in the driver seat, they can do it, right?
Well, on 4th down and 10 on their own 25, the snap was bad and the following tries to make a play were unsuccessful, turnover on downs and lost game.
TCU won the bowl and advances to the National Championship game.
Michigan did play really bad in this game here, so many mistakes. And TCU took all the chances thrown to them and made them good, so they belong by rule to the finale.
But deep inside I still believe, they do not belong there.
Neither would have Michigan of course.
Jacks BOWL Score: 19-17

CFP Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#4 Ohio State vs #1 Georgia

@Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
And this game here, it did turn out to be a thriller also.
Georgia missed a FG early, then the teams did exchange some Touchdowns and then Ohio State had a run.
They score after the Georgia TD, intercepted the Bulldogs and scored again. 21-7 for Ohio State.
But Georgia, never were behind that much, did respond and score 2 Touchdowns on 2 drives. Tied at 21.
A bit later they went ahead with a field goal but were unable to stop Ohio State for another TD, so the Buckeyes led 28-24 at the half.
The 3rd quarter was all Ohio State, where they score a TD early, and after another missed field goal by Georgia did Ohio State kick one for good, leading then 38-24.
Again, down by 14 did Georgia respond again, score a FG, a bit later a Touchdown. 38-35.
Ohio State under pressure but managed to kick another field goal on the next drive, 41-35, 2:40 left in the game.
Georgia got the ball back and scored, a bit too fast maybe, taking the lead 42-41.
With 54 second left, Ohio State went over the field, fueled by their QB, who really played a good game and was the reason the team was still in this game.
They did all things right, after the QB ran the ball into field goal range, they ran down the clock, made it good for the field goal try and that try ... went WAY left and Georgia won the bowl and will play for the National Championship.
My feeling is, THIS was the real championship game, but of course Ohio State did also miss the BIG 10, so ...
I don't know, this feels all too strange.
A bit of a lucky ending for Georgia, a bit of a bad finish, especially that poor kicker will chew on that for a VERY long time.
Jacks BOWL Score: 20-17

Almost finished with the bowl season.
The 5th wave has only a few games left and the National Championship game.

Monday, January 2
Saturday, January 1
ReliaQuest Bowl
#22 Mississippi State vs Illinois

@Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Played in the home stadium of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this bowl exists since 1986, until last season as Outback Bowl.
It's another BIG 10 vs SEC bowl.
Mississippi State is 8-4 and had a better season than anticipated, but had a heart breaking change a few weeks ago, when the HC died on a heart attack.
Now the team has to play that game on the condition that the new HC was the former DC and the style will change.
Illinois on the other hand had a good season, also 8-4, but did suck in the last month and did by that pass on the chance to play for the BIG 10 Championship.
For me Mississippi State is clearly the favorite here, but Vegas has them at 3.0-point favorite.
So, basically that's nothing.
The Illini had played good against strong teams and bad against strong teams, so it's wide open, except I don't trust their offense too much.
Their defense did play well, if it was in the game.
This game features so many variables, it's hard to predict.
If Leach would be still with us, I would have said Bulldogs all the way, but now ...
I see them still as favorite, but any team can win.
Bulldogs win.

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl
#17 LSU vs Purdue

@Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
The Citrus bowl was established in 1947 and does feature a SEC team vs a BIG 10 team.
The stadium is only used for Citrus Bowl and that you-name-it-bowl and will likely be the home field of the XFL team Orlando Guardians in 2023.
This matchup is a joke.
Yes, Purdue did play in the BIG 10 Championship game, but only because the other West teams were too dumb to seal the ticket and Purdue was the only team left with least losses.
They got punched on the Championship game by Michigan and are now 8-5.
On the other hand we have LSU, loser of the SEC-Championship game, who lost against the #1 ranked team in the country, granted also with a high margin, finishing 9-4.
Vegas has the same in mind as I have, making LSU a 15.0-point favorite.
THAT's a lot of points as betting line.
Purdue can only win this, if they have a great day and LSU does not want to play, at all.
I'm curious to see the result and a Purdue win would surprise me, given the fact that LSU has on talent level so much more.
Tigers win.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
# 16 Tulane vs #10 USC

@AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
One of the big bowls of the College Football Playoff series, this season one of the at-large-bowls.
Played since 1937 this is open for everyone, invited for those big bowls.
It's played in the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Tulane won the AAC with a record of 11-2.
USC lost the PAC-12 with a record of 11-2.
Want to guess, who is the favorite in this game?
It's of course USC, but only by 2.5 points.
I would have guessed it's a score or more.
Tulane did play very good, no doubt, but can they really stop the offense of USC, with that talent level.
I have doubts.
I believe we will see a closer game, but USC will pull away slowly or by a burst.
Trojans win.

Rose Bowl Game
#11 Penn State vs #8 Utah

@Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
A College Football Playoffs bowl, usually connected with the PAC 12 and the BIG 10.
This season an at-large-bowl.
Played in the Rose Bowl stadium, home of the UCLA Bruins.
The Rose Bowl exists since 1902. The oldest bowl game of all.
Utah, 10-3, won the PAC 12 and did lose a close one last year (against Ohio State).
This season they face 10-2 Penn State, who lost the most crucial games of the season, against Ohio State and Michigan, by at least half a mile.
Vegas has Utah ahead by 1.0 points, which is not much.
The Utes have all the respect, because they did win the PAC-12 in a great manner, so it's open for debate, whether they have that last effort in them AGAIN.
Penn State will be ready, they had issues, not sure how they will perform against Utah.
Both teams can play against physical teams, so flip a coin here.
I give Utah a small bonus here, since they have that territory, a bit better known than Penn State, but the final verdict will come with motivation and a bit of luck.
Utes win.

Monday, January 9
CFP National Championship pres. by AT&T
#3 TCU vs #1 Georgia

@SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Played in the brand new home of the LA Rams and the LA Chargers, this season.
The best 2 teams face off against each other, again.
Well, at least that's the marketing message.
But I'm not even sure WHICH team I would name as the best 2 teams, so those 2 are as good as it can get this season.
TCU had an almost perfect season, only the loss in the BIG 12 Championship game will sting for a while, for some a very long time.
If they win here, this sting will be a bit less painful, but overall, I think it will sting.
Georgia had a lucky ending but did survive the game against Ohio State and can at least say, they ARE Champs already, SEC Champs.
Vegas betting line is Georgia -13.0.
That's something.
It means the win against Michigan doesn't count much for TCU and the almost loss against Ohio State did not discount Georgia.
Maybe they are right, my 1st thought was, that TCU did spend so much energy on that semi-finale, that maybe they will just be exhausted against Georgia.
But Georgia did also needed some extra breath to overcome Ohio State.
I'm all team Georgia and can see 2 scenarios.
The 1st is, the teams will exchange a lot of points, but Georgia scores a bit more.
The 2nd, and for me more likely, Georgia will win by 2 to 3 scores difference.
It will depend on the defense teams, I think Georgia is better set against TCU than Michigan was, especially on the lines, so the TCU QB will need his running shoes more often.
Overall, I hope for another entertaining game.
Bulldogs win.

'Til next time

Rating (2 users):

Tags: Block of GraniteNews

 Share on Facebook  Share on Twitter