2024-01-04 09:20

Oh man, this is just an embarrassment for the whole sport.
I will write down some details about the Georgia-FSU-game here, since it is just the spearhead of a development, which effects almost every team.

Since a decade seasons or so, it became common to skip a bowl game as senior or junior, if the player decides to go for the NFL draft.
The BUSINESS decision is clear, skip the bowl, avoid a bad injury, which might cost you several spots or which will lead to no career at all, hence the loss of millions of dollars.
The COMPETITIVE decision is, that your team gets a shift in team chemistry and strength. Sometimes it does make a team better, since the backups are more motivated and WANT to play, often it does make the team worse, since the players was for a reason the starter and has high hopes for a good draft position.

Since a few seasons on top of that draft-movement the transfer movement came on top. Players decide to transfer, since they don't see a future in the team as starter and most of the time you need to be a starter to get a NFL career. Or they move, because the coach does change, or the coach did not fulfill his promises. A very new reason is money from the NIL-marketing, which gives you the chance to make serious money already on college level.

Florida State, the team which did whine since 4 weeks it was left out of the playoffs as unbeaten team, felt disrespected on that decision day and what did the players do? They skipped the bowl, in big numbers. The 2 top QBs, 2 top RBs, the top TE, 2 top WRs, 3 top DLs, 2 top LBs and 3 top DBs did either skip for the draft or decided to transfer. In total the team went down from the Championship game to the bowl by 29! scholarship players. That's a massive drain of talent and strength.

The curious side of this is, Georgia did not have that kind of problems. Several seniors did play for Georgia and no wonder did Georgia win big in the Bowl.

Prior the bowl there was still some news, that several of the FSU players decided to play did claim National Champion, if they would be the lone unbeaten team. Well, nice try Guys! For one, I would have loved to see the full-strength FSU team playing the Bulldogs. That would have been the chance to show everyone you would have belonged into the playoffs and the team would for sure has made a leap in the ranks, of they would be the lone unbeaten team. I believe they would still have lost the game, but that's just speculations.
For two, if they would have won, regardless the team situation, I still believe they could only CLAIM National Champion as UCF did a few seasons ago, since in worst case the #4 team Alabama could have won the playoffs and would have beaten TWO highly ranked teams on his way, so I think they would be National Champion, period.
For three, you guys HAD the chance, but your teammates did left you dying, so be mad on THOSE and those remaining did play soooooo bad, even with ONE MONTH of preparation, that the team suffered the worst defeat EVER!

So please, FSU, stop whining and get your team fixed.

In general, those kind of situations will happen more often, even with an 8 team playoff setup, since DRAFT and NIL will just not go away and that will mean, the BOWLS beside the playoffs, and even those IN the playoffs, will get some power shift, once the players made up their minds.

And you can be sure, several of those will NOT make smart decisions, since that was the case already with the early draftees and will just escalate with the NIL situation on top.

Now to the games.

The FOURTH SET OF BOWLs from next Saturday, 30th to Monday, 1st of January.

Saturday, December 30
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#11 Ole Miss vs #10 Penn State

The Penn State defense had too many holes and Ole Miss was able to use those too often.
At 1st it did look like Penn State would get buried, but the Lions did have a good 2nd quarter and did cut the deficit to 3 points at the half.
Then the 3rd quarter did happen, and the Penn State offense was unable to anything, while Ole Miss did score more points.
Down by 14 they had finally the chance to at least score something, but the field goal try was blocked and from there the game was done.
Ole Miss scored again and then managed to keep Penn State away often enough to win the game 38:25.
A big season for Ole Miss, again a disappointing season for Penn State, even they had a good one, but just the final details were not enough to get MORE.
Jacks BOWL Score: 20-13

TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Auburn vs Maryland

I cannot describe how disappointed I was, when I did read the final score.
Maryland had won, 31:13.
Auburn lost the 1st quarter 21:0!
After that the teams did struggle through the remaining game more or less on the same level.
It seems the Auburn team, which did ALMOST win on the last gameday against the later crown SEC-Champ Alabama was just a one-night-phenomenon and the REAL Auburn team did show up again, which struggled against a mid-level-BIG10 team big time, even with 1 Month of preparation.
Congratulation to Maryland, I hope you can build on that and get finally a team together which makes the BIG10 interesting again.
Auburn is in rebuild mode, let's see, whether the current coach gets this done in his 2nd or 3rd season. The 1st season was rubbish.
Jacks BOWL Score: 20-14

Capital One Orange Bowl
#6 Georgia vs #5 Florida State

Here we have the game, I did write about at the top.
Georgia did win ... 63:3! The margin of 60 points is the highest EVER in ANY BOWL!
And that between #5 vs #6.
Shame on all the FSU players, who thought they were destined for a National Championship and bolted out, when the REAL contest started.
Jacks BOWL Score: 21-14

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl
Toledo vs Wyoming

This must have been an intense game.
Wyoming with the send-off-game for their HC, led early by 2 field goals, but then Toledo did start playing and lead at the half 10:6.
The Cowboys did try their best on offense, but the Rockets defense was too good, scored even a Safety and when Toledo got the ball, they managed to score a field goal on top, now leading 15:6.
The 4th quarter started, and Wyoming had to punt, but stopped Toledo also and got the ball back.
They marched over the field and score a TD, still 8:30 left to play.
Now they needed a stop, but Toledo did eat down the clock.
When the Rockets were forces to punt from the Wyoming 40 it was still 4+ minutes left, but 94 yards to the endzone and roughly 64 for a field goal.
But Wyoming did get the yardage, play by play, went over the field, burned the clock down and when they did settle for a field goal with time running out, it was just a 24 yarder to win 16:15.
Jacks BOWL Score: 22-14

Monday, January 1
ReliaQuest Bowl
Wisconsin Badgers vs #13 LSU

LSU needed a lot of time, to get Wisconsin under control and if the Badgers would have played this way during the season, they would have won their division.
The Tigers were unable to score in the 1st quarter and on the other hand their defense was unable to stop Wisconsin.
When LSU finally got points on the board, only 6 minutes were left in the half, and they were 14 points behind.
They scored a TD and thanks to the missed field goal of Wisconsin on the next try did LSU score again to tie the game.
Still, LSU was unable to stop Wisconsin and allowed another Badgers-TD, were intercepted afterwards and only the greed of Wisconsin on 4th and 1, which stopped the Badgers drive, did prevent more points until the half.
In the 3rd quarter did then LSU score 2 Touchdowns but allowed still 10 Badgers points at the same time, so Wisconsin did still lead 31:28.
It went into the 4th quarter and suddenly both teams were unable to move the ball for a scoring drive.
When LSU finally got some yardage and a scoring drive together, it was only 3 minutes left, but they took the lead for the 1st time in the game.
Now Wisconsin had to act quickly, which is not their strength.
They were able to reach roughly the LSU 40-yard line, but down by 4 they needed a TD, so they did play 4th down and failed.
LSU did run down the clock and won 35:31.
Jacks BOWL Score: 23-14

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl
#17 Iowa vs #21 Tennessee

This went as expected.
Iowa did score NOTHING!
On the other hand, did Tennessee score plenty of times, so they did win, 35:0.
What a joke that Hawkeyes team did actually win their division ....
Jacks BOWL Score: 24-14

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
#23 Liberty vs #8 Oregon

And another senseless matchup, which ended as expected.
Oregon won 45:6 and Liberty did manage only half of what Oregon was able to do and added 2 turnovers on top.
I do appreciate the rule to put in a group of 5 team into the new years bowls, but please ... s e l e c t carefully.
Jacks BOWL Score: 25-14

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential
#4 Alabama vs #1 Michigan

I think this game did feature everything you want to see as a football match.
Both teams were on the same level, did score often, but none did dominate.
No turnovers in the 1st half.
Michigan did lead at the break 13:10.
The 3rd quarter stayed scoreless and did feature only defense.
Short after the start for the 4th quarter did Alabama carry over a long drive and finally score a TD to take the lead, 17:13.
That did start the final, more hectic, period of the game.
Michigan did punt on the next drive, Alabama did fumble and lost the ball, Michigan was stopped and missed a 49-yarder FG-try.
With the spectators on the fences did then Alabama manages to get a longer drive, but capped it only with a field goal. 20:13.
Michigan got the ball and marched over the field and ... scored a TD to tie the game.
With 1:30 left to play, Alabama got the ball and started a drive, but was forced to punt. The punt was set great, deep in the Michigan half, the returner did run backwards, even fumbled and the ball was recovered on the 1 yard line by ... Michigan.
Michigan had 30 seconds to score and not getting tackled inside the endzone. Their 1st run was for just 1 yard, and they then kneeled down to get into overtime.
Now the Wolverines did score within 2 plays a TD and put pressure on Alabama.
The Crimson Tide did struggle a bit on offense and when it was 4th and goal, the Defense of Michigan did step up one more time to win the game.
Michigan will play for the National Championship, Alabama can go on vacation.
Jacks BOWL Score: 25-15

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl
#3 Texas vs #2 Washington

And the last Bowl of this set.
Another great game, having all you want for a Semi-Finale.
The 1st half was very exciting, with both teams playing good football, just one turnover, which was crucial, and the rest just stop or scoring.
Overall did Washington get the lead 3 times with 3 TDs and Texas did score 3 times a TD also and tied the game at 21 at the half.
The crucial fumble did happen on a punt return, where Texas did punt and the Huskies returner lost the ball and Texas recovered in ball in best field position, setting up one of the TDs to tie the game, at that time at 14.
The 3rd quarter was all Washington. Texas was fumbling after a Huskies TD and giving the Huskies the chance to pull away with a field goal. 31:21 at that time.
Texas did fumble again after another Huskies FG, but at that time did Washington then just punt and now did Texas finally get their things together and started scoring again.
They scored a TD to cut the deficit and limited Washington to another field goal. 37:28 now.
Texas got the ball and made it to the 7-yard line of Washington but failed to get into the endzone and settled for a field goal. 37:31 for Washington.
With more than a minute left the onside kick did fail, but Washington was stopped early.
At 41 ticks left did Texas get the ball back and tried to get a TD.
Several plays did fail, but 2 big plays did bring Texas to Washingtons 12-yard line.
The final play was 4th and 11 on the Huskies 13-yard line with 1 tick left.
The ball went into the endzone, and the Huskies DB did bat that ball away to reach the National Championship game with a final score of 37:31.
Jacks BOWL Score: 26-15

And that's all, except the final game, the game everyone did wait for since start of the season.

The FIFTH and FINAL SET OF BOWLs on Monday, 8th of January 2024.

Monday, January 8
College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T
#2 Washington vs #1 Michigan

@NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Played in the stadium of the Houston Texans this season.
The best 2 teams face off against each other, again.
Well, at least that's the marketing message.
The truth is the winners of the 2 semi-finales do meet here and in some seasons, those were not the 2 best.
I did skip the year naming on the name of the bowl (it had 2024 in it), since at least it does confuse ME.
This is the championship for the 2023 season, played in January 2024. It should not name 2024 from my point of view, but nobody listens to me, so I scrap the year.
Since starting the CFP-Series, the record of winning is (year is the season, not the date of contest) Ohio State (2014), Alabama (2015, 2017, 2020), Clemson (2016, 2018), LSU (2019), Georgia (2021, 2022).
That makes at 9 games, 6 titles for the SEC, including a 4-game-winning streak for the conference.
This season we have for sure NO SEC team winning, so the streak will break.
It's the 1st time since 2014 that no SEC team is in the game and as 2014, we have the PAC-12 Champ against the BIG10-Champ (in 2014 it was Ohio State winning against Oregon).
In the old days, that kind of matchup was reserved for the Rose-Bowl, but times have changed.
Michigan in favored in this game by 4.5 points, which is a lot from my point of view.
Granted they did take down the SEC Champ, that has to be respected.
I would have said the line should be less, since Washington did prove to find ways to score, and their defense did step also up big time when needed.
The key to the game will be the Michigan Defense against the Washington Offense.
If the Wolverines can stop them, often enough, the game will be all Michigan, because they will likely be able to score plenty of points against the Huskies on offense.
But if the Washington Offense can control the pressure as they did against Texas, then the Huskies QB, Penix, will have time, can shoot, can run and then the game will be a shootout and small errors can become game deciding.
I pick Michigan, since they did look a bit more solid, but I expect a close game, and I would not be surprised, if the Huskies can upset Michigan.
Wolverines win.

'Til next time

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