2022 NCAA Football Thread

Bowl Pick'em anyone?
Twitter factoid of the day: Eleven percent of current fbs head coaches were on Saban's staff at Alabama or LSU. Speaks to his longevity as much as anything, but still . . .
I agree, the losing to the same team twice puts USC at #5. To be fair, the latter one was with Williams playing hurt, but they looked flat without him healthy. And it was painful watching those last five to ten minutes, I'm sure he was only out there because he insisted on it, but Riley should have been more active at protecting him, especially once it was clear they weren't going to win, the O-Line couldn't do it and every time he was sacked I was afraid he'd suffer a more serious injury.

Alabama-KState and Tennessee-Clemson sound like good matchups. Penn State-Utah in the Rose Bowl also looks like a good one. Notre Dame-South Carolina in the Gator Bowl could be interesting too, the Gamecocks are hot right now, and Notre Dame has improved as the season progressed.

USC, yeah, that has to be a bit disappointing. Tulane doesn't look to be a Cincinnati or UCF level Group of 5 champion, or even quite Coastal Carolina of a couple years ago. But they'll have a chance to show they are.

Spoiler Local Teams :
Local teams, Cincinnati got Louisville in the Fenway Bowl with a morning kickoff. That's got to be a little disappointing, Louisville is 7-5 (Cincy is 9-3), and instead of going somewhere warm, they're going north in December.

Toledo drew Liberty in the Boca Raton Bowl, they're probably happy with that. I haven't figured out why Liberty is flaming out (besides maybe the coach moving to Auburn?), losing to both UCONN and New Mexico State recently after nearly being ranked, but Toledo gets to go somewhere warm with a chance to win against a team that was highly respectable for the first nine weeks of the season.

Ohio gets Wyoming in the Arizona Bowl. Not too bad considering they lost the MAC Championship to Toledo, I suppose? At least it's warm. I didn't watch any Ohio games this year, and was only half paying attention to what I saw of Wyoming-Boise State, but as a 9-4 MAC team, a chance to beat a 7-5 Mountain West team somewhere warm isn't bad.

Bowling Green got New Mexico State in the Motor City Bowl's less-well-named successor. Sounds about right opponent-wise, and it's a short trip up the highway so they ought to have more fans at the game than New Mexico State.

Looks like South Alabama drew the Hilltoppers in New Orleans. Probably more exciting for Western Kentucky than vice versa? At least South Alabama isn't going to Massachusetts...

Now the question is do I want to pay for a streaming service that has ESPN in order to watch bowl games at home? At this point I'm leaning towards just meeting up with friends or going out to watch a few over that long New Year's weekend.


Edit now that I see posts 41/42: How do we organize a Bowl Pick-em? Just post our predictions in a post in this thread?
I like all the SEC's draws really. Florida is probably a little outmatched and LSU should roll Purdue, but otherwise I'd expect all to be good, entertaining games . . .

EDIT: if y'all want to do a pick 'em I'll try to make some picks but it's not really my thing. Same reason I don't gamble, I don't need a reason to make the games more compelling, I'm too invested in the sport for my own good already ; p

Password: ThunderFall
eh, either I don't have an espn profile or I forgot it ; p

EDIT: I'll just make my picks here. Picking both Alabama teams tomorrow. UAB should have an easy win, Troy has been very good all year and is perhaps more motivated than most bowl teams for being matched in the CUSA/Sunbelt title game ; p

I'll go ahead and make Saturday picks as well. Louisville, Oregon State, Fresno, Southern Miss, SMU and Boise . . .
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Loath tho I am to double post, I guess I can't edit now w/o messing up the timestamp on my previous picks? I'll pick the next two days now: Marshall, San Jose and Toledo . . .

7-1 so far \o/

Not sure I would have picked UAB if I'd known McBride wasn't playing, but I didn't : )
Caught a few plays of Toledo-Liberty while out with some friends on Tuesday, but overall I haven't been following bowl season. Too focused on Christmas preparations plus them not being over-the-air. Toledo-Liberty was a nice close one though.

Florida-Oregon State was an odd pairing. I know the pundits love to talk about whether Florida is back every year (along with Florida State, Nebraska, and most of all Texas), but who really thought they'd have a good chance of beating a very good Beaver team in a year where they lost to Vandy? Or maybe Oregon State got overlooked and the Las Vegas Bowl picked them as the best team available and no challenging opponents were left, I don't know. Just one of those oddities where you wonder why they wouldn't find an 8-4 Power 5 team for the Beavers to play instead of a 6-6 one.
Florida was no surprise but I was a little disappointed in Mizzou. They're not a great team but I thought their defense would have given them a better chance v Wake . . .

Finally getting into some of the bigger name games tomorrow, with our first ranked v ranked P5 matchup coming Thursday night . . .

It's maybe been a slow start but there should be five days of some pretty good football between now and Monday . . .
Heartbreaker in the Peach Bowl. Chance to end 2022 with a bang, instead ended it with a wide field goal left. Sooooo close to knocking off Georgia!

That said, I'm pleased that Ohio State gave Georgia a very tough game. Even with Alabama walloping Kansas State (a game I didn't catch), I think the playoff outcomes this weekend are vindicating the Committee's choices.

I was pleased to see TCU pull off the upset. Talk about a Big Twelve style shootout! I don't know if they can give Georgia as good of a game as Ohio State did, but I'll be rooting for the Hypnotoad to pull another one out of the hat.

They might have a chance; in the post-game interview, Kirby Smart pretty much said he wasn't expecting to play TCU, and did say he didn't know much about them, so they might have some element of surprise in their favor.

I only watched the second half of each game though; with New Year's Eve and a gathering partially of football fans and partially not of football fans, our attention was divided. Would've been nice if the games had been on the 30th or the 1st so we could have had two days of gathering and partying, one focused on non-football stuff and one focused on football games. As good as each game turned out, it would have been worth watching the whole of each game. But oh well. It was really good catching up with the non-football people as well.
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I was, as always, pulling for the teams that actually earned their spots in the playoff and so was disappointed that Michigan lost. It is nice that they were both very entertaining games tho . . .

I watched in a bar full of mostly Alabama fans and was surprised at how heavily the crowd favored TCU and UGA. I guess I could see TCU, everyone loves a Cinderella/underdog, but for me I wanted Michigan both bc they were the deserving team and also bc they were one of the big storied programs from my childhood. I was a little more surprised at the support UGA got since they are Alabama's primary rival rn, as far as whether our dynasty is ending and theirs is beginning etc. I favored UGA both bc they were the team that earned their way in and bc I still like Kirby from his time at Alabama, plus the SEC tie-in ofc. I definitely prefer an UGA win in the final but I don't think I'll be particularly invested in the outcome of that one . . .

The Alabama game was nice bc it was the only time all year that we really looked like the team we thought we were going to be going into the season. Oh well, new year new team ; p

Meanwhile Iowa/Kentucky just made me sad with all those players opting out. Why even play at all at that point. Probably what the Sugar bowl would have looked like if Bryce Young and Will Anderson hadn't stuck around for one more game . . .
I thought we were in agreement in the top four? Unless you're arguing for a return to a two-team playoff? :) Or for only-undefeateds if there are undefeateds.

Alabama did make the best case they could have for being a top-flight team, a better argument than Saban's we're-good-enough-with-two-losses (and-close-to-four) lobbying. But it was a game too late. And all four of the teams that made it played like they deserved it.

I know some people locally who were rooting for an Ohio State/Michigan rematch, but that would have meant rooting for our archrival, so that was a no-go in my book. Sure, Michigan winning would have been good from a strength-of-conference standpoint but they're still our rivals and they did well enough to be respectable. Plus who doesn't love rooting for the underdog? There's no fun in rooting for a 13-0 team just because they are 13-0.

It is curious that Bama fans were rooting for UGA by a large margin. Are they the emotional rival as well as the able-to-beat-us-the-last-few-years rival? For a good part of the 2010s, Ohio State's can-beat-us rivals alternated between Wisconsin and Penn State, and for a couple years even Michigan State, but none of them ever was the top emotional rival. As Coach Meyer knew, the most important game to win was always the Michigan one, even if they weren't having the best year. So I guess the question is, is Georgia of that level of importance to Bama, where they're emotionally more or a rival than Auburn, or LSU? And Tennessee too?

Spoiler Targeting Discussion :

I'm curious what those who didn't have a favorite team in the game thought about the not-actually-targeting call on Georgia in the third quarter, that knocked Harrison Jr out (in multiple senses of the word)? Usually the debate on targeting is a call that gets called targeting but where the collision appears to be incidental, i.e. the defender is running towards the QB and the QB moves in a way (or is pushed in a way) that the defender happens to be heading towards the QBs head, and doesn't have time/has too much momentum to avoid the collision.

This was the opposite, where everything looked like a textbook case of targeting, helmet-to-helmet in real time and as the on-field refs say it, it still looks like it in the replay footage, an obvious intention to hit the head/neck area at speed, and the Georgia guy focusing 100% on knocking Harrison Jr out and not turning to look for the football at all. Link to the play for those who missed it.

For the Georgia defense it arguably was the "smart" thing to do even assuming the on-field targeting call had been upheld, knock out Ohio State's best offensive player and lose a guy who's been being beaten by him all day anyway. But from a why-do-we-even-have-this-targeting-rule-anyway standpoint, I don't understand how that isn't targeting if the goal is to prevent concussions and the players' health.

To be fair, Michigan fans probably have the same question after TCU's bone-headed probably-also-targeting play at the end of that game that was called not-targeting after review. The velocities and number of concussions caused was not as high in the Harrison Jr case, but it also looked pretty intentional (if much more stupid) and probably should have been called. I can kind of see where that one was a tough spot for the refs, either way one team's fans were going to call foul (or not-foul), as it wasn't quite blatant enough for TCU fans to willingly say that was on their guy. But as much as I was rooting for them... yeah, Michigan probably should have had a new set of downs.

I will say I like Stetson Bennett more after this game. Bennett looked like a guy who had just ridden an emotional rollercoaster and still couldn't believe how it ended. Joyous, but not gloating in it. In a world where so many QBs would be acting like they were gods, saying they were humbled while acting very-not-humbled, or deferring so much of the glory to a deity that it seems less credible, Bennett could hardly finish a sentence. I don't know if he's always like that, but he scored well on the sportsmanship score last night.

I might actually watch the championship now that TCU is in it and see how they do. There's never a dull game when TCU plays. All glory to the hypnotoad!
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No the committee def picked the correct four teams, and it wasn't close. But only two of those teams earned their way in based on their play. The other two were the 'least undeserving' that we've had to use to fill the field ever since it expanded to four. I wouldn't say the playoffs are worse than the BCS, but I wouldn't say they are better either. Just different problems. Even the BCS was occasionally forced to invite a team that didn't belong when there was a clear national champ at the end of the regular season, and the BCS also left out teams that should have been given an opportunity when there were three teams that had earned the chance to play. Meanwhile the playoffs have never left out a deserving team, which is good, but have always invited at least one team that did not play their way in, which is bad. Compared to the poll era, either one is vastly superior ; p

The expanded playoffs otoh are going to be a disaster, with far more undeserving than deserving teams every year and the teams that distinguish themselves during the season having to navigate a minefield before they get a chance to play one another, if they even do. Like this year, at the finish I'm not going to get to see the two best teams play each other, and that was the whole point of this postseason thing to begin with, remember . . ?

I always wanted the three team model, where you have a declared number one at the end of the regular season, and then two and three play each other for the right to play number one at the end. You'd still have a lot of years like this year where you couldn't find a third worthy team, but at least you'd never leave any deserving team out and you would preserve some value for a dominant number one team that distinguished itself during the regular season. That's a pipe dream at this point tho. I've just got to come to terms with the fact that cfb is becoming just like all the other sports where you don't really have to pay attn until the end : (

EDIT: Numbers are out, twenty-two million viewers for UGA/Ohio State, best for primetime semi since the first year of the playoffs. So apparently having a good matchup trumps having a game on NYE ; p

What's weird to me is that it's the fourth highest rated semi of all time so that means there were two afternoon games that beat it . . ?
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I agree that most sports are watering down the playoffs by allowing too many teams in. The NFL allows 14/32, why even have a regular season at that point? Slight hyperbole, but you don't have to be very good to make it. Among pro leagues, I thought MLB had the right balance with 8/28 to 8/30 teams. You had to be pretty good to make the playoffs but there was still a chance for a team that started slow but improved considerably as the season progressed. But now they've expanded it to 12/30. NCAA I-A football with 4 teams is much more exclusive, but the talent disparity is larger than most pro leagues.

So I agree that 12 teams would be way too many (and let's not forget injuries as a factor the more games you play, both Georgia and OSU lost their starting tight ends in-game, you don't want both teams banged up by the time you get to the championship). The three-team idea is interesting, but I think it really depends on the year, and that's the core challenge. You could have four 13-0 Power 5 champions. Technically you could have five (and possibly a 13-0 Group of 5 champion like Cincy a few years ago as well). You could have a team that lost early but looked much better and had big wins down the stretch. And I think this year showed that the "least undeserving" teams can hang right with the 13-0 ones in some years. There's no perfect solution.

EDIT: Numbers are out, twenty-two million viewers for UGA/Ohio State, best for primetime semi since the first year of the playoffs. So apparently having a good matchup trumps having a game on NYE ; p

What's weird to me is that it's the fourth highest rated semi of all time so that means there were two afternoon games that beat it . . ?
I looked it up, and yes. One of them was Florida State-Oregon in the first year, apparently people were really interested in the playoff semis that first year. The other was Georgia-Oklahoma on 1/1/2018. I guess that was a really compelling matchup too, and it wound up going to overtime so it lived up to the hype. Also was not on New Year's Eve.

Looking at it in list format, it's clear that matchups matter, but when it's played also matters. This year had good matchups, but January 1 dominates the list (the only medium-viewership 1/1 games being in the pandemic year when they let a 6-0 team in, the rest all being at the top), and 12/31 bringing up the rear and generally faring poorly, with this year's Saturday 12/31 games with good matchups being the first time 12/31 has done above-average. The previous-highest 12/31 games, in 2016, were also on a Saturday.

So I think it still shows that ESPN was right, 12/31 is a poor choice, especially on weeknights, and 1/1 is a great choice.
The reason I liked three teams is bc while it's possible to have more than three deserving teams, it's never actually happened. And while ofc undeserving teams can win those games -- we've seen two win the national title in 2011 Alabama and 2015 Ohio State -- that's exactly what I'd like to avoid. The goal should have been to include as few undeserving teams as possible while still ensuring that every team that earned an opportunity got a chance. Instead the money won, no surprise, and now we're going to lose the value of the regular season AND have a postseason that is worse at finding a 'true' national champion. Kind of depressing : /
I fell asleep early Monday night (why they aren't my preferred night for championships), but I'm kind of glad I did, looks like only the first quarter was worth watching unless you were a Bulldogs fan.

According to The Athletic, it was the lowest viewership for a championship since 1999, lower than the semis, and just barely higher than The Game. I don't know exactly how they measure that, but if it accounts for the average viewership, it's no surprise the average was low. Even the Georgia fan in the office said it was too much racking up a 65-7 margin and that the semifinal game was a better game.

A fun season though. The most memorable games for me were Tennessee-Alabama, TCU-Baylor, Ohio State-Georgia, and TCU-Kansas State (II, the Rematch). All fantastic games that came down to the wire. Most memorable for weather was Northwestern-Ohio State, the wind was killer that game and it was memorable not for being a great game but in a similar vein to the 1950 Snow Bowl, it was almost impossible to complete a pass against the wind. Two and three-fourths Cinderella teams (TCU, Tennessee, Kansas for 1/2, and South Carolina for 1/4), and Duke nearly made the final AP Top 25 despite Coach K having retired. Couldn't ask for a whole lot more.
I regret that we didn't get to see UGA v Michigan, but at least there wasn't an upset in the title game and we have a deserving champion. Apparently that was the most lopsided game in postseason history, not just the playoffs or bcs but the entire history of the bowl system. That sounds unbelievable to me but I guess it's only been fairly recently that scoring sixty-five points in a game has become somewhat common so maybe not so surprising after all . . .

One more year of this before we expand to twelve teams and it all goes to hell, guess we better enjoy it ; p
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