Rating 2022 faculty soccer bowl video games, 41-1: Rose, Remedy, Alamo, Solar amongst main non-playoff highlights

December 6, 2022
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I am advised by increasingly more folks how meaningless bowl video games have turn out to be every faculty soccer season. With the School Soccer Playoff discipline set to develop to 12 groups in 2024, this sentiment will solely develop extra prevalent — and I get it. You’ll be able to by no means be certain which groups will take it critically, and lots of the greatest gamers choose out of the video games to arrange for the NFL Draft.

However, you understand what? I really like bowls. Each single certainly one of them. I really like faculty soccer, and bowl video games are faculty soccer video games. I do not care if the group’s main rusher has determined to take a seat out. That solely means I get to see what the brand new man brings to the desk. It additionally provides me an opportunity to see extra faculty soccer.

In case you’re a fan of school soccer, what’s to not love? Bowl Season is not the common season or the playoff, but it surely’s an exquisite time of yr. There are video games on practically daily of the week at random instances! That is unbelievable! That is one thing to be celebrated!

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Yearly, I select to rejoice it by watching all of them, however I cowl faculty soccer for a residing. I do know most individuals aren’t in a position to dedicate that a lot time to those video games, which is why I rank the bowls for you right here at CBS Sports activities yearly. Now, as I stated, all these video games are unbelievable and price your time, however when you’re on a price range, hopefully my useful information may also help you determine which video games to observe and why. All instances under Jap

41. First Responder Bowl: Memphis vs. Utah State

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 3:15 p.m. — This sport has an opportunity to be thrilling, but it surely’s exhausting to inform which model of every group will present up. Memphis and Utah State regarded like a distinct group every week, which helps clarify why each completed the common season with 6-6 data. The excellent news is we should always understand how this sport will go fairly rapidly. Utah State’s six wins tended to be shut battles, however the losses got here by a mean of 23 factors every.

40. Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Miami (OH)

Friday, Dec. 16, 11:30 a.m. — UAB shall be a way more fascinating group to comply with subsequent season when Trent Dilfer takes over as coach. The Blazers went 6-6 this season and are led by operating again DeWayne McBride, who rushed for 1,713 yards and 19 touchdowns. They have been significantly better at dwelling, the place they went 5-1.

As for the RedHawks, it has been an up-and-down marketing campaign as nicely. They beat Northwestern in September, which appeared like a much bigger deal on the time, however they have been solely 4-4 within the MAC. Nonetheless, they did win three of their final 4 video games to earn bowl eligibility.

39. Myrtle Seashore Bowl: Marshall vs. UConn

Monday, Dec. 19, 2:30 p.m. — He isn’t going to win any of them, however UConn’s Jim Mora ought to get consideration for Coach of the 12 months awards. Mora took over a UConn program that had gone 4-31 in its final three seasons (it did not play in 2020) and guided the Huskies to a bowl sport. That is a shocking turnaround! Additionally they improved because the yr went on, beginning 1-4 and going 6-2 down the stretch whereas selecting up wins over eventual Mountain West champ Fresno State and Boston School.

Marshall is 8-4 and had a profitable first season within the Solar Belt. The Herd beat Notre Dame in South Bend early within the season and took down a James Madison squad that appeared to be top-of-the-line within the Solar Belt. They’ve gained 4 in a row due to the churning legs of Khalan Laborn (1,423 yards dashing, 16 TD) and a sturdy protection. The one purpose I’ve this sport ranked this low is that I feel there is a good probability Marshall will run away with it.

38. LendingTree Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Rice

Saturday, Dec. 17, 5:45 p.m. — Lastly, in spite of everything these years, the rivalry is renewed! OK, so there is no actual rivalry, however Southern Miss was once in Convention USA earlier than shifting to the Solar Belt this season, the place it went 6-6 total however limped to the end line. The Eagles have misplaced three of their final 4 however nonetheless have an thrilling participant in operating again Frank Gore Jr.

Rice is the one 5-7 group to succeed in the postseason this yr, however none of these 5 wins got here in opposition to a group with a profitable document. The Owls have additionally misplaced their final three and 4 of their final 5, so, yeah, it isn’t the sexiest matchup you may discover.

37. Birmingham Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 6:45 p.m. — This sport would rank lots increased if Coastal Carolina nonetheless had coach Jamey Chadwell and quarterback Grayson McCall, however their standing is up within the air. Chadwell has accepted the teaching job at Liberty, and I do not think about he’ll stick round to guide the Chanticleers on this one. As for McCall, he is one of many extra thrilling gamers within the nation however suffered what was believed to be a season-ending harm earlier this yr solely to return for the 45-26 Solar Belt Championship Recreation loss to Troy. Enjoyable truth concerning the Chants: They’re 9-3 on the season, however after blowout losses of their final two video games, they’ve a degree differential of -12 on the season. I am unable to think about there have been many nine-win groups with a adverse level differential previously.

East Carolina is led by certainly one of my favourite gamers within the nation, QB Holton Ahlers. Ahlers has performed for the Pirates for what looks like 25 years, and he is been a productive participant in every of these 25 seasons. Nonetheless, none of these seasons — and it has solely been 5, in reality — have led to a bowl sport till this yr. That is East Carolina’s first postseason look because the 2014 Birmingham Bowl.

36. Frisco Bowl: Boise State vs. North Texas

Saturday, Dec. 17, 9:15 p.m. — Boise State’s total season rotated following a 27-10 loss to UTEP in September. That is when Hank Bachmeier misplaced the beginning QB job, and the group fired its offensive coordinator earlier than bringing again Dirk Koetter. Since then, Taylen Inexperienced and the Broncos offense have been far more harmful, if inconsistent. Inexperienced’s an enormous play ready to occur on every snap, however the Boise protection is the very best unit on the sector on this sport. Sadly for the Broncos, after going 8-0 in convention play in the course of the common season, they misplaced within the MWC championship to Fresno State 28-16 after beating the Bulldogs within the common season.

It is a feeling to which North Texas can relate; the Imply Inexperienced reached the Convention USA Championship Recreation themselves however have been routed by UTSA 48-27. Sadly for coach Seth Littrell, reaching the convention championship was not sufficient to avoid wasting his job as he was fired on Dec. 4. The Imply Inexperienced offense is led by QB Austin Aune, who has thrown for 3,309 yards and 32 touchdowns this season on the age of 29. Aune was a TCU commit out of highschool however was drafted by the New York Yankees within the second spherical of the 2012 MLB Draft. He opted to play baseball however returned to soccer in 2018 after his baseball profession did not pan out.

35. Fast Lane Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Bowling Inexperienced

Monday, Dec. 26, 2:30 p.m. — This isn’t the sexiest matchup on paper, however we all know one factor: Each of those groups shall be blissful to be right here. Bowling Inexperienced is 6-6 and enjoying in its first bowl sport because the Falcons reached the GoDaddy Bowl in 2015. They gained 10 video games that season however have not gained greater than 4 video games in a season till this yr.

They’re going to face a New Mexico State group enjoying solely the fifth bowl sport in program historical past. The final look got here in 2017, which was the Aggies’ final season within the Solar Belt. They have been Impartial for the final 5 years and have discovered life very tough. They went 8-30 from 2018-21, however Jerry Kill has turned this program round rapidly in his first season. The Aggies began the yr 1-5 earlier than profitable 5 of their final six to get right here.

34. Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern vs. Buffalo

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 12 p.m. — A matchup of 6-6 groups with some upside. For many who do not pay shut consideration to the Solar Belt (and why do not you?), Georgia Southern is now led by former USC coach Clay Helton, who helped the Eagles get off to a shocking begin. This is identical Georgia Southern group that went to Lincoln, Nebraska, earlier this season and ended the Scott Frost Period with a 45-42 win over the Cornhuskers. That was a part of a 3-1 begin to the season, however the Eagles hit exhausting instances after that. Nonetheless, they are a enjoyable group that scores factors practically as rapidly because it permits them, which might make for a enjoyable bowl expertise.

Then there’s Buffalo, which has given new which means to the operating of the Bulls. Buffalo began the season 0-3 earlier than profitable 5 straight. Then, the Bulls dropped three in a row and have been on the verge of lacking bowl season solely earlier than coming again to beat Akron in a sport that had been postponed resulting from 6 toes of snow falling within the Buffalo space earlier in November. One thing tells me there will not be snow within the forecast for this sport.

33. Hawaii Bowl: Center Tennessee vs. San Diego State

Saturday, Dec. 24, 8 p.m. — There is no custom higher than getting the household collectively on Christmas Eve, gathering across the hearth and opening the reward that’s the Hawaii Bowl. Certain, the matchup is not all the time nice, and you will have a tough time explaining to your relations how Rick Stockstill is an establishment in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, however don’t be concerned. You too can inform them concerning the time that the Blue raiders beat the Miami Hurricanes 45-31 earlier this season, and since they are a informal fan, they will not even notice that is not an enormous deal anymore. The truth is, they’re going to in all probability suppose it is one of many largest upsets of all time. Allow them to suppose in order a small reward to them.

Your relative may additionally acknowledge San Diego State coach Brady Hoke as “the man who coached Michigan, proper? once they have been unhealthy?” You’ll be able to verify that but additionally make clear that Mr. Hoke has executed a stable job with the Aztecs. Certain, they’re solely 7-5, however their 5 losses this season got here in opposition to groups that went a mixed 42-21, together with two convention champions (Utah and Fresno State).

32. Independence Bowl: Houston vs. Louisiana

Friday, Dec. 23, 3 p.m. — Here is my concern about this sport: When the Cougars are on, they’re pleasant to observe. They’ll put up factors in a rush, and QB Clayton Tune (3,845 yards passing, 491 dashing, 42 complete TD) is a stud, as is receiver Tank Dell (1,354 yards, 15 TD). However you by no means know which Houston goes to indicate up. Dana Holgorsen’s group is harder to foretell than a random quantity generator, and you need to query how excited this group shall be for an Independence Bowl in opposition to Louisiana. In the event that they care, we have got a shot at having enjoyable right here; if they do not, we’ll slog by.

The identical query might be requested of the Ragin’ Cajuns. Whereas this is not a program more likely to take a bowl look without any consideration, the Cajuns spent the previous few seasons enjoying for Solar Belt titles. This yr, they wanted a 41-13 win over Texas State within the season’s remaining sport to earn bowl eligibility. This sport has a excessive ceiling however a low ground, too.

31. Armed Forces Bowl: Baylor vs. Air Pressure

Thursday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. — Baylor gained the Large 12 final yr and reached the Sugar Bowl thanks primarily to a protection that was top-of-the-line within the nation. This yr, the Bears are solely 6-6 as a result of that protection deserted them. Whereas this sport seems to be nice on paper, I feel there’s larger blowout potential right here than most will assume. 

Baylor ranked 99th within the nation this yr in success fee in opposition to the run and 92nd in anticipated factors added (EPA) per rush try. That is not nice when dealing with an possibility group like Air Pressure! The Falcons are 9-3 on the season behind their dashing assault. They run the ball extra usually than any group within the nation (88.8% of the time!) and rank 14th in yards per carry (5.40) and thirteenth in EPA per rush (0.14).

30. Potato Bowl: San Jose State vs. Jap Michigan

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 3:30 p.m. — Early within the season, San Jose State regarded like top-of-the-line groups within the Mountain West. The Spartans have been 4-2 with shut highway losses to Auburn and Fresno State. Then tragedy struck when operating again Camdan McWright was struck and killed by a bus. The loss had a profound influence on the Spartans’ season, however they completed the season 7-4 behind quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, operating again Kairee Robinson and receiver Elijah Cooks.

Jap Michigan completed the common season 8-4 and 4 factors shy of enjoying for a MAC title. The Eagles completed with the identical 5-3 document in convention play that Toledo did, however their 27-24 loss to the Rockets served because the tie-breaker. Nonetheless, the Eagles recovered from that loss with three wins to complete the common season, and look to complete with 9 wins for the primary time since going 10-2 in 1987.

29. Pinstripe Bowl: Minnesota vs. Syracuse

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2 p.m. — I’ve a sense within the pit of my abdomen that these groups may mix to make this rating look very silly when bowl season ends. Whereas they’re each Energy 5 groups, this is not essentially the most thrilling matchup. Syracuse does an excellent job defensively of limiting explosive performs, and Minnesota’s offense is not constructed on massive performs. We’re more likely to see numerous clock-churning drives on this one, however on the intense facet, that ought to hold issues shut.

On an excellent brighter facet, it is one other probability to see top-of-the-line operating backs within the nation. Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim tore his Achilles final season however returned this yr to hurry for 1,594 yards and 19 touchdowns. His 144.91 dashing yards per sport ranks second nationally. The battle between him and Syracuse operating again Sean Tucker (1,060 yards, 11 TD) needs to be enjoyable.

28. Gasparilla Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Missouri

Friday, Dec. 23, 6:30 p.m. — Enjoyable truth about Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman. He missed time early within the season resulting from an undisclosed medical situation. Hartman shared the information after the common season of needing a rib eliminated, maintaining it in his freezer and planning to have a necklace made out of it. So, you understand that now! Congratulations! You also needs to know that Hartman has been one of the vital productive QBs within the nation for just a few years now, and this Wake Forest offense is able to placing up numerous factors when enjoying nicely. It is also able to turning the ball over with alarming regularity, which makes it entertaining 100% of the time so long as you do not have a rooting curiosity.

The issue right here is Missouri. The Tigers went 6-6, however exterior of a 23-10 win over South Carolina, they do not have many wins to get enthusiastic about. They’re robust sufficient defensively to maintain most video games shut, however we have seen a major variety of Tigers gamers hit the switch portal because the season ended. The questions on who shall be accessible for this sport make it exhausting for me to rank it a lot increased than this.

27. Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo vs. Liberty

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. — This sport has a low ground however may very well be very entertaining if each groups present up. Liberty started the season 8-1 and entered the School Soccer Playoff Rankings after beating Arkansas 21-19. That win amplified the rumors about Hugh Freeze leaving to take the Auburn job, and the Flames misplaced their remaining three video games of the season. That features a 49-14 loss to New Mexico State during which the group regarded prefer it had been advised by its coach that he was leaving, they usually did not take it very nicely. What Liberty group exhibits up for this sport? Will it’s a group that desires to impress new coach Jamey Chadwell or a group that simply needs to complete the season?

Toledo may crush the Flames if they do not present up able to play. The Rockets gained the MAC, beating Ohio 17-7 within the title sport after going 5-3 in convention play and 8-5 total. That is an inconsistent group, however they have been significantly better when QB Dequan Finn (2,127 yards passing, 608 dashing, 30 TD) has been wholesome. He performed in opposition to Ohio and needs to be nearer to 100% well being by the point this sport is performed.

26. Navy Bowl: Duke vs. UCF

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2 p.m. — Need a peek backstage? In terms of these bowl rankings, the ten greatest and the ten worst are normally fairly apparent, after which the 21 video games within the center are mainly the identical. I may’ve advised you that way back, however I needed to reserve it as a reward for many who learn this far. Properly, until you are a Duke or UCF fan who scanned this far simply to see the place your sport is ranked. In case you did, that is dishonest; return to the start and begin over.

The purpose is that this sport has all of the potential on the earth to be nice, however I ponder concerning the matchup. UCF is a group that had a lot increased hopes than a Navy Bowl look. It is also a group that runs the ball lots and can face a Duke group that completed thirty fourth nationally in EPA per rush on protection. Additionally, I might be remiss if I did not shout out Duke coach Mike Elko for the implausible job he is executed in his first season with the Blue Devils. That is Duke’s first bowl sport since 2018, and the Blue Devils have gained extra video games this season (eight) than they did the final two years mixed (5). Additionally they went 5-3 within the ACC, giving them their first profitable document in convention play since 2014.

25. Assured Fee Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 10:15 p.m. — In case you’d have advised me earlier than the season that we have been getting a bowl sport between Oklahoma State and Wisconsin, I might have assumed it was in a New 12 months’s Six bowl. Wisconsin was the favourite within the Large Ten West and Oklahoma State was a critical menace to win the Large 12. As an alternative, the Badgers went 6-6 and fired coach Paul Chryst in the course of the season, and enter this sport with beginning QB Graham Mertz who opted to enter the switch portal. Oklahoma State began 6-1 however misplaced 4 of 5 to complete the common season.

I don’t know what to anticipate right here. Neither of those offenses carried out nicely in 2022, and it is exhausting to think about a pair weeks of bowl practices shall be sufficient to determine it out. 

24. New Mexico Bowl: BYU vs. SMU

Saturday, Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m. — We have potential right here. SMU averaged 38.4 factors per sport this season (thirteenth nationally) whereas BYU scored 31.9 (fortieth). Defensively, the Mustangs allowed 34.7 per sport (123rd) and BYU allowed 30.0 (one centesimal). In case you’re the betting sort, you may wish to have your head examined when you’re contemplating the beneath as a result of I do not see numerous punts flying by the massive blue skies of Albuquerque when these two meet.

The Mustangs gained six of their final eight video games to complete the season 7-5 and have one of the vital proficient receivers within the nation in Rashee Rice (96 receptions, 1,355 yards, 10 TD). He is more likely to hear his identify referred to as early within the NFL Draft this spring. For the Cougars, keep watch over QB Jaren Corridor, who threw for 31 touchdowns. He seems to be to be the subsequent in a protracted line of prolific BYU passers.

23. New Orleans Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama

Wednesday, Dec. 21, 9 p.m. — Ever had a good friend who listens to a bunch of musicians you’ve got by no means heard of? They’re going to let you know about this live performance they noticed at this tiny venue that includes an act with a reputation that is unnecessary and say it was a life-changing expertise. You may shrug it off, “Greg being Greg” or no matter, however deep down inside you may concern you are lacking out. What if Greg’s proper? What if Greg is onto one thing you’d love if solely you gave it a shot?

Greg is absolutely into the New Orleans Bowl this yr. Greg needs you to know all about South Alabama. The Jaguars did not win the Solar Belt, however they’re the second-best group within the league, at worst. They only play within the fallacious division. They’re 10-2, and their lone losses have been a one-point loss at UCLA and a four-point loss to Solar Belt champion Troy. The protection is fierce. Working again LaDamian Webb is a beast. You should see them. You additionally must see them in opposition to a Western Kentucky offense that writes some loopy songs. They’ll rating on anyone. Austin Reed threw for 4,247 yards and 36 touchdowns. You have to see him reside, man. Greg is aware of. Take heed to Greg.

22. Gator Bowl: (21) Notre Dame vs. (19) South Carolina

Friday, Dec. 30, 3:30 p.m. — South Carolina completed the season with a bang. The Gamecocks began 6-3, however none of their six wins have been that spectacular until you are actually excessive on South Carolina. After a 38-6 loss to Florida, this group regarded destined to complete 6-6 with video games in opposition to Tennessee and Clemson remaining. Then the Gamecocks went and beat Tennessee 63-38 and adopted it up with a 31-30 highway win over Clemson. In consecutive weeks, the Gamecocks destroyed the playoff hopes (nonetheless faint) of a division rival and a state rival. It is the stuff of which goals are made.

Now they get a shot to take down one of the vital adorned applications in faculty soccer historical past once they face Notre Dame within the Gator Bowl. So why am I rating this sport so low? Properly, Notre Dame beginning QB Drew Pyne is within the switch portal, and he started the season because the backup. We may additionally see different draft prospects on this sport choose out, which hurts the potential. I will not be stunned if it is shut, however I am unable to rely on it being thrilling.

21. Arizona Bowl: Ohio vs. Wyoming

Friday, Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m. — Each season, I fall in love with a group as a result of I work out that it is higher than everyone realizes and win a bunch of cash betting on it. This season that group was Ohio, which coated the unfold in 9 straight video games by a mean of 14 factors every earlier than lastly falling within the MAC Championship Recreation in opposition to Toledo. I’ll all the time love Kurtis Rourke and the 2022 Bobcats, and I’ll in all probability guess on them on this sport out of gratitude. The issue is Rourke has missed the final couple of video games with an harm, and I do not know what his availability shall be for this one.

That is vital in opposition to a Wyoming group that’s saltier than a Chicago avenue in winter. After I watch Craig Bohl’s Cowboys, I get the impression they’d slightly win a sport 9-7 than 42-3. When it really works, it is nice, however when it would not, issues get ugly. Solely certainly one of Wyoming’s 5 losses this season was a one-score loss. Solely two of their video games noticed a minimum of 50 factors scored. So that they’re normally enjoying low-scoring blowouts or aggressive affairs, however the level is that they’re nearly all the time low-scoring. Onerous to rank a sport a lot increased than this when you do not anticipate many fireworks.

20. Citrus Bowl: (17) LSU vs. Purdue

Monday, Jan. 2, 1 p.m. — It is a battle of two groups that exceeded expectations, however certainly one of them will not be as enthusiastic about it. No person was anticipating an excessive amount of of LSU in Brian Kelly’s first season, however the Tigers upset Alabama to assist them win the SEC West. The issue is that just a few weeks in the past, the Tigers thought they’d a shot to succeed in the School Soccer Playoff due to it however misplaced to a foul Texas A&M group 38-23. They adopted it up with a 50-30 loss to Georgia within the SEC Championship Recreation, and are actually driving a two-game shedding streak as they put together to play the Citrus Bowl. Will their prime guys sit this one out, or may we see a wave of opt-outs?

Purdue was a shock winner of the Large Ten West this season, but it surely wasn’t the results of dominance. The Boilermakers went 6-3 in convention and hung with Michigan for a half within the Large Ten Championship Recreation earlier than getting steamrolled within the second half. It is a group that is lengthy made a behavior of pulling off upsets over higher-ranked groups, and it has an thrilling offense that may put factors on the board, so LSU higher take it critically. Nonetheless, there is a potential downside right here. The Louisville job got here open this week when Scott Satterfield left for Cincinnati, and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm — a former Louisville QB — was seen as the highest goal for Louisville earlier than it employed Satterfield. The Cardinals are certain to have an interest once more, so will Brohm flip down his alma mater twice?

19. Sugar Bowl: (5) Alabama vs. (9) Kansas State

Saturday, Dec. 31, 12 p.m. — If these groups have been enjoying at full power, this may be a top-five sport in these rankings, no questions requested. Properly, Kansas State — the Large 12 champion who ended TCU’s undefeated run — could be at full power for this sport, and it could like to make one other assertion by ending the season with a win over mighty Alabama. However how mighty will this Alabama be? It is a program that desires to win the SEC and a nationwide title each season. It completed neither this yr, and we’re in all probability going to see numerous gamers choose out of this sport, together with final yr’s Heisman winner Bryce Younger and one of many nation’s greatest defensive gamers in Will Anderson.

That may stink as a result of Kansas State is a genuinely good group, and it may beat Alabama even when the Tide did not have gamers choose out. Regardless, I would like one other probability to see Younger and Anderson play in an Alabama uniform, and I do not suppose we’ll get that probability. It takes numerous the shine off this sport. Now, that stated, it is nonetheless Alabama. The reserves are fairly proficient, too, so there’s nonetheless a shot this sport is nice.

18. Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. Kansas

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m. — Let me begin by saying that, if reviews are to be believed, it’s extremely lame that Missouri refused to play Kansas in a bowl sport as a result of that will’ve been nice. That stated, that is in all probability a greater matchup than that sport would’ve been! The Jayhawks have been the darlings of the primary half of the season after opening the yr 5-0, however they went 1-6 down the stretch after shedding QB Jalon Daniels to harm. If Daniels is wholesome and accessible for this sport, nonetheless, the Jayhawks have one of the vital entertaining offenses within the nation.

However so does Arkansas with QB Okay.J. Jefferson. Combining these explosive and fascinating offenses with the 2 defenses on the sector, we’re seemingly in for a tennis match. There is a robust probability this sport turns into a kind of “final group with the ball wins” type of video games, and in a mid-tier bowl sport with low stakes, what extra are you able to ask for than that?

17. Music Metropolis Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky

Saturday, Dec. 31, 12 p.m. — OK, so here is the factor. As a connoisseur of every kind of school soccer, this matchup pursuits me. I do not want high-octane offenses and a bunch of touchdowns to be entertained. I am the type of one that can tune right into a field-position battle and revel in that simply as a lot as I might a 49-48 sport. So these two offenses do not scare me away.

The issue is we simply noticed this sport final yr as Kentucky defeated Iowa 20-17 in a really entertaining Citrus Bowl. Having the rematch a yr later takes a few of the shine off it. We will not even go along with the angle of Mark Stoops dealing with his alma mater as a result of it was overwhelmed to loss of life final yr. Moreover, Iowa QB Spencer Petras will not play within the sport due to harm, and we’d see Kentucky QB Will Levis sit it out, too. Whereas it isn’t excellent, it does enhance the percentages of this sport getting actually bizarre and ending with an 11-5 rating or one thing. Silly soccer might be unbelievable leisure.

16. Duke’s Mayo Bowl: (23) NC State vs. Maryland

Friday, Dec. 30, 12 p.m. — This rating will rise rapidly if both Dave Doeren or Mike Locksley guarantees to let anyone dump a cooler of mayonnaise on their head like South Carolina’s Shane Beamer did final season; that shouldn’t be a one-time-only factor. The truth is, each bowl sport ought to dump regardless of the product of the first sponsor is over the coach after the sport. Certain, that will be terrible information for the profitable coach of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, however if you wish to make an omelet, you need to crack just a few eggs.

The matchup right here is an ACC reunion of two fascinating groups. NC State is among the most fascinating groups of 2022 as a result of there is no rational purpose for it to be 8-4 contemplating the accidents it is suffered. Doeren is clearly a practitioner of the darkish arts. Then there’s Maryland, which sports activities some NFL expertise on the receiver place and a QB in Taulia Tagovailoa who is not afraid to place the ball up there, for higher or worse. This one is ranked No. 16 to start out, however I will not be stunned if it is a top-five sport in my post-bowl rankings.

15. Texas Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 9 p.m. — I am blissful Lane Kiffin stayed at Ole Miss as an alternative of leaving for Auburn. Nothing in opposition to Auburn; I simply suppose Ole Miss is a greater match for him. He can chill and put collectively enjoyable, thrilling groups with out coping with the madness of Auburn. What does that need to do with the Texas Bowl? Nothing, however I am 5,700 phrases into this factor, all proper? My mind goes to wander in some unspecified time in the future. Don’t be concerned, although, as a result of I am about to get again on observe.

So, yeah, I like this matchup. If you have not seen Ole Miss but in 2022, it is an explosive offense. In contrast to 2021, nonetheless, it is constructed extra on operating the ball than vertical passing routes. It’s going to be up in opposition to a Texas Tech group that was a licensed ache within the butt within the Large 12 this season. The Crimson Raiders did not win each sport, however Joey McGuire’s group fought you for each level you scored. It did so thanks largely to a rush protection that ranked thirty ninth nationally in success fee in opposition to the run, so this shall be a enjoyable matchup to comply with.

14. Fenway Bowl: Louisville vs. Cincinnati

Saturday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m. — Enjoyable truth, this sport got here in at No. 20 in my preliminary rankings. It felt like an ideal “center of the order” bowl sport. Then, the information arrived Monday morning that Louisville coach Scott Satterfield was leaving to take the job at Cincinnati. Unexpectedly, a principally nameless bowl sport in a baseball stadium took on much more which means. All of which begs one query, and one query solely:

Can Satterfield coach each groups?

It could in all probability be an excessive amount of work to deal with all of the head-coaching duties, however possibly Satterfield might be “all-time play caller” such as you had an “all-time QB” when enjoying with your pals as a toddler. Certain, it could be awkward for Louisville gamers and close to unimaginable for Cincinnati gamers to run performs from a playbook they have not seen but, however it could make for nice tv. Apart from, if we do not, this shall be two groups enjoying beneath interim coaches with motivational questions. Having Satterfield coach each groups directly solves the issue!

13. Solar Bowl: (18) UCLA vs. Pitt

Friday, Dec. 30, 2 p.m. — UCLA would not play boring video games. OK, it began the season with boring wins over Bowling Inexperienced and Alabama State, and had a boring win over Stanford, however that was extra on the opponents. Each different sport was a curler coaster. There have been bangers in opposition to South Alabama, Washington, Utah, Oregon and USC, simply to call just a few. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a thrill journey and Zach Charbonnet is terrific as this offense is stuffed with enjoyable surprises.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi goes to hate it! Narduzzi would not even wish to see his personal group rating factors. Nonetheless, simply because their coach would not like them, that does not imply Pitt is not prepared to get right into a shootout with you, and it might put factors on the board too. Working again Israel Abanikanda completed the season with 1,431 yards and a national-best 20 dashing touchdowns.

12. Orange Bowl: (6) Tennessee vs. (7) Clemson

Friday, Dec. 30, 8 p.m. — It’s a literal Orange Bowl. In an ideal world, each groups would come out in all-orange uniforms and we would see how nicely they’d be capable to inform good friend from foe. It could be hilarious. After all, we may additionally see Tennessee come out in its grey uniforms and Clemson in purple, which might actually spoil the vibe. And I am undecided what number of vibes this sport can afford to lose as a result of whereas it is a matchup of top-10 groups, it would not crack the highest 10 of those rankings.

Tennessee is not the identical group with out quarterback Hendon Hooker, although it is doable that with an additional month of preparation Joe Milton and the offense can perform on the identical excessive stage it did with Hooker. However whereas many issues might be stated about Clemson’s offense, few adjectives used to explain it are complimentary, although with five-star freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik being named the starter after his efficiency within the ACC Championship Recreation after DJ Uiagalelei was benched, that would change in a rush. 

11. Cheez-It Bowl: (13) Florida State vs. Oklahoma

Thursday, Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m. — Florida State followers want there was a button they might hit that will begin the season over with the Seminoles enjoying at this stage proper now. If that occurred, the ‘Noles would in all probability find yourself profitable the ACC and will even sneak into the School Soccer Playoff as a result of it has been top-of-the-line groups within the nation for over a month. There have been shut losses to NC State and Clemson in October, then 5 straight wins to complete the season, most in blowout vogue. QB Jordan Travis has ascended to a different stage and is among the most fun gamers to observe within the nation.

So whereas there’s an opportunity this sport turns right into a blowout, though Oklahoma is barely 6-6, it has an offense able to scoring in a rush. This sport has the potential to be an thrilling shootout if the Sooners are wholesome. I perceive there’s additionally a very good probability I seem like a moron for rating this sport so extremely if Unhealthy Oklahoma exhibits up and Florida State wins by a billion. No matter occurs, a minimum of I really feel assured the ultimate rating will not be 13-2.

10. Reliaquest Bowl: (22) Mississippi State vs. Illinois

Monday, Jan. 2, 12 p.m. — Whereas it is an SEC/Large Ten matchup, it isn’t a sport that includes both convention’s perennial powers. Nonetheless, each the Bulldogs and Illini had glorious seasons and current an fascinating matchup for each other. Mississippi State is 8-4 and the poster baby for a group with glorious résumé losses to LSU, Georgia and Alabama. It was a group that misplaced to the groups you’d anticipate however beat those a very good group is meant to beat and completed the yr with a win over rival Ole Miss.

Illinois is among the largest surprises of 2022. The Illini are 8-4 and making their first bowl look since 2019. They obtained right here behind top-of-the-line defenses within the nation, and that is the place the matchup will get fascinating. Mississippi State will run Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense in opposition to an Illini protection that led the nation in defensive passing effectivity at 89.8 (Penn State was second at 104.0). In the meantime, Illinois’ offense is constructed on a bodily dashing presence led by Doak Walker finalist Chase Brown however faces a Mississippi State group that ranked forty seventh in EPA per rush on protection. If types make fights, this shall be a enjoyable combat.

9. Alamo Bowl: (20) Texas vs. (12) Washington

Thursday, Dec. 29, 9 p.m. — Here is the factor concerning the Alamo Bowl: The matchup is nearly all the time nice, however you typically run into the issue of the groups not being thrilled to be there as a result of they’d been competing for convention titles and fell quick. Nonetheless, I will take my possibilities right here with a sport that provides an unbelievable quarterback matchup between Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Texas’ Quinn Ewers. Penix has the type of arm power that can make you gasp a minimum of twice per sport, whereas Ewers routinely flings balls on a rope with a easy flick of his wrist. I hope each play and play nicely as a result of, in the event that they do, we’re in for a deal with.

As for motivation, I do know this was a disappointing season for Texas seeing they missed out on enjoying for the Large 12 title, but it surely’s a younger group that may profit from enjoying an opponent like this. Plus, let’s not neglect that Texas coach Steve Sarkisian used to teach at Washington, so I am certain he’ll do the whole lot he can to maintain his group’s consideration on this sport. As for the Huskies, they’re already enjoying with home cash, as no person was anticipating this group to be 10-2 in Kalen DeBoer’s first season. A win would give the Huskies their first 11-win season since they reached the School Soccer Playoff in 2016.

8. LA Bowl: Washington State vs. Fresno State

Saturday, Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m. — Have you ever ever seen Fresno State QB Jake Haener? He is an amalgamation of each underdog quarterback you’ve got seen in a film or tv present a few soccer group. Haener is listed as 6-foot-1 and 201 kilos, which could be beneficiant. Nonetheless, Haener is a gamer no matter dimension. I’ve seen this child take so many photographs throughout his profession, however he will get up each time and retains going. Generally he will get up slower than others, and typically he strikes gingerly, however he will get up each time. I really like him. He is the center and soul of this Fresno State group that gained the Mountain West.

I additionally love Washington State QB Cam Ward, who transferred to Wazzu from Incarnate Phrase earlier than the season. He did not put up the identical numbers within the Pac-12 that he put up there, however he is an entertaining watch on a troublesome Washington State group. The Cougars misplaced 5 instances this yr, however the 5 losses got here to Oregon, USC, Oregon State, Utah and Washington — groups that have been a mixed 49-11. It is a greater group than its 7-5 document signifies, and I like this sport’s possibilities of being entertaining.

7. Las Vegas Bowl: (14) Oregon State vs. Florida

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2:30 p.m. — The Pac-12 obtained numerous consideration this yr due to stable seasons from USC, Oregon, Washington, Utah and UCLA, however Oregon State nonetheless managed to fly beneath the radar regardless of having simply nearly as good of a season! The Beavers went 9-3 and practically knocked off USC and Washington. Jonathan Smith has executed a implausible job constructing this program; its win complete has elevated each season since he took over in 2018, apart from the 2020 COVID season. The 9 wins the Beavers have already picked up are their most in a season since going 9-4 in 2012, and in the event that they decide up a win right here, it’s going to be this system’s first 10-win season since 2006.

To get that win, it’s going to need to get previous a Florida group with a excessive ceiling. Florida opened the yr with a win over Utah, and whereas it was spectacular, it in all probability raised expectations too rapidly. The Gators got here again all the way down to earth in SEC play, ending with a 3-5 mark, and went solely 2-4 within the SEC East. The Gators shall be making an attempt to select up a seventh win to complete over .500, however that will have been extra seemingly if QB Anthony Richardson, who was projected by many to be a first-round NFL Draft decide, did not determine to skip this sport.

6. Vacation Bowl: (15) Oregon vs. North Carolina

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 8 p.m. — Hurry up and guess the over earlier than it will get increased as a result of I can assure the full will get increased. The season didn’t finish the best way both of those groups hoped it could a month in the past. Again then, Oregon was 8-1 with the Pac-12 title and a doable playoff berth in attain. Then the Geese misplaced by three at dwelling to Washington, Bo Nix sprained his ankle and the group actually limped to the end line at 9-3. North Carolina was 9-1 with a QB in Drake Maye whom many have been pegging as a future No. 1 draft decide. They have been wins in opposition to Georgia Tech and NC State away from being 11-1. They then misplaced to each to fall to 9-3 and completed by getting trounced 39-10 by Clemson within the ACC Championship Recreation.

These groups are mirror photographs of each other who reside on reverse ends of the nation. Two prolific offenses paired with defenses that may’t cease anyone. Women and gents, we’d see 100 factors scored on this sport. You could possibly find yourself telling your grandchildren about it sooner or later.

5. Cotton Bowl: (10) USC vs. (16) Tulane

Monday, Jan. 2, 1 p.m. — It was once that we anticipated the Group of 5 champion that earned the New 12 months’s Six berth to get spanked within the bowl sport as a result of that was once what occurred. Then UCF occurred, and final yr Cincinnati made the CFP. We have all wisened as much as the concept that these groups have to be taken critically in spots like this, and USC could be well-served to take Tulane critically, principally as a result of USC’s protection should not take anyone or something without any consideration. Did you see these guys attempt to sort out Utah gamers within the Pac-12 Championship Recreation?

The Inexperienced Wave gained the American due to a enjoyable offense and a very good go protection, however that protection did not come throughout many passing assaults like USC. Caleb Williams is among the greatest QBs within the nation and will win the Heisman Trophy this week. He has a cavalcade of weapons surrounding him on offense, and I anticipate the Trojans will put up factors. However will the Trojans cease Tulane’s Tyjae Spears? Once more, did you see them attempt to sort out vs. Utah? There is a good probability this sport comes all the way down to the ultimate minutes.

4. Remedy Bowl: (24) Troy vs. (25) UTSA

Friday, Dec. 26, 3 p.m. — HIPSTER ALERT! Get able to be condescending as all hell, of us, as a result of all of the individuals who do not understand how unbelievable this sport goes to be will not be worthy of your time! Oh, you are a Troy and UTSA fan? Title three of their albums. I will wait.

Critically, it is a battle of convention champions. UTSA went 11-2 this season to win Convention USA because the Roadrunners have now gone 17-1 in convention video games during the last two seasons. They’re one of the vital entertaining offenses within the nation. Frank Harris runs it to perfection, and receiver Zakhari Franklin will catch balls within the NFL quickly. Then there’s Troy, which went 5-7 final yr however completed 11-2 this yr in Jon Sumrall’s first season en path to a Solar Belt title. The Trojans lead with their protection, however do not suppose they don’t seem to be able to placing up factors themselves. Belief me, I perceive that almost all of you studying this in all probability have not seen both of those groups play, however take a while out of your schedule to be sure to tune into this sport. You will not remorse it.

3. Rose Bowl: (8) Utah vs. (11) Penn State

Monday, Jan. 2, 5 p.m. — I do know it is cool to hate the Rose Bowl as of late as a result of it was scapegoated as the one factor standing in the best way of the playoff increasing to 12 groups as so many individuals needed, however I really like the Rose Bowl. I’ll all the time love the Rose Bowl. Whether or not it is a part of the playoff or not, I do not care. I do not even want it to have the standard matchup of Large Ten vs. Pac-12 (although I want it). This sport has all the time been close to my coronary heart, and it all the time shall be. It is one of the vital lovely scenes in faculty soccer yearly, and it tends to have a wonderful matchup to go along with all of the aesthetics.

This yr isn’t any totally different. Now we have Pac-12 champion Utah — the one group to beat USC (doing so twice) this season — going in opposition to Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 10-2, however whereas their losses have been by a mean of 18.5 factors in opposition to Michigan and Ohio State, they dominated everyone else on the schedule. These are two bodily, proficient soccer groups more likely to placed on an epic efficiency in an unbelievable ambiance. Do not even consider lacking it.

2. Fiesta Bowl: (2) Michigan vs. (3) TCU

Saturday, Dec. 31, 4 p.m. — The Fiesta Bowl supplies a matchup of two groups which might be extra related than you assume due to the fashion they like to play. TCU is a variety offense with numerous Air Raid parts offensively, however operating the ball remains to be elementary to the whole lot the Frogs do offensively — very similar to the Michigan offense, which is seen because the old-school, smash-mouth offense usually related to the Wolverines and the Large Ten.

The most important distinction this season is that TCU has been way more explosive by the air than Michigan, however the Wolverines have begun to indicate flashes in that division in current weeks. Nonetheless, the important thing shall be what these groups do within the crimson zone. Each have struggled to complete drives with touchdowns at instances this yr, and it is made some video games harder than they needed to be. The group that does the higher job right here will win and transfer on to the title sport.

1. Peach Bowl: (1) Georgia vs. (4) Ohio State

Saturday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. — If this is not a battle of heavyweights, then what’s? Certain, some individuals are mad at Ohio State being chosen for the School Soccer Playoff regardless of getting beat handily at dwelling by Michigan to complete the common season, however ignore that. Take a look at this matchup for what it’s. It is a sport between the defending champion with an elite protection in opposition to one of the vital proficient groups within the nation crammed with future NFL gamers.

If you cannot get enthusiastic about watching QB C.J. Stroud and Ohio State’s receiving corps going in opposition to the Georgia protection, what are you even doing studying these rankings? That is exactly the type of sport you dream of seeing whenever you watch faculty soccer. Playoff sport or not, it is a banger.