“Let’s go Bowling”: A look into the 2022 NCAA bowl games

Ryan MacReynolds, Sports Writer

The month of December means cold weather, the holiday season, and to the diehard college football fans, bowl season. Beginning Dec. 16, a total of 42 bowl games will be played in a 25 day span featuring every college football team in division 1 that won at least six games out of the 12 played in the regular season.
Teams are ranked and placed in bowl games based on their regular season record as well as the conference they play in to prevent teams from the same conference from playing each other. For the top four teams in the country, the situation is a little more serious, the top four teams are placed in the College Football Playoff to decide who wins the National Championship.
On Dec. 31, Georgia will face Ohio State and Michigan will take on TCU in the semifinals then the winners of each game will face each other in the National Championship game on Jan. 9.
While a lot of the games may not draw attention, here’s a quick preview of some of them that might.
Cricket Celebration Bowl: Jackson State vs NC Central
Date: Dec. 17 Time: 12:00 Tv Channel: ABC
Jackson State brings their impressive 12-0 record in, led by head coach Deion Sanders who’s coaching his final game at the school. They dominated their competition all season at the FCS level, led by Deion’s son Shadeur Sanders at quarterback. NC Central went 9-2 and won their conference to qualify for the game, hard to imagine that their middle of the pack offense an defense will be able to keep up with the juggernaut that is Jackson State.
Staff Picks: Ryan- Jackson State Daniel- Jackson State Holden- Jackson State Matthew- Jackson State Dylan- Jackson State
Gasparilla Bowl: Missouri vs Wake Forest
Date: Dec. 23 Time: 6:30 Tv Channel: ESPN
Wake Forest comes into the game after a disappointing 7-5 record in the regular season, led by a high powered offense that averaged 36.8 points per game and is driven by star quarterback Sam Hartman. Unfortunately for them their defense has really held them back this season, giving up nearly 30 points a game and over 400 yards. Missouri finished the season 6-6, beating Arkansas in their final game to become bowl eligible. They are a very balanced team on the stat sheet, averaging 25 points scored and allowed per game, featuring star freshman receiver Luther Burden.
Staff Picks: Ryan- Wake Forest Daniel- Wake Forest Holden- Wake Forest Matthew-Wake Forest Dylan-Wake Forest
Military Bowl: Duke vs UCF
Date: Dec. 28 Time: 2:00 Tv Channel: ESPN
Duke was the feel good story of the ACC this season, finishing with a surprising 8-4 record. Their offense ranks 38th in the nation, led by quarterback Riley Leonard and backed by a solid run game. UCF at 9-4 is led by a dynamic offense ranked 28th in the country, 2 sport athlete John Rhys Plumlee has had a nice year at quarterback for the Knights, but the strength of the team lies in their rushing attack which is 8th in the country.
Staff picks- Ryan- UCF Daniel-UCF Holden- UCF Matthew- UCF Dylan-UCF
Holiday Bowl: Oregon vs North Carolina
Date: Dec. 28 Time: 8:00 Tv Channel: FOX
Both of these teams had catastrophic ends to the regular season, both were in contention for top four consideration with two games to go before taking a sharp wrong turn that destroyed both team’s hopes. Nevertheless it should be an entertaining matchup between two of the best quarterbacks in the country, Bo Nix for Oregon and Drake Maye for the Tar Heels. North Carolina’s roster has been battered by players transferring out before this game so they will be at an extreme disadvantage.
Staff Picks- Ryan- Oregon Daniel-Oregon Holden-Oregon Matthew- Oregon Dylan-Oregon
Duke’s Mayo Bowl: Maryland vs NC State
Date: Dec. 30 Time: 12:00 Tv Channel: ESPN
NC State has had to fight through tons of adversity this season, constantly being ravaged by injuries but they still managed to finish with a 7-5 record. Tough to really give a preview of their offense considering they’ve already used five quarterbacks this year but we do know that their defense is sharp and has been excellent this year led by linebacker Peyton Wilson. Maryland started off hot this season before going on a dry spell to finish off. Injuries have been an obstacle for them as well, consider this an intriguing matchup between whatever is left of each squads.
Staff picks- Ryan- NC State Daniel- Maryland Holden-Maryland Matthew- NC State Dylan-NC State
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs Tennessee
Date: Dec. 30 Time: 8:00 Tv Channel: ESPN
Tennessee was on top of the world for the majority of the season, seemingly a lock for the College Football Playoff before it all fell apart one night in Columbia, South Carolina where they lost a critical game and their star quarterback. Nevertheless they bring a roster with a lot of talent into this matchup against the ACC champion, Clemson Tigers. Coincidentally Clemson also had their playoff hopes crushed by South Carolina but they come in riding a wave of optimism after freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik entered ten minutes into the ACC championship game and put together an outstanding performance to down the Tar Heels 39-10. Clemson is led by their dangerous rushing attack highlighted by running back Will Shipley who is hailed as one of the best in the country.
Staff picks- Ryan- Tennessee Daniel-Clemson Holden- Clemson Matthew- Clemson Dylan-Clemson
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Kansas State
Date: Dec. 31 Time: 12:00 Tv Channel: ESPN
Interesting matchup here between the Big 12 champion, Kansas State Wildcats who knocked off TCU to end their undefeated run in the conference championship game. Wildcat running back Deuce Vaughn has carried the load for this offense, putting up record breaking numbers on the season while the defense came up big in some clutch situations time and again over the course of the season. Alabama lost two games this season, both of them on the road against elite teams (Tennessee and LSU) which derailed their hopes of winning a national title with star quarterback Bryce Young. Their high powered offense is paired with a defense headed by Will Anderson, the number one defender in the country.
Staff picks- Ryan- Alabama Daniel- Alabama Holden- Kansas State Matthew- Alabama Dylan-Alabama
Cotton Bowl: USC vs Tulane
Date: Jan. 2 Time: 1:00 Tv Channel: ESPN
USC had their hearts broken in the conference championship game against Utah as they watched their playoff hopes die at the hands of Cam Rising and the Utes. Nevertheless they have the Heisman trophy winner Caleb Williams at quarterback and he is set to put up some big numbers with all the weapons he has at his disposal. Tulane took down UCF in their conference title game to qualify for this game, they have been a steady force this season but given the gap in talent and competition between these two teams, look for Caleb Williams and USC to have a good performance.
Staff Picks: Ryan- USC Daniel-USC Holden- USC Matthew- USC Dylan-USC
Rose Bowl: Utah vs Penn State
Date: Jan. 2 Time: 5:00 Tv Channel: ESPN
Utah knocked off USC in the Pac 12 conference championship game and enters this matchup riding a huge wave of confidence as quarterback Cam Rising has led them to back to back conference championships and Rose Bowl appearances. The Utes had their hearts broken by Ohio State last year in this game and they’ll have their work cut out for them in a game against the Nittany Lions who once again just could not put the pieces together to make a move against Michigan or Ohio State in their conference. Despite that they are a consistent source of future professional players and a stalwart defensive squad. Will be fun to see if Rising can navigate that tough Penn State defense to bring home a huge win for Utah.
Staff picks- Ryan- Utah Daniel-Penn State Holden-Utah Matthew- Utah Dylan-Utah
Fiesta Bowl: Michigan vs TCU
Date: Dec. 31 Time: 4:00 Tv Channel: ESPN
Two teams who were not picked to be playing in the College Football Playoff before the season enter with high expectations. Michigan took down Ohio State in Columbus earlier this year and then won the Big 10 championship to lock in their spot in the playoff. Unfortunately they will be without star running back Blake Corum but since he’s been injured they haven’t skipped a beat. TCU was the surprise of the college football world this season, going all the way to the conference championship game before finally losing. They bring a balanced offensive attack and a stout defense into this matchup, will be interesting to see if they can slow down Michigan.
Staff Picks: Ryan- Michigan Daniel-Michigan Holden-Michigan Matthew- Michigan Dylan-TCU
Peach Bowl: Georgia vs Ohio State
Date: Dec. 31 Time: 8:00 Tv Channel: ESPN
The Bulldogs enter as the clear number one team in the nation and a clear favorite to repeat as national champions, led by an elite defense and last year’s national championship MVP, Stetson Bennett at quarterback. The Buckeyes will present a unique challenge to those hopes as quarterback CJ Stroud can seemingly make every throw possible and has an elite core of receivers to compliment his arm talent. Look for some offensive fireworks in this one.
Staff Picks- Ryan- Georgia Daniel-Georgia Holden-Georgia Matthew-Georgia Dylan-Georgia
National Championship will be played on January 9th in Los Angeles, teams in it will be found out on December 31st.
Staff picks (for national champion)- Ryan- Georgia Daniel-Georgia Holden-Michigan Matthew- Georgia Dylan-Georgia