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Outside Looking In

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Greetings from The Booth!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas (although that’s pretty wondeful, too), but the college bowl season is upon us. For participating teams, bowl season means an extra week of practice time to prepare for next season. For some players, it’s a chance to showcase their talents to NFL scouts on a national stage, although some sit out their school’s bowl game for fear of injury. For fans, it’s a chance to root for their favorite college teams one more time. Oh, and did we mention the free swag bags that most bowls offer to the players?

Many of our regional teams will be bowlin’ this Holiday season. My WVU Mountaineers are goling to the prestigous Duke’s Mayo Bowl to take on North Carolina. Mayo, Schmayo…I don’t care. It’s the first bowl game for the Mounties since 2021, so I can’t wait! It was also great that JMU got into a bowl game–the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force–so we can forget about that antiquated 2-year bowl ban that was imposed on the Dukes. Virginia Tech, who played better as the season went along, will also head to a bowl, the Military Bowl in Annapolis, where they will face Tulane. ODU will see bowl action, as will undefeated Liberty, who gets Oregon in the Fiesta–ouch!

Of course, the bowls that count are the two National Semifinals, as the CFP committee chose it’s top 4 teams this past weekend. As you might expect, there is some controversy, as several teams that were in the playoff, are now on the outside looking in. Alabama, which survived the Auburn game 2 weeks ago on a miracle touchdown, ended Georgia’s 29-game win streak in the SEC title game last weekend, and is now the 4-seed. Michigan, who bruised and battered it’s way to a 13-0 mark, vaulted into the number-1 spot and will now face The Tide in the Rose Bowl.

In the other National semi, 13-0 Washington will take on Texas in the Sugar Bowl, leaving former number-1 Georgia and undefeated Florida State on the outside looking in. Both have legitimate gripes. The Bulldogs fell all the way to number-6 after a narrow loss to Alabama. To me, it’s hard to make the argument that a 2-time defending National Champion who won 29 consecutive games is deserving of that kind of free fall. The “eye test” tells me that they are still one of the best four teams in the country.

As for Florida State, the committee cited an injury to the Seminoles’ quarterback as the reason for being left out. While that injury changes the dynamic of the FSU team, they were in the top-4 and took care of their business to finish 13-0. What more can a team do beyond winning all it’s games?

Clearly, the CFP committee valued “brand” over body of work, and they have the 4 teams they want in the College Football Playoff. In case you didn’t know, the CFP field will expand to 12 teams starting with the 2024 season. For Georgia and Florida State, that’s not soon enough…

Enjoy the bowl games, and until the next visit from The Booth…Happy Holidays!

RW

 

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