We just concluded with the individual awards for the 2022 college football season and now it is time for teams to go bowling. The season has been leading up to this very moment and it will not disappoint. We have our four playoff teams set along with 41 other bowl games to watch and dissect as we head into 2023. The semifinal playoff games are the ones you need to keep your eye close on since those games determine who plays in national championship game.
Odds courtesy of Caesar Sportsbook. All lines are subject to change
Fiesta Bowl: #3 TCU vs #2 Michigan (-7.5)
The undefeated Michigan Wolverines are making their second straight playoff appearance and are looking for a different outcome than what happened to them last season. Michigan’s run game and defense will have a lot to account for when they play the TCU Horned Frogs led by Heisman finalist Max Duggan and their explosive 400 yards per game offense in the Fiesta Bowl. Being a second half team, Michigan is going to have to control the clock early and get the run led by backup Donovan Edwards established to keep TCU on their heels. TCU should look to keep Michigan’s discipline defense disoriented with a mix of run and pass plays to open the field for a necessary down shot play to their best playmaker, WR Quentin Johnston. This game will be decided in the trenches.
Peach Bowl: #4 Ohio State vs #1 Georgia(-6.5)
The Georgia Bulldogs have competed their first ever 13-0 undefeated regular season firing off on all cylinders since the first game against Oregon having both a nationally ranked offense and defense in the top 10. They have crushed every team in their way, and they will get another test in their second matchup ever in history against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Heisman finalist Cj Stroud is going to have to put on his best a game with injuries derailing the running back and wide receiving room. With a defense that leaves a lot to be desired, Ohio State is going to have to lean on Stroud and Biletnikoff Award runner up WR Marvin Harrison Jr. to make the necessary plays in order convert long drives and get points on the board early. Georgia is working with a dominate defense, disciplined running game, and plays turnover-free football thanks to their Heisman finalist, veteran Stetson Bennett. It is going to be an uphill battle for the Buckeyes as soon as kick off starts.
Orange Bowl: #7 Clemson(-6.5) vs #6 Tennessee
Tennessee has seen better days with their star QB Hendon Hooker out with a torn ACL and a missed chance of reaching the college football playoffs. Enter Michigan transfer QB Joe Milton who has been praised for his cannon of an arm and ability to wear a defense down with his run style but his accuracy throwing down the field will be the deciding factor on if Tennessee can come out with a win or not along with finishing drives with touchdowns and not field goals. With a defense that has several question marks on it, it’s their job to focus on new Clemson starter Cade Klubnik and make sure that he doesn’t do what he did to North Carolina. Klubnik, who came in for the benched Dj Uiagalelei in the ACC championship, showed the Tigers that he can be an improvement to an already stagnant offense, but the question remains if they can go back to their regular form to the times of when Clemson had Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. Klubnik will have to create a spark early on the offense through the air to help create open lanes for running back Will Shipley against the dominate Tennessee run defense if they want to come out with a win.
Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma vs #13 Florida State (-7.5)
A team that ranks in the top 20 nationally in both offense and defense, the Florida State Seminoles have exceeded all expectations this season in Mike Norvell’s 3rd season as head coach. Star QB Jordan Travis has led the explosive Seminoles to a 9-3 record with five straight wins, blowing teams out scoring 28.2 points per game. On a hot streak, they look to continue their dominance against a disappointing Oklahoma Sooners team that went 6-6 and has had many close games not go in their favor. Led by UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel, the offense has been inconsistent, struggling in conference play with the defense having to make up for it on the backend. Oklahoma doesn’t want to see themselves playing from behind early because Florida State has made it adamant that they will not let their foot off the gas and if Oklahoma stalls out on offense, it’s going to be a very long day for that Sooner defense.
Gator Bowl: #20 South Carolina vs #19 Notre Dame (-2.5)
South Carolina is still rocking and having fun after upsetting two top 5 ranked teams in back-to-back weeks in spectacular fashion. Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler has bounced back after a rocky start to season to lead the Gamecocks to an 8-4 record and a bowl appearance in Florida against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is dealing with some growing pains on their end with their starting QB Drew Pyne entering the transfer portal along with several players declaring for the NFL Draft, including future first round pick, TE Michael Mayer. No matter for the Irish as they have one of best running games in football averaging 182 rushing yards per game and they are going against the Gamecocks who have one of the worst run defenses in college football allowing 5 yards per carry, 21st-most rushing yards in the nations. The Gamecocks will have a tough battle in the trenches, and it will be up to Rattler to make the Irish pay through the air.