Bowl Predictions – 2022

How the season ended:  The ACC was bad so their conference champion was not getting into the playoffs no matter what.  USC was in with a win but could not secure the victory once heisman winner Caleb Williams was injuried.  From there, the conference champions from the Big Ten and SEC started the playoff bracket, TCU earned a spot before their championship was even played, but the extra spot left the opening Ohio State needed to slide into the 4th spot.  Great to see the Big Ten get two teams in instead of the SEC for a change.  And I doubt there is a Buckeye fan out there that would be disappointed with an all Big Ten championship game.

This Year’s Top Bowl Games With 43 bowl games, there is no reason for us to review every game. So we are focusing on the playoff games and round it out with the remaining ‘New Year Six’ games.  The games start Friday night as Tennessee takes on Clemson in the Orange Bowl.  Can the Volunteers overcome the loss of their starting quarterback?  ….  Saturday games open with Alabama and Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.  The Wildcats are thrilled to be there while the Tide will always feel entitled.  Can Kansas State continue their momentum from the victory over TCU in the Big 12 championship?  ….  From there the playoffs begin as Michigan and TCU face off in the Fiesta Bowl.  The Horned Frogs have been riding the underdog card all season, will it work again in the bowls?  ….  After that game, Ohio State will go up against the defending champs Georgia in the Peach Bowl, also known as home away from home for the Bulldogs.  Both teams are talented, which team will make the most plays?  ….  The games will resume on the 2nd starting with USC and Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.  Can the favorited Trojans still win with the number of departures they have?  ….  And we finish off with Penn State and Utah in the grandaddy of them all.  How will the Rose Bowl people feel as the Pac-12 runner-up plays the third best team in the Big Ten?    

Here are our Bowl picks for this season – Go Bucks!!  Be sure to add to the comments below your game score prediction for the Peach Bowl  – Gregg

For Buckeye50 Game Picks for 2022 season, click here

 (1)Georgia(-6.5)  vs.  (4)Ohio State

Chick-fil-A PEACH BOWL

Coach Rick:  Ohio State

Cory:  Confidence in Ohio State fell dramatically after the crushing loss at home to Michigan in ‘The’ Game. Are the Buckeyes as bad as the final score indicated? No, they are not. The talent on this team is elite and should be able to compete with the best of the best. Which leads us to Georgia. The Bulldogs have proven that they are the best of the best. They are the defending national champions, they are undefeated, and at pretty much every point this season they’ve looked unbeatable. Of all teams that went up against Georgia this season, it was Missouri that gave the Bulldogs the most trouble, oddly enough. In order to win Ohio State will need to have a balanced offense. Yes, it is possible to beat Georgia in the passing game but the run game has to be present in some capacity. Second, Ohio State cannot underestimate Stetson Bennett. He is good and will make you pay if you let your guard down. Though I am higher on the Buckeyes right now than many others, overcoming the goliath of Georgia seems like too tall of a task. The Bulldogs are so efficient in every aspect of the game that Ohio State would have to play a near flawless game to pull off the upset.   Georgia 35, Ohio State 24

GreggI guess it is true that it just doesn’t matter how you got there, the goal was to get to the playoffs.  And the Buckeyes did just that, basically backing into the game after an unfortunate loss to Michigan to end the season.  Hopefully the bad taste of that defeat has been lost in the mouth of the players and has been replaced with a hunger to beat the defending champs.  Ohio State is going to need to make plays, they will need to control the clock and hold on to the ball.  And if they want to have a fake punt, they need a long snapper that will snap it to the proper player.  CJ Stroud is going to need to hit the receivers in stride and not make every pass to Marvin Harrison Jr a circus catch. The offense need to not be one dimensional so the running backs are going to need to produce.  And the defense, will they need a few 3 and outs this time, and they can’t give up multiple scores on plays of over 50 yards like they did against the Wolverines.  A defensive score would be a bonus, but at a minumum, control the tight ends and Stetson Bennett as a runner.  If they can do all this and not have a game called so close to the vest that the buttons pop, just maybe they will win.  What I want, and I don’t ask for much is for the Buckeyes to play the entire game, like they did the second half of the Rose Bowl.  Then again, as Bill Murray would say, it just doesn’t matter because even if they play so far over their heads that their noses bleed for a week to ten days, Georgia will still get all the good looking girls cause the SEC players have all the money.   Ohio State 38  Georgia 28 

Jason:  Georgia

JoshThe Buckeyes versus the Bulldogs is a match up that has been years in the making, and we are finally getting a chance to see it. For two historic teams, the fact that this is their second ever only meeting is a travesty to the sport, but the 2022 editions of both teams have the most talented rosters in the country and if you look at the efficiency ratings, there are two of the most efficient teams on both sides of the ball. Ohio State is on their second lease on life and playing in an indoor stadium plays to the strengths of the make up of this Ryan Day team, but Kirby Smart’s Georgia defense is going to make it tough for the Buckeyes to get anything going in the run game, and will try to make Stroud win the game with his arm and arsenal of wide-receivers. To me, the biggest difference in this game is if Ohio State can score in the redzone, and if they can, this will be an epic clash. If they can’t, then they will need to play a perfect defensive game to give themselves a chances. With the embodiment of the underdog, and playing in a fast track stadium, a healthy Buckeyes can pull the upset against a Georgia team who has not been tested against a team all season with equal talent.   Ohio State 42  Georgia 39 

Final Score:  Georgia 42   Ohio State 41 


(2)Michigan(-7.5)  vs.  (3)TCU


Coach Rick:  TTUN

Cory:  While it may be unpopular with readers of this site, as well as fellow Buckeye fans, I think Michigan is the real deal. They did not beat Ohio State because of a few lucky plays, or missed calls, illuminati, or whatever silly excuses have been conjured up. The Wolverines simply outplayed Ohio State in the second half, and by a lot. You have to give Michigan credit – they are incredibly well rounded. TCU enters the playoff similar to Ohio State – limping in coming off a loss. The Horned Frogs are a terrific story, and they are fun to watch, but I am not sure they even belong on the same field as this Michigan team. TCU had six come-from-behind wins this season. Six! That kind of play is not sustainable, and it is certainly not a good gameplan against a team like Michigan. Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan has been terrific but he gets away with a lot of throws, and sometimes I think TCU leans too heavily on the passing game instead of trying to be balanced. You can’t pull the upset being one-dimensional like that.   Michigan 28  TCU 17

GreggMichigan has had a great season, following up their playoff appearance last year.  They deserve to be in the playoffs and owns the best win of any team in 2022.  If their non-conference schedule wasn’t so bad, they ay have had a case to be the #1 seed.  I think last year they were just excited to beat the Bucks for the first time in a decade, win the conference for the first time in two decades, they just enjoyed the playoff appearance.  This year they want more.  TCU has had a great year but so many of their games were won late and they could have easily had a couple losses.  Expect great quarterback play in this one but no necessarily a high score.  Look for the normal pattern for the Wolverines, keep it close in the first half, find a way to win in the second.   Michigan 27  TCU 24 

Jason:  TCU

JoshBased on how both teams finished the season, it would be easy to lean Michigan in this game, even without Blake Corum. Donovan Edwards stepped up after finally getting healthy in the Wolverines last two games, and JJ McCarthy was able to open ups the playbook with his arms and legs, Even though they have been wins, McCarthy still only passed for 50% and his game against Ohio State with the long passing game was the only example of where it looked like they were multidimensional. The Horn Frogs though are the surprise team in the playoff this year, and they are scrappy offensively with a really good defensive back. If you want to look at their best game to compare on how they can beat Michigan, look no further than the game against Texas, where they only allowed 3 offensive points, and won 17-10. The Horn Frogs stopped the Doak Walker winner Bijan Robinson, and will look to do the same again the Wolverine run game. Also, the Horn Frogs have a strong secondary that should challenge the Wolverine wideouts comparably to how Penn State and Illinois was able to make the quarterback forced to make plays. I think this game will be a quick one since both teams try to stay in their game plan and limit possessions for the other team. I think TCU leads in the first half, but the Wolverines make the adjustments to win in the second half and advance the the National Championship.   Michigan 34  TCU 21 

Final Score:  TCU 51   Michigan 45 


(5)Alabama(-6.5)  vs.  (9)Kansas St.

Coach Rick:  Alabama

Cory:  Alabama thinks it had a case to be in the College Football Playoff despite losing two games and not making it to the conference title game. Similar to USC, the Crimson Tide are not happy with their bowl assignment and may not be fully motivated when they step onto the field. Unlike USC, the Crimson Tide are playing a real opponent in Kansas State. The Wildcats put a stop to TCU’s undefeated season with a come-from-behind win in the Big 12 Championship game, and they have a level of fight in them most teams dream of. You can look at stats and talent and say that Bama will win easily but I am not so sure that is the case. Wildcat quarterback Will Howard has been on fire since replacing the injured Adrian Martinez, and Deuce Vaugh is a threat every time he touches the ball. Alabama will need to have a good plan to slow down the rushing attack from Kansas State. The X-factor in this game is Bama quarterback Bryce Young. Are we going to see the good Bryce Young – the one who obliterated Georgia in the conference championship game last season? Or the one that looked lost against that same Bulldog team just a few weeks later. Though I like Kansas State a lot, I am not going to bet against the Crimson Tide in this one.   Alabama 31  Kansas State 21

GreggAlabama is so used to playing in the playoffs, are they a target for a potential let down?  What will Saban do to get them motivated. It would be hard to pick the Wildcats to win this one but maybe the timing is right to take down the Tide.  In the early bowl games the SEC is not doing that well but neither is the Big 12.  But Kansas State can brag they have the only win over TCU this season and that may be the second best win of the year.  And it took a goal line stand in the Big 12 championship game to secure the win. But defeating Alabama is no easy task and they did not have the bowl game opt out numbers some might have expected. I expect Bryce Young to make just enough plays for the win in close one.  Alabama 24  Kansas State 22  

Jason:  Alabama

JoshYou have to give credit to Nick Saban and Alabama who are not only coming into this game with the 2023 top recruiting class, but they are playing in a “meaningless bowl game” with their best players in Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr. The Crimson Tide were on the cusp of potentially making the playoff, with their chances increasing slightly once USC and TCU lost, but they found themselves in the 5th spot, first team out, and will represent the SEC in the Sugar Bowl. Kansas State had a strong showing against TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game, and won the game in overtime to represent the Big 12, and have a strong run game that should be an interesting match up against one of the weaker Alabama defenses. I think this game will be played with a lot of energy to begin, but Alabama will win this one in a partially empty stadium to keep Nick Sabans “dynasty” alive, and propel them to a top 5 preseason ranking for 2023.  Alabama 35  Kansas State 24 

Final Score:  Alabama 45   Kansas State 20 

(6)Tennessee(-4.0)  vs.  (7)Clemson



Coach Rick:  Clemson  

Cory:  It is the battle of the Orange and the loser has to stop wearing it once and for all! You have to wonder if Clemson didn’t get upset by South Carolina if the Tigers would’ve jumped Ohio State for the fourth playoff spot. Clemson will be without quarterback DJ Uiagalelei after he decided to transfer to Oregon State, leaving Cade Klubnik as the unquestioned starter. Klubnik’s been very good in relief, but how will he do as the full-time starter? Tennessee was in the middle of a dream season before losses to Georgia and South Carolina derailed them. The Gamecocks really mucked things up, didn’t they? While Tennessee was a fun team to watch this season, their offense took a huge hit when quarterback Hendon Hooker suffered an ACL injury in the loss to South Carolina. He will be replaced by Joe Milton III. Milton is a capable quarterback, but he’s just nowhere near as good as Hooker. I have more faith in Klubnik than Milton so I will give the edge to Clemson.   Clemson 42  Tennessee 24

Gregg I truly think this would have been a better game but all Tennessee if Hendon Hooker had not been injuried.  And in spite of winning the ACC, it was the weakest team Clemson has fielded in several years.  And perhaps South Carolina feels like they should have got the Orange Bowl bid as the defeated both of these the last two weeks of the season.  At any rate the Tigers should have just enough to get a win and salvage a little respect for the ACC.   Clemson 27  Tennessee 17 

Jason:  Clemson

Josh: The Orange Bowl will be appropriately represented by two teams know for their special shade of orange. Tennessee enters this game after a slight spiral off a season, losing to Georgia and South Carolina, and their star quarterback Hendon Hooker. The top wide-out Jaylin Hyatt declared for the NFL draft and will not play in the game. Clemson won the ACC Championship after getting left out in 2021, and found their future quarterback with Cade Klubnik, which forced DJU out to Oregon State. Clemson should be as healthy as they have been, and although Tennessee has a good offense, it will not be the same in this game as they were prior to November 5th.   Clemson 28   Tennessee 21

 Final Score:  Tennessee 31   Clemson 14 


(8)Utah(-2.0)  vs.  (11)Penn State

ROSE BOWL by Prudential

Coach Rick:  Utah

Cory:  The Rose Bowl might have the most intriguing matchup of the big bowl games this season. Utah is playing in the game for its second consecutive season, and after a narrow loss to Ohio State last year the Utes are itching for a win in this one. Penn State enters the game a bit of an enigma. The Nittany Lions’ only losses are to No. 2 Michigan and No. 4 Ohio State, but the strength of schedule outside of those games is bad. Is Penn State a product of its schedule? Or are the Nittany Lions a really good team that fell just short in their two biggest games? I think Penn State will be tough to beat in this one, but there is something about the Utes. They are into this game with a lot of momentum after the huge upset over USC in the PAC 12 Championship game, and head coach Kyle Whittingham will have his team ready to go again in this one.   Utah 31  Penn State 28 

Gregg I think this game has the chance to be one of the better bowl games of the season.  Coach Franklin is always in the mode that he has to prove something, and when it comes down to it, there only two losses was to Ohio State and Michigan and no shame in that.  Utah is playing in the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row, mostly as a result of their two wins over USC.  The question is will the be able to stay motivated again like they were against Ohio State last January.  I think this will be entertaining to watch but Penn State finds a way to sneak by the Utes.  Perhaps Joe Pesci will be able to defend Whittingham’s boys.   Penn State 24  Utah 21 

Jason:  Utah 

Josh: This should be a great match up of quarterbacks with Sean Clifford and Cam Rising. Penn State has a good defense with a strong run game, and Utah plays they same style of game. I see this one being a low scoring game with Utah defeating Penn State in the end. Utah 24 – Penn State 21. 

Final Score:  Penn State 35   Utah 21 


(10)USC(-2.0)  vs.  (16)Tulane


Coach Rick:  USC

Cory:  Most of our bowl game picks should be good games. USC versus Tulane, well, I’ll be nice and say that there are probably some people that care about this game. The Trojans limped into the Cotton Bowl after getting dismantled by Utah and seeing their playoff hopes evaporate. Tulane manages to get into the Cotton Bowl after upsetting UCF in the American Athletic Conference Championship game. Though I expect USC to sleepwalk through their prep for this game, the overwhelming talent difference should be enough to carry them to a win in this one.   USC 42  Tulane 17 

GreggAnyone else surpised that Las Vegas has USC as only a two point favorite? I must have been the wins Tulane had over Alcorn State or UMass that has really impressed the wise guys.  The Trojans fell to the Cotton bowl because the lost to Utah at the wrong time, twice.  The Green Wave was elevated to game because they spilt there meetings against UCF but knew which one to win.  This bowl is what you get with the idea of ‘automatic qualifiers’.  Get used to that when the bean counters of college football expand the playoffs to 12 teams in a couple of years.  If Caleb Williams has recovered from his Conference Championship game injury, he will have a career day to cap off his Heisman winning season.   USC 38  Tulane 10 

Jason:  Tulane 

Josh: Congrats to Tulane for representing the AAC and Group of 5 in the NY6 bowls, but they will have their hands full with a Lincoln Riley offense, and going against Heisman winner Caleb Williams, who should be healthy after getting hurt in the PAC-12 Championship Game. I don’t see this one being close, and USC wins a game with their offense, even without Jordan Addison. USC 42 – Tulane 21. 

Final Score:  Tulane 46   USC 45 

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