Bowl Season Recap - Georgia Bulldogs Repeat as National Champs With 65-7 Blowout of TCU

January 10, 2023 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

Georgia became the first team to win back-to-back titles in the College Football Playoff era (began 2014) with a convincing 65-7 blowout of TCU in at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California in Monday night. The 58-point difference is the largest margin of victory in a postseason game (bowl or national championship game) in the history of college football, topping the margin of 56 that was tied just a week earlier by LSU's 63-7 domination of Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.

SEC teams have now won 6 of the 9 playoff championship games played with Alabama capturing 3 titles (2015, 2017, 2020), Georgia two (2021, 2022), and LSU one (2019). Clemson of the ACC (2016, 2018) and Ohio State (2014) took the other three.

The tone was set early as Georgia took a quick 10-0 lead, forcing a Horned Frogs' punt on the opening possession of the game and then marching 57 yards to paydirt on with QB Stetson Bennett 21-yard run capping a quick 5-play drive. TCU then fumbled at its own 33 but held the Bulldogs to a 24-yard field goal to make it 10-0. And the Horned Frogs provided some false hope of a possible interesting matchup by cutting it to 10-7 with 4:45 to play in the first quarter. Unfortunately, Max Duggan's 2-yard run was the last time TCU dented the scoreboard. Two interceptions in the first half would lead to two more Georgia TD's for a 38-7 advantage and this one was over by the break.

Bennett finished the night with 6 total TD's as he tossed 4 scoring passes and ran for 2. Brock Bowers had 7 catches for 152 yards and 7 scores. Backup QB Carson Beck also threw a TD pass.

Georgia had 32 first downs to TCU's 9, and out-gained the Horned Frogs 589-188. Bennett was named offensive player of the game and Javon Bullard was named defensive MVP as he accounted for all 3 turnovers with a fumble recovery and 2 interceptions that led to 17 Georgia points.

Before a single snap was taken in the season, the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com projected a Final Four of Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama and Clemson. Clemson and 'Bama didn't make it, but the Tigers won the ACC title and the Tide only lost two games by a total of four points before closing out their campaign with a Sugar Bowl win over Kansas State while securing double-digit wins for a 15th straight season. Two of the four did survive and the Buckeyes and Bulldogs played each other in the second semifinal game in Atlanta in the Peach Bowl. At the end of the season, the computer had Michigan and Ohio State picked to stage a rematch of their regular season finale, but both fell as the Wolverines were upset 51-45 by TCU in the Fiesta Bowl and Georgia rallied to a 42-41 win over Ohio State in a game that wasn't over until the Buckeyes' shot at a game-winning 50-yard field goal came nowhere close at the stroke of midnight and the welcoming of 2023.

2022 Conference Bowl Challenge Records

Last Update: January 2 (all bowls)

Conference W-L Games Pct.
MAC 4-2 6 .667
Independents 3-2 5 .600
American
4-3 7 .571
ACC 5-4 9 .556
Big 10
5-4 9 .556
SEC 6-5 11 .545
CUSA 3-3 6 .500
MWC 3-4 7 .428
PAC-12 3-4 7 .428
Sun Belt
3-4 7 .428
Big 12
2-6 8 .250
NOTE: CFP Championship game does not count in bowl standings

In all, this bowl season saw a lot of great football with solid coaching, excellent play, and numerous competitive games, with contests that included 14 first-time matchups.

Here is a brief recap of each game played, in order from most recent to the beginning of bowl season.

January 2

The final bowl game of the season saw Penn State flex its muscle in the second half of the Rose Bowl, especially after Cameron Rising had to leave with an apparent knee injury, and beat Utah 35-21. The Nittany Lions won their second Rose Bowl ever, and first since 1994, by going on a 21-0 run after the break before the Utes put a late score. Big plays, in addition to a relentless defense, were the story as Penn State went ahead 21-14 on Nicholas Singleton's 87-yard TD run in the 3rd, and stretched the lead to 28-14 with Sean Clifford's 88-yard hookup with KeAndre Lambert-Smith for a TD at the start of the fourth. Utah dropped o 10-4 on the year and its 4th straight bowl loss lowered the Utes' record in these postseason affairs to 18-8. Penn State finished 11-2 and is now 31-19-2 in bowl games. Clifford finished 16-of-21 for 279 and a pair of TD's while Singleton had 120 yards on 7 carries and 2 scores. For Utah, Rising was held to an 8-of-21 night passing for just 95 yards, a TD and a pick. In relief of Rising, Bryson Barnes was 10-of-19 for 112, a TD and an INT.

To borrow a phrase from the inimitable late ABC sportscaster Howard Cossel, "Down goes Frazier". Tulane, a 2-10 team a year ago, capped off a remarkable 12-2 season by rallying for a 46-45 win over USC in the Cotton Bowl in the first 'major' bowl' appearance for the program since the 1939 season Sugar Bowl. The Green Wave trailed 45-30 after USC's Dennis Lynch kicked a 43-yard field goal with 4:30 to play, but the big news was that the defense didn't allow more damage on that drive. On the first play of the ensuing possession, Michael Pratt connected with Duece Watts for 59 yds to the USC 4 and Tyjae Spears ran it in on the next play. After a mishandled kick-off return, the Trojans had to start from their own 1-yard line from which Austin Jones was tackled in the end zone for a safety on the second play to make it 45-39 with 3:20 still to play. The safety meant USC would also have to kick off and give Tulane one last chance at a a miracle finish. Beginning at its own 34-yard line, the drive started inauspiciously with an 11-yard sack, but Spears ran for 10 to the Tulane 33 and Pratt ran for 5 to make it 4th and 6. Then, Pratt scrambled for 8 yards and a fresh set of downs. After a timeout, Pratt was once again sacked for a loss of 4 and after consecutive incompletions, Tulane was again down to one play. Pratt scrambled to his right, looked to run, then threw back to the center of the field to a wide open Alex Bauman and a 1st down at the USC 30. Pratt spiked the ball on 1st down to stop the clock at 22 seconds. From there, a pass to Deuce Watts over the middle set up first down at the 6 and the clock was stopped as Watts and the defender both lay motionless on the ground before each was eventually able to leave the field on their own power. An attempted pass to Bauman in the right flat was fortunately dropped as a catch would have led to a tackle in the field of play and an expiration of the clock. The next play was a perfect throw to Bauman, with tight coverage, a yard deep in the end zone that was initially ruled incomplete. But upon video review, it was an obvious catch and ruled as such for Tulane's first lead with 9 just seconds left. USC tried several laterals on its final play after the kickoff which ultimately ended with a fumble recovery by Tulane to end the game. The Trojans had leads of 14-0, 28-14 and 45-30, and the Green Wave were able to battle back from each deficit. USC's Heisman-winning QB Caleb Williams threw for 462 yards and 5 TD's with 1 INT as the Trojans finished 11-3 in their first season under head coach Lincoln Riley for whom Williams followed to Los Angeles. Tulane's chances were kept in sight by Spears' 205-yard, 4 TD performance, and Pratt's heroics in crunch time brought the upset to fruition. Mind you, this was only a minor upset with regards to the spread, which closed between 1 and 2-1/2 in favor of USC, but still a major upset with regards to the status of these teams over the last 80 years.

Another game that kicked off at the same time as the Cotton Bowl was the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, and it was easily the worst game of the bowl season - especially for Purdue fans. LSU romped to a 63-7 win over a undermanned Purdue team that had lost its head coach, OC, QB, top WR and more since its appearance in the B1G championship game against Michigan. It even ended worse as Purdue WR Deion Burks had to be carted off the field with an apparent major concussion when it head slammed against the turf on the attempted catch of a long pass down the left sideline. The Bayou Bengals led 14-0 at the end of one, 35-0 at hafltime and 49-0 after three before Purdue dented the scoreboard in the fourth. The Tigers finished the season 10-4 in their first season with Brian Kelly as head coach while the Boilermakers dropped to 8-6. It's noteworthy that Purdue lost the 2018 Music City Bowl to another SEC foe, Auburn, by a similarly awful beatdown of 63-14.

In the first of four bowl games to kick off the calendar year 2023, Massimo Biscardi's 27-yard field goal with 4 seconds left lifted Mississippi State to a 19-10 win over Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl, formerly known as Outback Bowl, in Tampa. At the time, the field goal made it 13-10, but Illinois tried multiple laterals to score on the game's final play and the Bulldogs' Marcus Banks returned it 60 yards for a touchdown and he final 19-10 count. That return did two things - 1) it created a 'bad beat' for anyone who had this game under the closing 3-to-4 point spread favoring Mississippi State, and, 2) it caused a bear full-blown brawl to occur. As far as the latter point is concerned, both benches emptied but intervention by coaches and some players prevented an eruption. It was the third straight bowl loss for Illinois which last won a bowl game win 2011. The game was dedicated to the memory of Bulldogs' head coach Mike Leach who had passed away exactly 3 weeks ago. Both teams were 8-4 entering the game.

December 31

The CFP Championship. #1 Georgia will be facing #3 seed TCU at SoFi Stadium in Ingelwood, California on Monday, January 9 for all the marbles.

Both semifinal games were riveting.

The nightcap in the Peach Bowl saw Georgia rally late on a 5-play, 72-yard drive that was brilliantly executed by Stetson Bennett, culminating in a 10-yard pass to Adonai Mitchell for a 41-all tie and followed by Jared Podlesny's PAT that became the game-winning point. But 54 seconds still remained and Ohio State had two timeouts in its pocket, so C.J. Stroud led his team into the edge of field goal range for Noah Ruggles who had just made a 48-yard FG prior to the Bulldogs' go-ahead drive. This time, from 50-yards away, Ruggles was unable to convert as the kick was instantly pulled well left. With just 3 ticks remaining, an emotional Bennett took one victory formation snap and began the celebration with his teammates. The Buckeyes stormed to a 21-7 lead in the first 19:04, but Georgia quickly rallied back with 17 unanswered points and took a 24-21 advantage with 1:44 left in the half. It looked like the Bulldogs would take that momentum to the locker room but Stroud led a 4-play 75-yard drive to put his team up 28-24 on Xavier Johnson's 37-yard TD catch. Ohio State once again asserted earlier dominance in the second half, growing its lead back to 14 at 38-24 with a 10-0 3rd quarter. That lead stood until the 10:14 mark of the final period when Podlesny knocked in a 37-yard kick and, after a quick 3-and-out by the Buckeyes, Bennett hit a wide open Arian Smith on the first play from scrimmage for a 76-yard touchdown and a 38-38 tie. For the game, Bennett completed 23-of-34 throws for 398 yards with 3 TD's and 1 INT and added a 3-yard TD run. Smith had 3 catches for 129 yards while the Georgia defense had 4 sacks and 6 tackles for loss. For Ohio State, Stroud was also 23-of-34 for 348 yards and 4 TD's while adding 34 on the ground. Marvin Harrison, Jr., who never returned after an apparent concussion in the 3rd quarter, had 5 catches for 106 yards and 2 of Ohio State's first three scores. The teams combined for exactly 1,000 yards with Georgia gaining 533 to Ohio State's 467. In the entire existence of the two programs, they had only met on one previous occasion and that took place 30 years ago in the 1993 in the Citrus Bowl which Georgia also won, 21-14. Ohio State finished the season with an 11-2 record while the 'Dawgs remain undefeated on their quest for back-to-back titles.

In the earlier semifinal contest, TCU built a 19-point lead and held on for a 51-45 upset of #2 seed Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl. Michigan became the first Big Ten team to lose in this bowl season while suffering a 6th straight bowl loss, including back-to-back semifinal games for the championship playoff. TCU became only the second Big 12 team to win a bowl game this year and the Horned Frogs have won 3 of those in-a-row. This was the first-ever meeting between the two programs. TCU had a 21-6 lead at the half, but Michigan quickly cut it to 21-16 with a field goal and a touchdown on its first two drives as TCU punted and threw a pick on its first two second half possessions. Then the flood gates of scoring just opened up. TCU scored the next 13 points, with the second touchdown coming on Dean Winters' 29-yard interception return. J.J. McCarthy answered for the Wolverines with a 20-yard TD run to cap a 3-play drive and it was 34-22. TCU responded with its own 3-play drive that ended in Max Duggan's 1-yard run after Emari Demercado ran for 8 and 69. Michigan returned the favor with a 3-play, 75-yard drive that featured two passes and a defensive holding to set up Kalel Mullings' 1-yard run and the score was 41-30 at the end of a 3rd quarter that featured a combined 44 points. TCU's Demercado fumbled on the first play of the next series, and Michigan needed just 2 plays to make it 41-38 on Roman Wilson's 18-yard run and subsequent 2-point conversion pass. Not ready to surrender by any means, Duggan connected with Quentin Johnston for a 76-yard score on the third play of the ensuing possession to make it 48-38. A punt by Michigan led to a field goal for TCU and a 51-38 cushion with 10:02 to go. The teams exchanged punts before Michigan managed a time-consuming drive and made it 51-45 with a 5-yard pass from McCarthy to Wilson. Michigan would get one last chance, but had to start from its own 25 with no timeouts and only 45 seconds left in the game. That drive went nowhere as TCU dialed up the pressure and took over on downs to run one victory formation play. Both teams are 13-1, but Michigan will once again go home and look to next season while TCU prepares for the College Football Playoff Championship Game.

Iowa defeated Kentucky 21-0 in the Music City Bowl. As was expected, the game produced very little offense with the teams combining for 391 total yards. Two of the three Iowa TD's came on interception returns of 52 and 14 yards in the second quarter after Luke Lachey's 15-yard TD catch from Joe Labas had made it 7-0 earlier in the same frame. It's Kentucky's first-ever shutout loss in a bowl game, and Iowa's second shutout bowl win as the Hawkeyes repeated the feat they accomplished in the 1996 Alamo Bowl when they blanked Texas Tech 27-0. Kentucky was without starting QB Will Levis and top RB Chris Rodriguez, both of whom declared for the NFL draft. The win lifted Iowa to an 8-5 finish and dropped Kentucky to 7-6 as the 'Cats 4-bowl winning streak came to an end. The same two teams played in last season's Citrus Bowl where Kentucky prevailed 20-17.

Alabama defeated Kansas State 45-20 in the Sugar Bowl in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. After falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter on Deuce Vaughn's 88-yard touchdown run, the game flipped almost as quickly as you could run to the fridge and the bathroom. Alabama was ahead 14-10 just 6 minutes and 53 seconds after Vaughn's run, and the Tide would go on to stretch the lead to 35-10 before KSU managed another score. In a bowl season where opt-outs and transfers were a dime a dozen, Alabama stars Bryce Young and Will Anderson, Jr. both played, but while Young tossed 5 TD passes, Anderson wasn't credited with a single tackle. A down year for the Crimson Tide meant an 11-2 campaign in which the two losses occurred by a total of 4 points and the program wound up with a 15th straight double-digit victory total. The Wildcats dropped to 10-4 for their best season since the Bill Snyder-coached 2021 team went 11-2.

December 30

In the last of five games on December 30, Hendon Hooker had to watch from the sideline in crutches as he continues to rehab from surgery after his season-ending ACL injury on November 19 against South Carolina, so roommate Joe Milton went to work and threw for 251 yards and 3 TD's to lead Tennessee to a 31-14 win over Clemson in the (all) Orange Bowl. Squirrel White had 9 catches for 108 yards and a TD to lead the receiving corps as Biletnikoff winner Jalin Hyatt had opted out for the NFL draft. The win lifted the Vols to an 11-2 finish while Clemson wrapped up the year with another ACC Championship and an 11-3 mark. Cade Klubnik was the Clemson starting QB in place of the transferred D.J. Uiagalelei (Oregon State) and had to throw the ball 54 times as the Tigers found themselves down 14-3 early in the game. He finished with 30 completions for 320 yards, but no TD's and 2 INT's. He led Clemson into scoring territory on the first five drives and all they got to show for it was a turnover on downs and 3 missed field goals from the generally reliable B.T. Potter before finally scraping one through on the fifth drive. In fact, Clemson had 13 more first downs (34-21), 109 more yards (484-375), and led in time of possession by nearly 13 minutes (36:23 to 23:37). Klubnik did manage to pull Clemson to within 21-14 on a 4-yard run with 10:01 left, but it wasn't enough as the Vols immediately answered with a 46-yard pass from Milton to Ramel Keyton just six plays later.

In the Arizona Bowl on Barstool Sports, Ohio edged Wyoming 30-27 in overtime on a 10-yard TD pass from C.J. Harris to Tyler Foster after the Cowboys had to settle for a 29-yard field goal. It was Foster's only catch of the game as the tight end came into the game with only 12 catches on the season and no touchdowns since scoring twice in the Fordham game on September 24. The Bobcats forced overtime on a 46-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation off the foot of Nathaniel Vakos. Wyoming had just taken the lead two minutes earlier. The win was Ohio's 4th straight in a bowl game while Wyoming's 3-bowl winning streak came to an end. The Bobcats finished the season 10-4 and while the Cowboys dropped to 7-6. It's the first 10-win season for Ohio since 2011, and just the third since 1968.

With starting QB Drew Pyne having long transferred to Arizona State, Tyler Buchner lifted Notre Dame to a 45-38 win in the Gator Bowl over South Carolina. Buchner threw for 274 and 3 TD's, and ran for 61 yards and 2 more scores. On the downside, he threw a 100-yard pick six with 7:42 left in the game that would have put his team by at least 13 and, instead, allowed the Gamecocks to tie the score at 38-each. But Buchner was unfazed and led his team right back down the field to score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:38 remaining on a 16-yard pass to Mitchell Evans. South Carolina's ensuing drive got as far as the Notre Dame 34 before an intentional grounding penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct call left the Gamecocks with a 4th and 36. South Carolina took a 21-7 lead, partly on kicker Kai Kroeger's 23-yard pass to Hunter Rogers. Notre Dame later got in on the special teams trickery by using a fake punt to sustain a scoring drive. The Irish finished their inaugural season under head coach Marcus Freeman at 9-4 after an 0-2 start, and the Gamecocks finished 8-5. The teams hadn't met since 1984 and the Irish are now 4-1 all-time in the series. South Carolina is now 0-5 all-time in Gator Bowls, including the first one ever played at the end of the 1945 season.

As well as any PGA player could draw a wedge to the flag, the left-footed Ben Sauls kicked that type of a 47-yard field goal into a stiff left-to-right wind with 4 seconds remaining to give Pittsburgh an incredible 37-35 win over UCLA in the Sun Bowl. The Panthers, who scored 20 answered points to take a 34-28 lead, missed on two great opportunities to put the game away, including a perfectly thrown bomb at the goal line and, later, a bobbled hand-off on a 4th down play with 1:53 remaining that would have allowed them to run out the clock. After the 4th down play failed, UCLA backup QB Ethan Garbers led the Bruins on an 8-play, 70-yard drive to take a 35-34 lead with only 34 seconds left, and Pitt burned its last two timeouts on the drive. But QB Nick Patti completed 2 passes for 35 yards, then ran for 11 to set up Saul's kick. Garbers subbed for Dorian Thompson-Robinson who appeared to have suffered some form of a back injury or spasms in the 3rd quarter. Patti was playing in place of Kedon Slovis who transferred to BYU after the regular season. Additionally, the Panthers were without RB Israel Abanikanda (nation's 7th leading rusher) who had declared for the NFL draft, and the Bruins were without Zach Charbonnet (nation's 4th-leading rusher) who was a game-time decision not to play. For Pitt, Rodney Hammond, Jr. ran for 96 yards and 2 TD's in place of Abanikanda and UCLA's T. J. Harden ran for 111 yards and a TD in place of Charbonnet. Both teams finished the season with 9-4 records. UCLA hasn't won a bowl game since 2014 with losses in its last 3.

Some people love mayo, some people hate it, and others are OK with a little. Maryland fans like it a lot after their Terrapins downed former ACC rival N.C. State 16-12 in the Duke's Mayo Bowl in Charlotte in the first game of the day. The last meeting was won by Maryland in 2013 before the Terps joined the Big Ten the next year. Maryland takes a 34-33-4 lead in the all-time series and finishes the season 8-5 for its best record since Ralph Friedgen's final season in 2010 after which he was fired. They first met in 1909. The game itself was close, but largely forgettable as the teams combined to score 7 field goals and 1 touchdown. N.C. State also finished the season 8-5 with its third straight bowl loss, but at least they got to play the game after last year's matchup with UCLA in the Holiday Bowl was canceled less than 5 hours before kick-off due to Covid issues with the Bruins.

December 30

A trio of bowl games on December 29 kicked off with Minnesota taking down Syracuse 28-20 in the Pinstripe Bowl for its sixth straight bowl win while halting the Orange's bowl winning streak at 4. Minnesota finished 9-4 while Syracuse dipped to 7-6 with its 6th loss in the last 7 games. Mohamed Ibrahim had just 16 carries for 71 yards, but that was enough to set the team career rushing record for the Golden Gophers as he ran his total to 4,668 yards.

Florida State secured its first 10-win season (10-3) since 2016 with a 35-32 victory over Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl. Ryan Fitzgerald's 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds left provided the game-winning points for the Seminoles. The Sooners, in Brent Venables' first season as head coach, finished below .500 (6-7) for the first time since 1998. It was Florida State's first win over Oklahoma since the 1964 Gator Bowl, and just the second all-time against the Sooners (2-6). The 'Noles improved to 4-0 in Cheez-It Bowls. Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel helped stake the Sooners to a 14-3 lead as the former UCF quarterback returned to Orlando and played one of his best games of the season as he completed 14-of-24 passes for 243 and a TD, and added a rushing TD. But Florida State's receivers overcame a case of the dropsies and outscored the Sooners 32-18 the rest of the way. Game MVP Jordan Travis was sensational, completing 27-of-38 throws for 418 yards and 2 scores, and he added another 50 on the ground. Johnny Wilson had 8 catches for 202 yards.

The final game on December 29 saw Washington top Texas 27-20 in the Alamo Bowl to finish 11-2 in Kalen DeBoer's first season as head coach after going just 4-8 a year ago. The Longhorns fell to 8-5 which was still 3 wins more than the 5-7 mark in 2021, but the loss ended their four-bowl winning streak. The Huskies three touchdowns took a combined 17:09 while using a total of 34 plays to go 251 yards. It was a back-breaking offensive display, led by Michael Penix, Jr. who was 32-of-54 for 287, 2 TD's and 1 INT. Running back Wayne Taulapapa added 108 yards on just 14 carries, including a 42-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that gave Washington a 13-3 lead. It was the first meeting between the two schools since the 2001 Holiday Bowl. Texas was without NFL draft-bound RB Bijan Robinson and only managed 51 yards on the ground, but Quinn Ewers was 31-of-47 for 369 yards and a touchdown.

December 28

In the last of four bowl games on December 28, Texas Tech jumped out to a 26-7 halftime lead and went on to a 42-25 win over favored Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl. Tyler Shough was 24-of-39 for 242 yards with a TD and an INT for the Red Raiders, and added 111 yards and 2 TD's on the ground. Ole Miss QB Jaxson Dart was 25-of-41 for 361 yards and 2 TD's but had 3 INT's. He added 66 yards and a TD on the ground. The Rebels have back-to-back losses in bowl games for the first time since 1966-1967. Both teams finish the season with 8-5 records. The 8 wins at Texas Tech are the most since Kliff Kingsbury in 2013 and came in Joey McGuire's first season as head coach

Oregon rallied past North Carolina for a 28-27 win in the Holiday Bowl in the first-ever game between the two schools. The tying score came on a 6-yard pass from Bo Nix to Chase Cota with :19 seconds to play, concluding an 8-play, 79-yard drive after which Cameron Lewis made a bank-shot off the left upright for the crucial go-ahead PAT. North Carolina drove to the Oregon 41 but eschewed a 58-yard FG try in favor of a Hail Mary attempt that fell incomplete on the final play of the game. The Ducks entered the final period down 10, but pulled to with 24-21 at the 6:58 mark after which the Tar Heels added a field goal for the 6-point cushion. Oregon finished the season 10-3 in its first season under Dan Lanning as head coach while Mack Brown's Tar Heels went 0-4 down the home stretch to finish 9-5. The 2020 and 2021 Holiday Bowls were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Arkansas and Kansas hadn't played since 1906 so they decided to make their Liberty Bowl matchup last as long as possible. Ultimately, Arkansas prevailed 55-53 in triple-overtime after coughing up a 25-point lead and is now 1-2 in the series. Kansas got a little too cute with their 2-point conversion try in the 3rd overtime by running an end-around pass that sailed out of the end zone. The Razorbacks notably gave up a 24-0 halftime lead in the 2016 Belk Bowl to Virginia Tech and lost 35-24. This time, the Hogs led 38-13 until a Kansas TD with 3:15 to go in the 3rd. After holding Arkansas to a 3-and-out, the Jayhawks added a field goal to make it 38-23 with 14:07 left in the game. That score remained through several changes of possessions until an Arkansas fumble and subsequent return set up a 7-play, 48-yard Kansas drive to make it 38-30 with 1:05 remaining. An ensuing onside kick and recovery led to another TD just 24 seconds later and the successful 2-point try forced OT. Both teams scored TD's and PAT kicks in the first extra period, followed by TD's and 2-point conversions in the second extra period. Arkansas finished the season 7-6 with the win while Kansas fell to 6-7 and saw its' 3-bowl winning streak come to an end with its first bowl loss since 2003 while making its first bowl trip since 2008. Arkansas was also involved in the only previous Liberty Bowl overtime game on January 2, 2010 when the Razorbacks beat East Carolina 20-17.

The first game on December 28 saw Duke decisively defeat UCF 30-13 in the Military Bowl to lift the Blue Devils to 9-4 in Mike Elko's first season as head coach. A year ago, Duke was 3-9 over-all and 0-8 in the ACC. It was also the fourth straight bowl win for Duke in the school's first postseason appearance since 2018. Meanwhile, the Knights end the season at 9-5 in their final game a representative of the American Athletic Conference as the school moves to the Big 12 next season. This was the first Military Bowl since 2019 as Covid pandemic restrictions on crowds caused its cancellation in 2020. Boston College and East Carolina were a day away from kick-off in 2021 when BC had to back out due to positive testing.

December 27

In the final of four games on December 27, Wisconsin built a 24-7 lead on Oklahoma State and hung on for a 24-17 win in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl as the Big Ten finally joined the bowl party. It was the first meeting between the two schools as both teams finished 7-6. The Badgers improved to 19-15 all-time in bowl games with their third straight bowl win, and are 8-1 in their last nine. The Cowboys slipped to 21-12 with just their second bowl loss in their last 7 trips. Luke Fickell now takes the reins after interim head coach Jim Leonhard led Wisconsin in the bowl game. Both teams lost their starting QB, among other players, to the transfer portal.

East Carolina cruised to a 53-29 win in the Birmingham Bowl over Coastal Carolina, giving the Pirates their first bowl win since 2013. Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall exited with an apparent head injury in the second quarter after scoring on a 9-yard run and never returned in what may have been his last game for the Chanticleers. It was the last game for Holton Ahlers with the Pirates and the 5th-year QB made the most of it as he completed 26-of-38 passes for 300 yards and 5 TD's, and added 48 yards rushing and another score. Coastal Carolina was led by interim head coach Chad Staggs who served as Jamey Chadwell's defensive coordinator, but now hands the reins over to new head coach Tim Beck. Chadwell, of course, left to become the new head coach at Liberty. Beck's first major recruiting effort will be trying to convince McCall to take his name out of the transfer portal.

Memphis was a 38-10 runaway winner over Utah State in the First Responder Bowl which was the second game on December 27. Both teams were 6-6 entering the game. Utah State saw its all-time bowl record drop to 6-9 while Memphis' rose to 6-8. QB Seth Henigan was 20-of-29 for the Tigers, throwing for 284 yards and 3 TD's with two of the scores going to Eddie Lewis who had five hauls. Jevyon Ducker ran for 83 yards and two scores. Three different Utah State QB's were picked of by the Memphis defense.

The first of four bowl games on December 27 saw Buffalo nip Georgia Southern 23-21 in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. It was the first meeting between the two schools. Eight of the nine Camellia Bowls played have been decided by a single possession. The Bulls were led by QB Cole Snyder who completed 21-of-38 passes for 265 yards and a TD, while RB Tajay Ahmed had 98 yards and a TD on 27 carries. Georgia Southern was led by former Buffalo QB Kyle Vantrease who set program records for passing attempts (45), completions (28) and yards (352) in a bowl game. The sixth-year quarterback spent five seasons with the Bulls. The Eagles fell to 3-2 in bowl games and finished the season 6-7 while the Bulls won a 3rd straight bowl game to finish their 2022 campaign at 7-6. Georgia Southern stopped Buffalo from blowing the game open by forcing the Bulls to kick three field goals on red zone possessions that left the game within striking distance in the fourth quarter at 23-14. But after the Eagles pulled within 2 with 3:38 to play, Buffalo was able to run out the clock. Georgia Southern defeated Eastern Michigan in this bowl game in 2018 by the same score it lost by today. Buffalo was also a winner in this game in its last previous bowl outing in 2020 when the Bulls defeated Marshall.</p>

December 26

New Mexico State rarely qualifies for a bowl game, but never loses when it gets the chance. In the only bowl game played on December 26, the Aggies knocked off Bowling Green 24-19 in the Quick Lane Bowl to improve their bowl record to 4-0-1 all-time. This was a battle of 6-6 teams who had never previously met. New Mexico State was bowling for the first time since 2017, and only the second time since 1960. BGSU was doing so for the first time since 2015 and looking for its first bowl win since 2014. The Falcons' starting QB, Matt McDonald, was knocked out of the game in a late hit out-of-bounds in the teams' second series with Camden Orth taking his place for the remainder of the game. Bowling Green scored the last 12 points of the game on a field goal, a safety off a blocked punt, and finally on a 19-yard TD pass from Orth to Tyrone Broden with 6:27 to play in the game, but the Aggies were subsequently able to run out the clock. New Mexico State QB Diego Pavia threw for 167 and 2 scores, and added 65 yards on the ground, as Jerry Kill got his first bowl win as a head coach in his first season at the school. Kill was 0-2 in bowl games with Northern Illinois and 0-3 with Minnesota. He ended last season as the interim head coach for TCU and was 2-2.

December 24

The Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve saw Middle Tennessee rally from an early 14-0 deficit to a 25-23 win over San Diego State in the first meeting the two schools. The Blue Raiders got their first lead at 16-14 a little over halfway through the 3rd quarter. The lead changed hands four times after that and MTSU went ahead to stay on Zeke Rankin's 37-yard field goal with 2:05 left to play. The Blue Raiders ended the year at 8-5 while the Aztecs fell to 7-6.

December 23

A last of two games on December 23rd resulted in Wake Forest handing Missouri a 4th straight bowl loss, 27-17, in the Gasparilla Bowl. Mizzou hasn't won a bowl game since 2014 and fell to 15-20 all-time while finishing the season at 6-7. Wake Forest improved to 10-6 in bowl games and 8-5 for the season behind the play of QB Sam Hartman who was 23-of-36 for 280 and 3 TD's with one INT. A.T. Perry caught 11 of Hartman's 23 completions for 116 yards. The Tigers took their only lead at 17-14 with 5:245 to go in the 3rd quarter, but Hartman needed just 4 plays to put the Demon Deacons back in front on a 48-yard TD pass to Jahmal Banks. Wake added an icing TD with 2:33 to play on a 16-yard pass to Taylor Morin.

The first game on December 23 was a 23-16 win for Houston over Louisiana in the Independence Bowl. The loss snapped a 3-bowl win streak for the Ragin' Cajuns who are now 7-3 all-time in bowl games while the Cougars improved to 13-16-1 with their second consecutive bowl win. Clayton Tune's 12-yard TD pass to Nathaniel Dell provided the game winning points with just 20 seconds left to play after Houston trailed 13-0 midway through the second quarter and 16-6 at the break. The Cougars finished the season at 8-5 while Louisiana fell to 6-7.

December 22

The Armed Forces Bowl was the only game played on Thursday, December 22 and Air Force dominated Baylor 30-15 in a brutal cold at TCU's stadium in Fort Worth. The temperature was near 10 degrees at kick-off with a wind chill near 0. Air Force was led by QB Haaziq Daniels who finished 4-of-7 passing for 103 yards and a TD, and ran 15 times for 81 yards and a score. He had a major assist from RB Brad Roberts who rushed 37 times for 116 yards and 2 scores. Air Force scored the first 9 points, but Baylor scored late in the first half to trail 9-7 at the break. The Falcons scored the first 21 points of the second half as the Bears were kept at bay until scoring their only other points with 3:34 to go in the game. An attempted onside kick was recovered by the Falcons and, to no one's surprise, they successfully ran out the clock. Baylor dominated time of possession by a margin of 40:03 to 19:57, first downs by 20 to 11, and rushing yards by 276 to 42. All three previous meetings between these teams had been won by Baylor, but they hadn't met since 1977 and never in a bowl game. The Falcons' fourth consecutive bowl win gave them a third straight 10-win season, excluding the Covid-shortened season of 2020 when Air Force only played 6 games. The AFA is 15-13-1 in its bowl history, including 7-5 under Troy Calhoun who is now 121-78 as head coach of the Falcons after replacing Fisher DeBerry when he retired after the 2006 season. DeBerry's teams went 169–109–1 from 1984 to 2006. Baylor dropped to 6-7 on the year and 14-13 in bowl games.

December 21

In the only game played on Wednesday, December 21, the Sun Belt fell to 3-1 for the bowl season (at that time) when Western Kentucky (9-5) ended the conference's unbeaten run with a 44-23 rout of South Alabama (10-3) in the New Orleans Bowl. The Hilltoppers scored early and often as they took a 31-3 lead at the half behind a 3 TD passes from Austin Reed and another from receiver Dalvin Smith to receiver Jaylen Hall. Reed, a D2 transfer from West Florida, added another TD pass in the second half and finished the night 36-of-55 for a New Orleans Bowl record 497 yards. Smith had 6 catches for 145 and a score, and Hall had 9 nabs for 138 and the TD catch from Smith. Malachi Corley also went over the 100-yard mark with 11 receptions for 114 yards and 2 TD's. It was all part of a 677-yard night for WKU. Reed finished the season with 4,744 yards and 40 TD passes with 11 INT's. The Jaguars won the only previous meeting between these teams 31-24 in 2013. South Alabama, which was making its first bowl appearance since 2016, fell to 0-3 in bowl games. The Hilltoppers are now 6-3 in bowls, including wins in 3 of the last 4 calendar years.

December 20

The first of two bowl games on Tuesday, December 20 was the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise which saw Eastern Michigan defeat San Jose State 41-27 for the school's first bowl win since 1987 and second all-time (2-4). Ironically, the 4.5-point underdog Eagles victimized the same team that they upset 30-27 in their first bowl game, the 1987 California Raisin Bowl. Eastern Michigan quickly trailed 13-0 before getting on the board by blocking the PAT after the second SJSU touchdown and returning it for 2 points. That sparked a run of 33 unanswered points and a 33-13 lead that would never be seriously threatened. In the preseason, the computer projected the Spartans to go 7-5 and they entered this game at 7-4 (the game at New Mexico State was canceled due to the tragic death of freshman player Camden McWright on the SJSU campus in a bus/scooter accident). The computer picked the Eagles to go 8-4 and they did. And ultimately, the computer picked the Eagles to win the bowl game and they did. The Spartans finished the season on an 0-7 run ATS and 1-3 outright. The Eagles ended the regular season on a 4-game heater and covered the spread on all 4.

The second game of the December 20 double-header was the Boca Raton Bowl (Ruh-t┼Źne) at FAU's stadium where Toledo picked up a second win on the day for the MAC by knocking off Liberty 21-19 and, just like Eastern Michigan, ended a four-bowl losing streak. This game was mostly about miscues on special teams by the Flames as they botched a field goal, an extra point and had a failed two-point conversion. Toledo had a muffed punt that set up Liberty in the red zone, but held the Flames to zero points. It all led to the lowest scoring Boca Raton Bowl game it its 9-year history with the 40-point total registering 9 points lower than Toledo's 32-17 win over Temple in 2015 in its only other appearance in this game. The Rockets are now 4-0 all-time vs. Liberty with the other three wins occurring in 1994, 2003, 2007 when the Flames were in the FCS. Liberty was playing this game under interim head coach Josh Aldridge after Hugh Freeze left for Auburn. Former Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell now assumes the full-time role in Lynchburg for a team that closed out the 2022 campaign with 4 straight losses after an 8-1 start to finish 8-5. It was Liberty's first bowl loss and the school is 3-1 in these games in its first four years as a FBS member. Toledo (9-5) had lost its last two regular season games before rebounding to knock off Ohio in the MAC Championship and Liberty in the bowl game. The Rockets improved to 11-9 in bowl games.

December 19

The Myrtle Beach bowl was the lone game of the bowl season on Monday, December 19 and the result was the same as the last time Marshall and UConn played. The Herd defeated the Huskies 28-14, echoing their 16-10 triumph in 2015 in the Gasparilla Bowl (called St. Petersburg Bowl at that time) which was also the last season that UConn qualified for a bowl game. In both cases, UConn wound up with a sub-.500 season at 6-7 and this loss runs the streak of losing campaigns to 11. The win upped Marshall's record to 9-4. The game started poorly for UConn which assisted Marshall with a fumble to set up a short 2-play, 16-yard scoring drive to put the Herd ahead 7-0 just 3:45 into the game. Marshall capitalized on another turnover later in the first quarter when Damion Barber picked off Zion Tuner and took it 34 yards to the house and a 14-0 advantage. Marshall extended its lead to 28-0 before UConn managed a pair of 3rd quarter scores for the final margin as the 4th quarter was a stalemate. The Herd snapped a 3-bowl losing streak and improved to 13-5 in bowl games while UConn has now lost its last 3 bowls (last win 2009) and dropped to 3-4 in these games. The Myrtle Beach Bowl, which started in 2020, is played on Coastal Carolina University's teal-colored "Surf Turf".

December 17

The final bowl game on Saturday, December 17 was much closer than most people expected as Boise State (10-4) pulled out a 35-32 win in the Frisco Bowl over North Texas (7-7). The line closed at 12.5 in favor of Boise at most sportsbooks. The Mean Green had plenty of fourth quarter opportunities to mount a game-winning drive, but had several crucial dropped passes. The Broncos recorded their first 10-win season in three years after finishing 7-5 a year ago and 5-2 in the Covid season. North Texas was 7-5 in the regular season, but lost this game after falling 48-27 to UTSA in the CUSA Championship game. It was the 6th straight bowl loss for the Mean Green who are now 2-11 all-time in these postseason contests with the last win occurring in 2013. Boise State improved to 13-7 in bowl games.

BYU won the New Mexico Bowl 24-23 over SMU. The Mustangs scored a TD with 8 seconds left in the game and eschewed the PAT kick for a tie and overtime in favor of going for two and the win, but Tanner Mordecai was tackled well short of the goal line on his QB draw. SMU took the loss despite out-gaining BYU 389-256 yards and running 33 more plays (87 to 54). The Mustangs finished the season 7-6 and fell to 7-10-1 in bowl games, dropping a third straight since their last bowl win in 2012. BYU finished the season at 8-5 and is now 17-22-1 in its bowl history. This was the first meeting between these two schools since 1997 and the Mormons are now 4-0 vs. the Methodists, including a 46-45 win in the 1980 Holiday Bowl over an SMU team that featured a sophomore edition of the Pony Express backfield of Eric Dickerson and Craig James.

Southern Miss notched its first bowl win since 2016 with a 38-24 Lending Tree Bowl victory over Rice. It was a record-setting day for the son of another great former running back, Frank Gore, as Junior ran for an all-bowls record of 329 yards while accounting for 3 touchdowns via runs of  64 and 55 yards, and by throwing an 18-yard TD pass. It was actually Gore's 7th TD pass of his college career out of 30 passes thrown. There have been 114 games in NCAA history where a single running back has eclipsed the 300-yard mark and only three of those have come in bowl games. Gore Jr. eclipsed App State running back Camerun Peoples' 317-yard outburst in the 2020 Myrtle Beach Bowl. USM moved to the Sun Belt this season and finished the year at 7-6 after going 3-9 in the inferior Conference USA in Will Hall's first season as head coach. Rice, which finished 5-8, entered the postseason as a APR qualifier (Academic Progress Rate) when the number of eligible teams with 6 or more wins ran short of the available slots for bowl teams. It was the first bowl appearance for the school since 2014.  Nonetheless, the Owls were competitive in this contest and rallied from a 17-3 halftime deficit to take a 24-17 lead with 5:06 to play in the 3rd quarter as A.J. Padgett tossed touchdown passes on three straight possessions. After that, Rice's last five drives ended in 3 punts, an interception and a turnover on downs at the USM 9.

Fresno State was a 29-6 winner in the LA Bowl over Washington State and finished the season with the greatest turnaround in FBS history. The Bulldogs (10-4) began 1-4 before reeling off 9 straight wins, including the Mountain West championship game AT Boise State. Make no mistake, all four losses came against eventual bowl teams, and aside from a 3-point home loss to Oregon State, they occurred on road trips to USC, UConn, and Boise State. The Cougars slid to a 7-6 finish as they were dominated in total yards by a 501-to-182 margin. Fresno State RB Jordan Mims out-gained Washington State on his own by amassing 209 yards and 2 TD's on just 18 carries (11.6 ypc), and adding 27 yards on 2 catches for good measure. The Bulldogs improved to 14-13 all-time in bowl games with their fourth straight win while the Cougars' third consecutive bowl loss dropped them to 8-10.

Oregon State (10-3) annihilated Florida 30-3 (6-7) in the Las Vegas Bowl as the Beavers scored TD's on their first three possessions of the second half to blow open a 10-0 game. The Gators' day ended with a desperation 40-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the game just to avoid the shutout. Florida began the season with a shocking upset of Utah, then basically went down the tube with a loss at home to Kentucky, a near-loss at home to USF, and a road loss to Vanderbilt count among the failures in Billy Napier's first season as head coach. It as a polar opposite story for Oregon State which has seen its program resuscitated under Jonathan Smith and put together its first 10-win season since Mike Riley's 2006 squad. This was the first bowl win for the Beavers since 2013. It was the third straight bowl defeat for Florida and the fewest points scored by the school in a bowl game since a 13-0 shutout loss to Maryland in the Gator Bowl at the end of the 1975 season.

The first game on the second day of bowl season, December 17, featured two teams in a state of transition in the inaugural Fenway Bowl at the home of MLB's Boston Red Sox. After all, the Sox can't let the Yankees have all the fun (Pinstripe Bowl). Louisville looked like it wanted it more and won the game 24-7 behind a strong rushing attack and a staunch defense. Maurice Turner ran for 130 on 31 carries, and Jawhar Jordan  had 115 yards and 2 TD's on just 9 totes. Over-all, the Cardinals out-gained the Bearcats 419-127. Louisville was without head coach Scott Satterfield who had left for Cincinnati after Luke Fickell left the Bearcats to take the reins at Wisconsin. Thus, the teams were led by interim head coaches - Deion Branch for the Cardinals and Kerry Coombs for the Bearcats. Both teams were also without several players who were either opt-outs for the NFL Draft or had entered the transfer portal. Louisville finished the season 8-5 while the loss dropped Cincinnati to 9-4. The meeting was the first between these former "Keg of Nails" rivals since 2013. The Bearcats still lead the series 30-23-1.

December 16

UTSA took a 12-0 lead and never scored again as Troy rallied for the 18-12 Cure Bowl win in Orlando. It's the fifth straight bowl victory for the Trojans  who haven't lost one of these postseason affairs since 2009. Conversely, the Roadrunners fell to 0-4 all-time in bowl games. Both teams entered on 10-game winning streaks with 11-2 records. Troy went from 5-7 a year ago to 12-2 this season in Jon Sumrall's first season as head coach.

The Bahamas Bowl kicked off the 2022 college football bowl season on Friday, December 16th with an exciting 24-20 win by Conference USA member UAB over the MAC's Miami RedHawks. The see-saw affair saw the Blazers go ahead with 1:31 to play on Jeremiah Brown, Jr.'s 12-yard touchdown run up the middle. Miami then drove from its own to 25 to the UAB 15 when its last shot to win ended with a 13-yard pass play to the 2 on the final play of the game. The Blazers were playing without the nation's leading RB DeWayne McBride (1,713 yards, 19 TD's) who opted out just before the game. It was the first-ever meeting between the two teams. The RedHawks finished the season at 6-7 as its all-time bowl record slipped to 8-5. UAB finished the season at 7-6 and raised its all-time bowl mark to 3-3. The Blazers' last, and only other, trip here ended in a 41-6 blowout loss to Ohio in 2017. This game has featured a CUSA-MAC matchup in all 8 of its games and CUSA now leads the series 5-3.

Opt-Outs and Transfer Portal

Abandoning your team for a bowl game was once unthinkable. Now, it has become commonplace among athletes who hope to draw a big pay day in the NFL. There's also the transfer portal which has over 900 athletes waiting for a new place to go. We found a website that is doing an excellent job of keeping up with all the hold-outs and transfers.

SEE: Bowl Opt-outs and Transfer Portal

Worst Bowl Matchups

The worst matchup of a bowl game this year when you use the combined Congrove Computer Rankings of the participants was No. 106 Rice vs. No. 83 Southern Miss (189 combined ranking) in the Lending Tree Bowl. Second place goes to the Quick Lane Bowl with No. 89 Bowling Green against No. 88 New Mexico State for a 177 combined ranking.

Last year, the worst matchup of a game that was actually played saw 91st-ranked Old Dominion vs. No. 72 Tulsa (163 combined ranking) in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.  The second-worst matchup of 2021 went to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl that featured No. 85 Wyoming and No. 74 Kent State (159 combined ranking). Not far behind was the one-off edition of the Frisco FB Classic that was cobbled together at the last minute to insure no eligible team got left behind. It paired No. 82 North Texas with No. 73 Miami, Ohio (155 combined ranking).

First-Time Meetings

Bowl games with teams that never previously played each other.

Fiesta - Michigan vs. TCU
Citrus - Purdue vs. LSU
Birmingham - East Carolina vs. Coastal Carolina
Gasparilla - Wake Forest vs. Missouri
Holiday - Oregon vs. North Carolina
Sugar - Alabama vs. Kansas State
Las Vegas - Oregon State vs. Florida
Bahamas - UAB vs. Miami (O)
Hawaii - San Diego State vs. MTSU
Cure - UTSA vs Troy. Both schools entered the bowl season with 11-2 records.
Military - UCF vs. Duke
Guaranteed Rate - Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin
Camellia - Georgia Southern vs. Buffalo
Quick Lane - Bowling Green vs. New Mexico State.

Rare Meetings

Peach - Ohio State vs. Georgia. The only previous meeting took place in the 1993 Citrus Bowl which Georgia won 21-14.
Cotton - USC vs. Tulane. Trojans went 2-1 in the only previous meetings from 1932-1946. Only bowl meeting was 1931 season Rose (USC won 21-12).
ReliaQuest - Mississippi State vs. Illinois. They split the only previous meetings in 1923 (Illini won 27-0) and 1980 (Bulldogs won 28-21). This bowl game was known as the Outback Bowl from 1995-2021. 
Famous Idaho Potato - Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State. EMU won the last and only previous meeting 30-27 in the 1987 California Raisin Bowl.
Armed Forces - Baylor vs. Air Force. Baylor had won all 3 previous meetings, but the last was in 1977 and they had never met in a bowl game.
Frisco - Boise State vs. North Texas. Series was tied 3-3 with the last previous meeting in 2000. They first met in the 1994 1-AA Playoffs.
Alamo - Texas vs. Washington. Texas led 3-1 going into the game, including 1-1 in bowl games. Last previous meeting was 2001 Holiday Bowl.
Liberty - Arkansas vs. Kansas. Only previous meetings were in 1905 and 1906 which Kansas won 6-0 and 37-5.
First Responder - Memphis vs. Utah State. Met 7 times from 1965 -1977 of which Memphis won 4.
Gator - Notre Dame vs. South Carolina. Had 4 previous meetings from 1976-1984 and the Irish went 3-1.
Arizona - Ohio vs. Wyoming. Wyoming won both previous meetings by a single point in home-and-home series in 2007 (34-33) and 2008 (21-20).
New Orleans - Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama. The Jaguars won the only previous meeting 31-24 in 2013.

Other Interesting Meetings

Orange - Clemson vs. Tennessee. Call it the "All-Orange Bowl". Vols led the series 11-6-2 after they last met in 2004 when the Tigers won 27-14 in the only previous bowl meeting (Peach).
Texas - Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech. Rebels were 4-2 over-all in previous meetings, including 3-0 in bowl games. The only time they played home and away games happened in 2002-2003 with the Red Raiders winning both,.
Duke's Mayo - NC State vs. Maryland. The former ACC foes were all tied up at 33-33-4 after the last previous meeting was won by Maryland in 2013 before the Terps joined the Big Ten the next year. They first met in 1909.
Myrtle Beach - Marshall vs. UConn. Only previous meeting was 2015 St. Petersburg Bowl (now Gasparilla) which was also UConn's last bowl game.
Sun - Pitt vs. UCLA. Teams hadn't met since 1972 after playing annually from 1958-1972 (except 1965) as cross-country as Blue & Gold rivals. UCLA went 9-5.
Lending Tree - Southern Miss vs. Rice. Until Southern Miss left for the Sun Belt this year, these teams were CUSA rivals who split 12 meetings from 2007-2021.
New Mexico - BYU vs. SMU. Mormons were 3-0 vs. Methodists in the previous meetings which all occurred between 1980-1997, including a 46-45 win in 1980 Holiday Bowl.
Cheez-It - Florida State vs. Oklahoma. The teams had met 7 times previously and FSU had not won since the first meeting that took place in the 1964 season Gator Bowl. They had last met in a home-and-home series in 2010-2011. Oklahoma also defeated Florida State 13-2 in the 2000 season BCS Championship game. Five of the now 8 total meetings have been in bowl games.
Pinstripe - Minnesota vs. Syracuse. Had last met in 2013 Texas Bowl won 21-17 by the Orange. Gophers were 3-2 in previous games.
Independence - Houston vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Schools are 218 miles apart on Gulf Coast. Bowl game in Shreveport is 212 miles from Lafayette and 240 from Houston. Cougars were 6-3 in previous meetings that spanned 1946-2006.
Fenway - Louisville vs. Cincinnati. Louisville head coach had just left for Cincinnati. Schools were annual rivals from 1966-2013. Bearcats held 30-22-1 lead entering this year's game.
L.A. - Washington State vs. Fresno State. The only previous 4 meetings took place from 1987-1994 and Wazzu went 3-1.

Who Cares?

Music City - Iowa vs Kentucky. A dumb rematch of last year's Citrus Bowl, won 20-17 by Kentucky.
Boca Raton - Toledo vs. Liberty. Rockets were 3-0 all-time vs. Flames (1994, 2003, 2007) when Liberty was in the FCS.

Covid Took Its Toll On Bowl Teams and Games In 2021

The lingering effects of the Covid pandemic hit the bowl season when several teams had to back out of the games for which they were scheduled to play.

These bowls wound up being canceled:
*-denotes Covid-infected team
Hawaii - *Hawaii vs. Memphis
Military - *Boston College vs. East Carolina
Holiday - *UCLA vs. NC State
Fenway - *Virginia vs. SMU
Arizona - *Boise State vs. Central Michigan

These teams had to pull out:
Boise State
(Arizona) - As a result, the game was canceled and Central Michigan was moved to the Sun Bowl to replace Miami.
Boston College (Military) - As a result, the game was canceled and East Carolina did not get to play in a bowl game.
Hawaii (Hawaii) - As a result, the game was canceled and Memphis did not get to play in a bowl game.
Miami (Sun Bowl) - Central Michigan was moved from the canceled Arizona Bowl to take Miami's place against Washington State.
Texas A&M (Gator Bowl) - Rutgers agreed on Dec. 23 to take A&M's place against Wake Forest for the Dec. 31 game.
UCLA (Holiday) - As a result, the game was canceled and NC State did not get to play in a bowl game.
Virginia (Fenway) - As a result, the game was canceled and SMU did not get to play in a bowl game

Never Been To A Bowl Game

James Madison - Moved to FBS in 2022 and went 9-3, but was ineligible due to transition season rules
Massachusetts - Joined FBS in 2012. Played in 1964 Tangerine Bowl when that game was a College Division game. Lost 14-13 to East Carolina.
Texas State - Joined FBS in 2012.

First Time Ever In A Bowl Game

None

First Time In A Long Time

Of the teams that made it this year, these had the longest wait to get back to a bowl game:
Kansas, 2008 - Lost 55-53 in triple-OT to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl.
East Carolina, 2014 - Won 53-29 over Coastal Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.
Rice, 2014 - Lost 38-24 to Southern Miss in the Lending Tree Bowl.
Bowling Green, 2015 - Lost 24-19 to New Mexico State in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Connecticut, 2015 - Lost 28-14 to Marshall in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
South Alabama, 2016 - Lost 44-23 to Western Kentucky in the New Orleans Bowl.
New Mexico State, 2017 - Won 24-19 over Bowling Green in the Quick Lane Bowl.
UCLA, 2017 - Lost 37-35 to Pitt in the Sun Bowl. (Team had to cancel last year's Holiday Bowl vs. NC State less than 5 hours before kick-off due to Covid).

Waiting To Return

This teams have the longest continuing current streak of bowl absence:
Louisiana-Monroe, 2012
UNLV, 2013

Bowl Appearance Streak

These teams have the longest continuing current streaks of bowl appearances:

Georgia, 26
Oklahoma, 24
Wisconsin, 21
Alabama, 19
Clemson ,19
Oklahoma State, 17

Bowl Winning Streak

These teams have the most consecutive bowl victories (last season of a bowl loss in parenthesis).
NOTE: We do not count the CFP Championship as a bowl game as it exists for the sole purpose of pairing the winners of two specific bowl games that are counted. All teams listed are playing in a bowl game this year, unless otherwise noted.

Alabama, 8  (2014) - Won 45-20 over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.
Minnesota, 6 (2013) - Won 28-20 over Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Troy, 5 (2009) - Won 18-12 over UTSA in the Cure Bowl.
Air Force, 4 (2015) - Won 30-15 over Baylor in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Duke, 4 (2014) - Won 30-13 over UCF in the Military Bowl.
Fresno State, 4 (2014) - Won 29-6 over Washington State in the LA Bowl.
Georgia, 4 (2018) - Won 42-41 over Ohio State in the CFP Playoff Peach Bowl.
New Mexico State, 4 (Never, 4-0-1) - Won 24-19 over Bowling Green in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Northwestern, 4 (2015) - Uninvited this year
Ohio, 4 (2016) - Won 30-27 in OT over Wyoming in the Arizona Bowl.
Buffalo, 3 (2018) - Won 23-21 over Georgia Southern in the Camellia Bowl.
Texas A&M, 3 (2017) - Uninvited this year. Had to opt-out of the Gator Bowl last year due to Covid issues.
Wisconsin, 3 (2019) - Won 24-17 over Oklahoma State in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

Winning streaks snapped this year:
- Kentucky had a 4-bowl winning streak end with a 21-0 loss to Iowa in the Music City Bowl for the 'Cats first bowl loss since 2017.
- Syracuse had a 4-bowl winning streak snapped that dated back to 2004 as the Orange lost 28-20 to Minnesota in the Pinstripe Bowl.
- Texas had a 4-bowl winning streak broken that dated back to 2014 as the Longhorns fell 27-20 to Washington in the Alamo Bowl.
- Liberty lost a bowl game for the first time ever (3-1) with a 21-19 defeat at the hands of Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl.
- Louisiana had its 3-bowl winning streak snapped in a 24-17 loss to Houston in the Independence Bowl for its first bowl loss since 2018.
- Kansas had its 3-bowl winning streak end in a 55-53 loss in triple-OT to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl for its first bowl loss since 2003.
- Wyoming's 3-bowl winning streak, which dated back to 2016, was ended in a 30-27 overtime loss to Ohio in the Arizona Bowl.

Bowl Losing Streak

These teams have the most consecutive bowl losses (last season of a bowl win in parenthesis).
NOTE: We do not count the CFP Championship as a bowl game as it exists for the sole purpose of pairing the winners of two specific bowl games that are counted. All teams listed are playing in a bowl game this year, unless otherwise noted.

Northern Illinois, 7 (2011) - Uninvited this year
UTEP, 7 (1967) - Uninvited this year
Indiana, 6 (1991) - Uninvited this year
Michigan, 6 (2015) - Lost 51-45 to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl CFP Semifinal game.
North Texas, 6 (2013) - Lost 35-32 to Boise State in the Frisco Bowl.
Colorado, 4 (2004) - Uninvited this year
Colorado State, 4 (2013) - Uninvited this year
Miami, FLA, 4 (2016) - Had to opt-out of last year's Sun Bowl due to Covid issues.
Missouri, 4 (2014) - Lost 27-17 to Wake Forest in the Gasparilla Bowl.
UTSA, 4 (Never) - Lost 18-12 to Troy in the Cure Bowl.
Virginia Tech, 4 (2016) - Uninvited this year (First time since 1992. Would have been invited in 2020, but opted-out)

Losing streaks snapped this year:
- Eastern Michigan's 4-bowl losing streak, which dated back to 1987, ended with the Eagles' 41-27 win over San Jose State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
- Toledo ended a 4-bowl losing streak with a 21-9 win over Liberty in the Boca Raton Bowl.

Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)

Charlotte 0-1 - Uninvited this year
South Alabama, 0-3 - Lost 44-23 to Western Kentucky in the New Orleans Bowl.
UTSA, 0-4 - Lost 18-12 to Troy in the Cure Bowl

Best Bowl Winning Percentage

(Minimum 20 appearances and .600 win pct.)
NOTE: We do not count the CFP Championship as a bowl game as it exists for the sole purpose of pairing the winners of two specific bowl games that are counted. All teams listed are playing in a bowl game this year, unless otherwise noted.

Utah, 18-8 (.692) - Lost 35-21 to Penn State in Rose Bowl.
Boise State, 13-7 (.650) - Won 35-32 over North Texas in the Frisco Bowl.
Oklahoma State, 21-12 (.636) - Lost 24-17 to Wisconsin in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
Alabama, 43-24-3 (.636) - Won 45-20 over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia, 35-20-3 (.629) - Won 42-41 in the Peach Bowl CFP Semifinal Playoff game.
Florida State, 29-17-2 (.625) - Win 35-32 over Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Mississippi, 25-15 (.625) - Lost 42-25 to Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.
USC, 35-21 (.625) - Lost 46-45 to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.
Syracuse, 16-10-1 (.611) - Lost 28-20 to Minnesota in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Penn State, 31-19-2 (.612) - Won 35-21 over Utah in Rose Bowl.

Bubbling under .600:
Mississippi State, 15-11 (.577) - Won 19-10 over Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl.
Oklahoma, 31-24-1 (.563) - Lost 35-32 to Florida State in the Cheez-It Bowl

Most Bowl Wins

NOTE: We do not count the CFP Championship as a bowl game as it exists for the sole purpose of pairing the winners of two specific bowl games that are counted. All teams listed are playing in a bowl game this year, unless otherwise noted.

Alabama, 43 - Won 45-20 over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia, 35 - Won 42-41 over Ohio State in the Peach Bowl CFP Semifinal Playoff game.
USC, 35 - Lost 46-45 to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.
Oklahoma, 31 - Lost 35-32 to Florida State in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Penn State, 31 - Won 35-21 over Utah in Rose Bowl.
Texas, 31 - Lost 27-20 to Washington in the Alamo Bowl.
Tennessee, 30 - Won 31-14 over Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Florida State, 29 - Won 35-32 over Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl.
LSU, 27 - Won 63-7 over Purdue in Citrus Bowl.
Nebraska, 26 - Uninvited this year
Georgia Tech, 25 - Uninvited this year
Mississippi, 25 - Lost 42-25 to Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.
Ohio State, 25 - Lost 42-41 to Georgia in the Peach Bowl CFP Semifinal Playoff game.
Auburn, 24 - Uninvited this year
Clemson, 24 - Lost 31-14 to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl.
Florida, 24 - Lost 30-3 to Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Michigan, 21 - Lost 51-45 to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl CFP Semifinal game.
Oklahoma State, 21 - Lost 24-17 to Wisconsin in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

FCS vs. FBS

The FBS was 112-8 (.933) vs. the FCS this year, and is 1,686-148 (.919) since we began tracking this in 2003.

116 of the 131 FBS schools played at least one such game while Appalachian State, Army, Marshall and New Mexico State each played two.

Here are the FCS wins in 2022:
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
September 10: Weber State 35, Utah State 7
September 10: Incarnate Word 55, Nevada 41
September 10: Holy Cross 37, Buffalo 31
September 10: Eastern Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 57 (7 OT's)
September 17: Southern Illinois 31, Northwestern 24
September 24: Sacramento State 41, Colorado State 10

Streaks - Current FBS Longest

GEORGIA - Won 17 straight over-all. Won 11 straight true road games.
Last: Won 65-7 over TCU in the College Football Playoff National Championship game in Inglewood, California on Monday, January 9.
Next: Hosts FCS member UT-Martin on Saturday, Sept. 2 to kick-off 2023 season.

ALABAMA - Won 20 straight home games.
Last: Won 45-20 over Kansas State in Sugar Bowl on December 31.
Next: Hosts Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 2 to kick-off 2023 season.

MICHIGAN - Won 15 straight conference games, including B1G Championship games.
Last: Lost 51-45 to TCU in the CFP Playoff semifinal game in the Fiesta Bowl on December 31.
Next: Hosts East Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 2 to kick-off 2023 season.

NORTHWESTERN - Lost 11 straight over-all, and 8 straight at home.
Last: Lost 41-3 at home to Illinois on Saturday, November 26.
Next: Visits Rutgers on Saturday, Sept. 2 to kick-off 2023 season.

USF - Lost 13 straight conference games.
Last: Lost 46-39 at home to UCF on Saturday, November 26.
Next: Visits Western Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 2 to kick-off 2023 season.

MASSACHUSETTS - Lost 15 straight to FBS schools, and 24 straight road games.
Last: Lost 44-7 at home to Army on Saturday, November 26.
Next: Visits New Mexico State on Saturday, Aug. 26 to kick-off 2023 season.