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The college football season ended on Saturday night, minus one of the great rivalry games of all-time this Saturday (Army v. Navy). As expected, it ended with its typical, annual controversy. Let’s dive into our awards for the weekend and some season awards as well.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Alabama - The Crimson Tide needed a miracle 4th and 31 conversion to beat Auburn the week prior, but they didn’t need one ounce of a miracle in a convincing and emphatic win over previously #1 Georgia 27-24 in the SEC Championship. The upset win moved Alabama into the CFP and on to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl against Michigan to kick off the new year.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Year - Texas - In the final season of the Big 12, Texas had a target on its chest every single week. It beat Alabama by ten on the road early in the season and succumbed just one time in an incredible Texas-OU rivalry game. However, Texas closed the door on the Big 12 with dominant victories against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, out-scoring those teams a combined 106-28. As a result, the Longhorns earned the overall #3 seed in the CFP and will play Washington in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 1st.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Week - Texas QB Quinn Ewers - Ewers left the game against Oklahoma State with an injury for a play, but he had already done all his damage in the first half against the Cowboys. This Texas team is on a roll and Ewers is the biggest reason why, if I’m being honest.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Year - LSU QB Jayden Daniels - It’s going to be one heck of a Heisman Trophy discussion, but Daniels did his part, putting up just ridiculous numbers. He threw for over 3,800 yards and 40 TD. He, then, ran for 1,134 yards and ten TDs. He accounted for 50 total TDs, which has typically been the ticket to winning a Heisman. Either way, he’s the Player of the Year for sure.
National Team of the Week - SMU - The Mustangs were down to their backup QB Kevin Jennings from nearby South Oak Cliff HS in a road Championship game against a 11-1 Tulane team. All he did was lead the Mustangs to the 2023 AAC Title in a convincing 26-14 win over #22 Tulane in New Orleans. Rhett Lashlee’s ‘Stangs won their last nine in a row, many in dominating fashion, to finish 11-2 and AAC Champs!
National Team of the Year - Florida State - Even with Jordan Travis in the coach’s box watching games the last two weeks of the year, the Seminoles thumped Florida 24-15 in Gainesville and then completely destroyed Louisville in Charlotte for the ACC Championship. It was close between FSU and Washington, but FSU gets this award, something it didn’t get from the CFP committee.
National Player of the Week - Liberty QB Kaidon Salter - Liberty earned an invite to the New Year’s Day Six after Salter led the Flames to the 2023 C-USA Championship game. The Flames generated 49 points as Salter threw for 319 yards and two TD and ran for 165 yards and a TD in the 49-35 win over New Mexico State.
National Player of the Year - LSU QB Jayden Daniels - See above. Stud.
…to Washington QB Michael Penix Jr for an outstanding season, two wins over Oregon and the final Pac-12 Championship. What a pair of seasons for the lefty from Florida in the Pac Northwest.
…to the University of Houston for procuring the services of one of the finest men/coaches in the business to lead them into the future Willie Fritz.
…to Texas WR Adonai Mitchell for his six catch, 109 yard, one TD performance in the Longhorns last Big 12 game ever.
…to Alabama head coach Nick Saban for perhaps his greatest coaching performance with this year’s Alabama squad.
…to Florida State and head coach Mike Norvell. 13 wins and no losses in a season is no small feat and should’ve been rewarded in a much larger way. It wasn’t and that’s a darn shame.
…to Miami Redhawks for exacting some revenge over Toledo in a 23-14 MAC Championship win.
…to Boise State interim, turned permanent head coach Spencer Danielson. Boise State was 4-5 when Danielson took over as the interim coach. He led them to four straight wins, including a MWC Championship win over UNLV.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Matchup
(9-4) Oklahoma State v. (7-5) Texas A&M - I was on record thinking that this would be Kansas State v. Texas A&M, but the Pop Tarts bowl wanted Kansas State. That decision put the Texas Bowl in a great situation, in all honesty. I LOVE this matchup and it irritates me that the Cowboys and Aggies don’t play each other, at least every other year. So, I’ll take it as Oklahoma State star RB Ollie Gordon II takes on a talented Texas A&M defensive front. The Aggies have a new leader in Mike Elko, but not 100% sure if he’ll coach the team through the bowl game. Either way, it’s a fantastic matchup coming our way on December 27th.
It’s almost here. The day we look forward to all year long - TaxAct Texas Bowl announcement day is coming up on Sunday December 3rd! Can’t wait! So, let’s dive into what happened in week 13 and what’s coming up on Championship weekend this Friday and Saturday.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Oklahoma State - The Cowboys fought back, in horrid weather in Stillwater, for one of their greatest regular season victories ever. BYU jumped out to a 24-3 lead, bringing all the tricks and gadgets to the Stillwater party, looking to get to six wins and bowl eligibility. But, the Cowboys, behind the sensational running of RB Ollie Gordon II (166 yards and FIVE touchdowns), staged a furious rally to take the lead late in the game. BYU K Will Ferrin tied it and sent it to overtime where Gordon II locked in Oklahoma State’s trip to Arlington and the Big 12 Championship game with two OT TDs.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Team of the Week - Alabama - Somehow, someway, the Crimson Tide found a way to pull out a win on the road in the Iron Bowl. QB Jalen Milroe’s Gravedigger toss laid Auburn to rest with less than a minute remaining in what’s typically been a house of horrors for the Tide over the past few decades. The win kept Alabama in the playoff picture for the time being, setting up a gargantuan matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta for the SEC title on Saturday.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Week - Alabama QB Jalen Milroe - When Milroe was asked to take a back seat after the loss to Texas early in the season, I don’t think anyone could foresee how Milroe would eventually respond. He not only responded; he became a legend in Alabama football lore with one of the greatest throws for a game winning touchdown in the history of the Iron Bowl. 366 total yards. 16 of 24 for 259 yards and two touchdowns passing. 18 carries for 107 yards rushing. What a performance for Milroe against Auburn!
TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Player of the Week - Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon II - Oklahoma State just kept giving Gordon II the ball and he responded with another gem of a performance. 34 carries for 166 yards and FIVE touchdowns, including both scores in overtime. The Cowboys have ridden Gordon all the way to Arlington and a spot in the Big 12 Championship game against Texas
National Team of the Week - Michigan - It was the biggest game of the weekend, with an interim coach at the helm, against its biggest rival that just happened to be the #2 team in the nation. When S Rod Moore intercepted a hurried Kyle McCord pass late in the fourth quarter, Michigan solidified a third straight win over rival Ohio State and a third straight undefeated regular season. Interim head coach Sherrone Moore did a wonderful job for the Wolverines this year, winning the final three games down the stretch in place of head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines will play Iowa on Saturday for the B1G Championship and a shot at a third straight trip to the college football playoff.
Honorable Mention National Team of the Week - Arizona - The Wildcats put up 52 in three quarters in a demolition of rival Arizona State. All Jedd Fisch’s Wildcats have done is win six in a row, having lost just three games by a total of 16 points (Mississippi State, USC and Washington). A bowl win will give Arizona ten wins for the first time since 2014 and just the second time since the magical season of 1998.
National Player of the Week - Boise State RB Ashton Jeanty - The Broncos star ball carrier went 100/100 in their biggest win of the year. He ran 14 times for 107 yards and a touchdown and had five receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown in Boise State’s 27-19 win over Air Force. The win propels Jeanty and the Broncos into the MWC Championship game against one of the biggest surprise teams in the nation - UNLV.
Honorable mention National Player of the Week - Florida State LB Jared Verse - The Seminoles needed every last tackle, pressure and/or hurry from Verse against the Gators in Gainesville. He finished with six tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.0 TFLs in the 24-15 win over rival Florida in The Swamp. He was nearly unblockable in the fourth quarter and Florida couldn’t throw the ball late in the game as a result.
…to Oregon QB Bo Nix for locking in his trip to NYC in a revenge game against Oregon State - 33-40 for 367 and two touchdowns in a 31-7 win.
…to former Duke head coach Mike Elko for taking on the challenge at Texas A&M.
…to Texas and Oklahoma for putting 50-burgers up on opponents in their final regular season contests in the Big 12 (57 for Texas v. Texas Tech, 69 for Oklahoma v. TCU)
…to Eli Drinkwitz leading the Missouri Tigers to a top ten finish and ten wins.
…to Kentucky RB Ray Davis for finishing his college career the absolute right way with a 37-yard game winning TD AT Louisville, leading the Cats to a 38-31 upset win on the road.
…to LSU QB Jayden Daniels *standing and applauding for minutes at a time* BRAVO, young man, BRAVO. What a season!
…to Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and the Golden Bears getting to bowl eligibility in a massive road win over UCLA.
…to Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren and the Owls for hanging on to a 24-21 win over a game FAU squad to get Rice into a bowl for the second straight season.
…to San Jose State for winning its sixth game in a row over a really good UNLV squad. That was the GREAT news; the bad news? The Spartans lost the coin flip (basically) and will miss out on a trip to the MWC Championship game…to the team they just beat - UNLV.
Week 13’s Big games
#20 (9-3) Oklahoma State v. #7 (11-1) Texas - I’ll be brutally honest, at the outset of the season, I thought Oklahoma State was going to struggle to win five games in 2023, but Mike Gundy’s crew fought its way to nine wins and the Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma State’s win sets up one final Big 12 contest with the longtime conference behemoth and heavy favorite - the Texas Longhorns. There will be blood.
#1 (12-0) Georgia v. #8 (11-1) Alabama - These two just seem to find themselves in the SEC Championship game more often than not. This will be the fourth matchup since 2012 when Alabama beat Georgia in a classic. Alabama is 3-0 in the first three matchups (2012, 2018 & 2021). Can Georgia finally win one in Atlanta over the Tide or will an Alabama win completely tip over the College Football Playoff apple cart?
(10-2) #25 SMU v #17 (11-1) Tulane - I LOVE this matchup between two RISING teams. SMU won eight in a row to finish the season, while Tulane won ten in a row after losing to Ole Miss in week two. A MAJOR question is the health of SMU QB Preston Stone. He went out with an apparent ankle injury in the win over Navy and his status is unclear. Tulane QB Michael Pratt led the Green Wave to an AAC title last year and is back to repeat.
#4 (12-0) Washington at #6 (11-1) Oregon - When these two met back in November, it was one to remember. Now that the calendar has turned to December, this one is WAY MORE important. It’s also one final act for two Heisman candidates - Oregon QB Bo Nix and Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Potential teams
Big 12 candidates
(8-4) Kansas State - The Wildcats lost to Iowa State in their white jerseys in the snow in a 42-35 loss in Manhattan, the first home loss of the year.
(9-3) Oklahoma State - The Cowboys roared back, again, for an indescribable 40-34 2OT win over BYU in Stillwater. A win over the Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship game would upset the entire bowl universe.
(8-4) Kansas - The Jayhawks’ big win over Oklahoma in November was massive for the Jayhawks respective bowl opportunities.
(7-5) Texas A&M - The Aggies now have a new coach (Mike Elko, if you missed it) and an opportunity to finish the season in Houston against a team from the Sunflower State - that’s as bold as I’m getting…for now.
(6-6) Auburn - I still don’t see any other team than Texas A&M out of the SEC, but if there’s another squad that could make some sense, it’s Auburn.
Rivalry Week is here with some of the greatest matchups of the entire 2023 season. We’re also honing in on our TaxAct Texas Bowl teams, which should provide for one heck of a matchup again on December 27th at NRG Stadium.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Kansas State - Trailing most of the game at Lawrence, KS against rival Kansas, the Wildcats came from behind to win the Sunshine Showdown 31-27. The Wildcats won their 15th straight over Kansas after QB Will Howard ran into the end zone with the game winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter. A win over Iowa State on Thanksgiving weekend will give the Wildcats nine wins in 2023, with three losses by a total of 14 points (Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas)
TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Team of the Week - Missouri - The Thicker Kicker, aka Harrison Mevis, knocked home a game winning field goal with little time left in a 33-31 win for the Tigers over Florida. The Gators took a 31-30 lead with 1:36 remaining on a Trey Smack 35-yard field goal. But, Missouri QB Brady Cook hit a key 4th and 17 pass for a first down to help get Mevis in position for his game winning kick. That’s the second one for Mevis this season (Kansas State the other). Head coach Eli Drinkwitz’s team can get to ten wins with a win over Arkansas in Fayetteville on Black Friday.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Week - LSU QB Jayden Daniels - Again? Yes sir!! Daniels’ tremendous performance put him right back into the winner’s circle after what he did against Georgia State. EIGHT total TDs. That’s right, Daniels accounted for eight total TD - rushing for two and throwing for six in a 56-14 win over Georgia State. Could a Heisman be next?
TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Player of the Week - Oklahoma S Billy Bowman Jr. - 100+ yard pick sixes completely change the tenor of any game and that’s exactly what Bowman Jr. did against BYU on Saturday afternoon. With the score tied at 17, BYU QB Jake Retzlaff had the Cougars within a few yards of taking the lead; however, Bowman Jr. picked off Retzlaff’s pass at the goal line and raced to the other end of the field for the backbreaking touchdown. OU beat BYU 31-24, the difference being Bowman’s huge interception for a TD. He also added nine tackles and a TFL in the win.
National Team of the Week - New Mexico State - All Jerry Kill’s squad did was walk into Jordan-Hare Stadium and beat 26-point favorite Auburn…and collect a massive check in the process. QB Diego Pavia threw three touchdowns in a 31-10 win over the Auburn Tigers in one of the most shocking wins of the entire season. NMSU did that to Hugh Freeze last year when he was the coach at Liberty, beating Freeze’s squad at Liberty in the same manner. Liberty. Auburn. It doesn’t matter to Kill as the Aggies are beating everyone on the schedule right now. As a result, the Aggies will play Jamey Chadwell’s Liberty squad for the CUSA title in two weeks.
Honorable Mention National Team of the Week - (Tie) Toledo - The Rockets are 10-1 and no one in the nation is talking about Jason Candle’s squad. Win number ten, though, didn’t come easy. The Rockets trailed rival Bowling Green 28-10 at half and it looked like the Falcons would get a memorable win at season’s end. However, Toledo RB Peny Boone (15 carries for 131 yards, one TD) and Toledo QB Dequan Finn (20-30, 279 yards and two TD) led the Rockets back from the dead. Finn threw a 59-yard TD to Jacquez Stuart for the game winner with just under two minutes remaining. The Rockets face Central Michigan and then Miami, OH in the MAC Championship game. Run the table, win their bowl game and the Rockets could be one of a handful of teams to win 13 games this season.
(tie) Louisville - In just his first year back home at Louisville, head coach Jeff Brohm led the Cardinals to the ACC Championship game after a scintillating defensive stop on the goal line at Miami for a 38-31 win. At 10-1, Louisville is hanging on to faint playoff hopes, but a win over Kentucky in the finale will put the Cardinals at 11-1, heading into the ACC Championship game against undefeated Florida State. ANYTHING could happen at that point but, holy cow, what a game that’ll be!!
National Player of the Week - UTSA QB Frank Harris - The longtime starter at UTSA had one of the best games of his career, throwing for 411 yards and three touchdowns in UTSA’s 49-21 win over USF. He also ran for over 100 yards, racking up 112 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns. So, a 300-100 game with SIX total TD. Wow!
Honorable mention National Player of the Week - Oregon QB Bo Nix - The Ducks signal caller lit up Arizona State in a 49-13 win. Nix threw for 24 of 29 for 404 yards and SIX touchdowns and spent most of the second half watching the rest of the game. Revenge is on the schedule next as the Ducks prepare for Oregon State, a game that slipped through Nix’s grasp last season.
…to Washington’s defense for holding Oregon State to 20 points in a 22-20 win in the rain in Corvallis. The (LAST??) Apple Cup is next!!
…to Texas for grinding out its tenth win in a place that hasn’t always been kind to them in recent years - 26-16 win over Iowa State in Ames, IA.
…to Arizona and head coach Jedd Fisch. Perhaps the HOTTEST team in the country, Fisch’s Wildcats trounced Utah 42-18 on the strength of four TD passes by three different individuals.
…to Northwestern for getting bowl eligibility. Wow, what a coaching job David Braun’s done in Evanston in 2023.
…to Arkansas State and Butch Jones. In the first two games of the 2023 season, Arkansas State lost to Oklahoma and Memphis a combined 110-3. Ten weeks later, ASU beat bowl bound Texas State 77-31 on Saturday night. What a turnaround!
Week 13’s Big games
#1 (11-0) Ohio State at #3 (11-0) Michigan - It’s THE Game. What else needs to be said? The vitriol is 100% real and there are MASSIVE implications, FOOTBALL implications, on the line for this matchup, as it always seems.
(8-3) UTSA at #24 (10-1) Tulane - Simply put, the winner goes to the American Championship game. It’s an AAC unofficial semifinal. I can’t wait to see Frank Harris (UTSA) battle Michael Pratt (Tulane) in New Orleans with so much on the line.
#11 (8-3) Oregon State at #6 (10-1) Oregon - The Civil War will not be so civil given the Pac-12/Pac-2 situation, not to mention the revenge the Ducks seek after Oregon State beat them last year in Corvallis. There will be blood.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Potential teams
Big 12 candidates
(9-2) Oklahoma - A win over TCU would more than likely put OU in a New Years’ Day bowl game. A TCU win over Oklahoma could make things very interesting.
(8-3) Kansas State - At home, the Wildcats are undefeated in 2023 and guess where they play Iowa State on Saturday?
(8-3) Oklahoma State - The Cowboys roared back for a 43-30 come from behind win over Houston last week. The Cowboys are my odds on favorite to be in the bowl game this year.
(6-5) Texas Tech - If the Red Raiders finish out the year with a win over Texas, I’d absolutely be ALL FOR bringing the Red Raiders back to Houston.
(7-4) Texas A&M - Beating LSU would give the Aggies momentum on into the bowl game. HUGE momentum.
(6-5) Auburn - A stunning 21-point loss to New Mexico State didn’t help the bowl prospects for Auburn, but beating Alabama on Thanksgiving weekend would make Auburn the belle of the ball.
The CFB season is really just starting to hit its stride, so let’s take a look at what happened last week, project some TaxAct Texas Bowl teams and look ahead to another tremendous weekend in CFB for week 12.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Missouri - The Tigers got lambasted last year in Knoxville when the Tennessee Volunteers poured it on late in a 66-24 win. This year, though, was a different story. The Tigers, riding the wave of former DII transfer RB Cody Schrader trampled Tennessee 36-7, making a significant statement that the Tigers are a force in 2023. The Tigers have only lost to LSU by ten and to Georgia by nine last week. That’s it. So, they needed this one at home for a bit of revenge and a bit of redemption. A ten win season is certainly in range with games against Florida and Arkansas coming up.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Team of the Week - UCF - Gus Malzahn’s squad did not have a Big 12 win after grueling gut punch losses to Baylor, Oklahoma and West Virginia, in particular. But, in week ten, the Knights beat Cincinnati on the road. But, they still hadn’t beaten a legacy Big 12 team until Saturday. Not only did they beat a legacy team, they dismantled the HOT Oklahoma State Cowboys. Fresh off an upset over Oklahoma and five Big 12 wins in a row, Mike Gundy’s Cowboys got shellacked by Malzahn’s squad 45-3. That’s not a misprint. Oklahoma State was in some kind of driver’s seat after Kansas lost to Texas Tech, but the Cowboys couldn’t handle UCF at all. UCF RB R.J. Harvey looked more like Ollie Gordon than the real Ollie Gordon looked like Ollie Gordon. Harvey ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Week - LSU QB Jayden Daniels - I fell asleep well before the Florida-LSU game concluded, so I got on my phone first thing in the morning and I saw Daniels’ numbers. I got confused. I thought those have to be a misprint. Nope. Daniels did something that’s never been done in the history of college football. He’s the first QB to throw for 350+ yards and rush for 200+ yards. Check these #s out - 17 of 26 for 372 yards and three touchdowns through the air with 12 rushes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. 606 total yards, accounting for five touchdowns. He was the only player that could make Missouri RB Cody Schrader the honorable mention selection this week.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Player of the Week - Missouri RB Cody Schrader - This was such a tough decision but when Daniels set records that no QB in FBS history had ever reached, Schrader moved down a notch from his high perch. But, that doesn't take away in the slightest from one of the greatest RB performances in SEC and Missouri history. He was the first player in SEC history to have 200 yards rushing (205) and 100 yards receiving (116) in the same game. There are only ten players that have done it in the history of college football. No player has generated as many all-purpose yards (321) in a game in FBS this season as Schrader.
National Team of the Week - Oregon State - The Beavers are one of the least talked about GREAT teams in the country. Stifling defense. Outstanding QB play. One of the nation’s best OL. The Beavers piled up 62 points on Stanford on Saturday, including 55 in the first three quarters. Circle the next two Saturdays - Oregon State gets Washington at home in Corvallis and then it’s Civil War time in Eugene against the Ducks. Those games will be AWESOME!
Honorable Mention National Team of the Week - UNLV - The Rebels finished 2022 with six losses in their last seven games. In 2021, they won just two games. In 2020, they lost all six games. After Friday night’s win over Wyoming in Vegas, the Rebels are now 8-2. That’s eight wins, one more than the Rebels had in the last three years COMBINED. Head coach Barry Odom’s squad jumped all over the Cowboys in the second half, shutting out the Cowboys and putting up 13 points over the last 30 minutes in a 34-14 win.
National Player of the Week - Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. - Three touchdowns against Michigan State. Went over 1000 yards receiving for the second consecutive season. Heisman love. Seven catches for 149 yards, two TD. One carry for a nineteen yard touchdown. Yeah, he’s the absolute Truth.
Honorable mention National Player of the Week - Cal LB David Reese - You wouldn’t think that a defensive star emerged in a 42-39 game on the west coast, but Reese should get all kinds of honors for his performance. Three sacks. Six tackles. Two forced fumbles, one of which was returned for a 52 yard TD for the Golden Bears.
…to Sam Houston for its second win, and first ever against a CUSA as a FBS program, on the road at Louisiana Tech.
…to Georgia for a resounding win over a top ten team at home. TE Brock Bowers returned to the lineup and scored a TD in a 52-17 win over formerly #9 Ole Miss.
…to Washington for remaining undefeated in a hard fought win over Utah in Seattle 35-28
…to Oregon QB Bo Nix for throwing four TD passes against USC in a 36-27 win.
…to the Red Raiders of Texas Tech for wrecking Kansas’ magical season with a last second field goal in Lawrence, KS.
…to Jedd Fisch and the Arizona Wildcats for their seventh win of the season, this time over Colorado on the road in Boulder.
…to Iowa for a shutout over Rutgers.
…to James Madison for its tenth win in a row this season. All that stands between JMU and a perfect 12-0 season is a game with Appalachian State and a trip to Coastal Carolina.
…to Hugh Freeze and Auburn for finding their offensive attack at the right time in the season. 48-10 over Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Week 12’s Big games
#2 (10-0) Georgia at #13 (7-3) Tennessee - the Volunteers are coming off of an embarrassing showing in Columbia, MO, so ruining the season of the #2 Bulldogs would be an amazing finish to the year.
#5 (10-0) Washington at #12 (8-2) Oregon State - This is the BEST game of the weekend, in my estimation. Oregon State is actually a slight favorite at home, so it’s clear this could be Washington’s last biggest test.
#24 (8-2) North Carolina at (6-4) Clemson - The Tigers are starting to play some good football finally, but facing, and shutting down, North Carolina QB Drake Maye might be a more difficult exercise on Saturday afternoon.
TaxAct Texas Bowl Potential teams
Big 12 candidates
(7-3) Oklahoma State - The Cowboys have overachieved a bit this year, but I didn’t expect them to get it handed to them this past weekend. Still in the Tax Act Texas Bowl hunt.
(7-3) Kansas - The Jayhawks lost to Texas Tech and have Kansas State this week…and potentially a banged up QB.
(5-5) Texas Tech - If the Red Raiders finish out the year with a win over UCF and an upset of Texas…I wouldn’t mind a HOT Tech team coming back to Houston.
(7-3) LSU - If LSU finishes out with two more wins, the Tigers will get snapped up by a New Year’s Bowl
(6-4) Texas A&M - With the change at the head coaching position, A&M is an intriguing team to watch this offseason for many reasons.
(6-4) Auburn - The Tigers stayed hot with a MASSIVE blowout win on the road last weekend.
Tax Act Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Oklahoma State - Before the season started, I was convinced that this was the year, finally, that Oklahoma State was not going to be in this Big 12 race. But, head coach Mike Gundy has done a whale of a job keeping his Cowboys right in the mix. Oklahoma State knocked Oklahoma off its potential playoff perch with a scintillating 27-24 win in Stillwater…Bedlam will be decked in orange and black for the foreseeable future. RB Ollie Gordon II put on a show for the third straight week, rushing for 137 yards and two TD, while junior WR Rashod Owens took over the game with his receptions and runs after the catch. Oklahoma State moved to 7-2 on the season and 5-1 in the conference. What a win.
Tax Act Texas Bowl Honorable mention Team of the Week - Houston - QB Donovan Smith ran in a QB Draw on a two point conversion to beat Baylor in Waco 25-24 to move within two games of bowl eligibility. That would be a MAJOR feather in head coach Dana Holgorsen’s cap - first year in the Big 12 and the Cougars find a bowl?? Wow.
Tax Act Texas Bowl Player of the Week - Alabama QB Jalen Milroe - The Katy, TX product just kept scoring touchdowns against LSU. He threw for 219 yards, but he ran for 20 times for 155 yards and FOUR touchdowns in a come from behind win over rival LSU in Tuscaloosa
Tax Act Texas Bowl Honorable mention Player of the Week - Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon II - as noted above, Gordon was instrumental in the 27-24 win over Oklahoma. He’s now run for 136, 168, 282, 271 and 138 in his last six games. In fact, he only ran the ball 19 times in his first three games for 109 yards.
National Team of the Week - Washington - Head coach Kalen DeBoer’s undefeated Huskies went to Los Angeles and dropped a 50-burger on the USC Trojans in a 52-42 win three weeks after beating Oregon in Seattle.
Honorable Mention National Team of the Week - Army - The Black Knights were decided underdogs heading to Denver to take on the undefeated Air Force Falcons. They left Denver with a win for the ages 23-3, knocking Air Force from its undefeated perch. With a win over Navy in the finale, Army will take home the Commander in Chief trophy after the massive upset in Air Force’s backyard. Congrats to Jeff Monken and his Army squad.
National Player of the Week - Washington RB Dillon Johnson - All the Greenville, MS native did was run for a career high 256 yards and four touchdowns in that 52-42 win over USC. He tacked on 11 more receiving yards for a total of 267 all-purpose yards and those four tuddies.
Honorable mention National Player of the Week - Penn State QB Drew Allar - 25-34 for 240 yards and FOUR touchdowns against Maryland in a 51-15 win.
…to Sam Houston for its first win as an FBS program - 24-21 win over Kennesaw State on a Colby Sessums game ending FG.
…to UCF for its first Big 12 win against Cincinnati 28-26
…to James Madison for continuing its dominant 9-0 run through CFB this year…even though James Madison can’t go to a bowl. It can STILL finish 12-0 with wins over UConn, Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina.
…to West Virginia for getting to bowl eligibility under head coach Neal Brown in a dominant 37-7 win over BYU.
…to Ole Miss for a hard fought win over Texas A&M in Oxford. Ole Miss hung on as Texas A&M kicker Randy Bond missed a game tying kick at the buzzer.
Week 11’s Big games
#3 (9-0) Michigan at #11(8-1) Penn State - Can Penn State finally win a BIG game against a top five team? Michigan is arguably the best team in the nation, so Penn State is in for a fight at home.
#18 (7-2) Utah at #5 (9-0) Washington - Utah can make a complete mess of the situation in the Pac-12 with an upset win in Seattle. Washington WR Rome Odunze is the absolute truth and Utah must stop him…and RB Dillon Johnson…and WR Ja’Lynn Polk…and QB Michael Penix Jr.
#17 (7-2) Tennessee at #12 (7-2) Missouri - The Tigers gave Georgia all it could handle in Athens, so returning home for Tennessee could make things tough on the Vols.
Tax Act Potential Bowl teams
Big 12 candidates
(6-3) Kansas State - the Wildcats have a great history with the bowl here in Houston
(6-3) West Virginia - without that late loss to Houston, Neal Brown’s Mountaineers would be 7-2
(4-5) Houston - the Cougars would be one heck of a story, but need two difficult wins to get to 6-6, at a minimum.
(5-4) BYU - The Cougars need a win to get to bowl eligibility, but if they do, they’ll bring fans in droves to H-Town.
(6-3) LSU - If LSU finishes out with three wins, the Tigers will get snapped up by a New Year’s Bowl
(5-4) Texas A&M - the Aggies have had some gut punch losses this year, including last week’s 38-35 barnburner in Oxford.
(5-4) Auburn - In his first year at Auburn, Hugh Freeze has put Auburn in position to get into a bowl game, but must beat one of Arkansas, New Mexico State or Alabama to get to six wins.
Crowned by Sports Illustrated as "unassailably the best bowl week diversion," the 2022 Rodeo Bowl presented by Kroger took home the esteemed "Best Event Award" at the Bowl Season Awards during the industry's annual conference.
As the Rodeo Bowl basks in its well-deserved accolade, the college football world gears up for the spring transfer portal, which brings with it the potential for significant changes in teams' dynamics.
The annual migration of college football players in search of new opportunities is in full swing, and the sport is bracing for the ripple effects these changes will have.
The spring transfer portal, which opened on April 15, provides 15 days for athletes to seek fresh horizons and for programs to reinforce their squads.
The portal has become a focal point of excitement this season, sending tremors through the college football world as star players embark on bold new journeys.
Among the early transfers, former Michigan Wolverines' starting quarterback Cade McNamara has bid farewell to Ann Arbor for a fresh start with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
McNamara's move comes after a mixed-success season at Michigan, and the change of scenery could be the catalyst he needs to thrive truly.
In another attention-grabbing move, DJ Uiagalelei, once considered Trevor Lawrence's successor at Clemson, has opted to leave the renowned program for new opportunities at Oregon State.
The highly sought-after quarterback's decision holds the potential to disrupt the Pac-12 and establish the Beavers as a formidable presence on the national stage.
As the spring transfer portal spins, college football fans and analysts eagerly anticipate more announcements. With additional high-profile players expected to reveal their decisions in the coming days, the impact of this year's portal will undoubtedly reshape the sport's landscape and set the stage for an exciting and unpredictable 2023 season.
Here's a list of some players who have decided to enter the transfer portal and attend a new school this fall:
1. WR Jordan Hudson, TCU
2. CB Bobby Taylor, Texas A&M
3. DB Jahquez Robinson, Alabama
4. DT Tywone Malone, Ole Miss
5. TE Elijah Brown, Alabama
6. RB Sy'Veon Wilkerson, Jackson State
7. LB Brenden Grant, Florida State
8. CB Jalil Tucker, Oregon
9. WR Brenen Thompson, Texas
10. DB Jaden Davis, Oklahoma
As college football enthusiasts eagerly await the return of their favorite pastime, they can finally celebrate the start of spring practice, signaling the countdown to much-anticipated spring games.
These annual showdowns provide a sneak peek into the 2023 season, unveiling the potential and promise of new and returning players.
Missouri was the first from the Power Five to hit the gridiron when they took the field on March 18.
Spectators were treated to an early look at the Tigers' restructured roster and a preview of the team's prospects for the upcoming season.
The remaining Power Five teams are slated to follow suit throughout April, presenting their lineups and providing fans with an exhilarating preview of the forthcoming season.
BYU and four other Big 12 programs began preparations for the 2023 season last week, while the remaining nine schools commenced spring practices this week.
These games present an opportunity for athletes to showcase their abilities and contend for starting positions.
Concurrently, the coaching staff can assess their rosters and make critical determinations before the 2023 season.
As spring games transpire nationwide, fans can stay engaged by tuning in to various available television and streaming options.
So don't miss out on the action - check out the times below to see when the SEC and Big 12 kick off their spring games and the corresponding viewing times!
|Baylor||Saturday, April 22||12 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Iowa State||Saturday, April 22||11 a.m.||--|
|Kansas||Friday, April 7||7 p.m.||--|
|Kansas State||Saturday, April 15||--||--|
|Oklahoma||Saturday, April 22||2:30 p.m.||ESPN+|
|TCU||Saturday, April 15||--||--|
|Texas||Saturday, April 22||1 p.m.||--|
|Texas Tech||Saturday, April 22||12 p.m.||ESPN+|
|West Virgina||Saturday, April 22||12 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Alabama||Saturday, April 22||2 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Arkansas||Saturday, April 15||12 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Auburn||Saturday, April 8||1 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Florida||Thursday, April 13||6:30 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Georgia||Saturday, April 15||3 p.m.||ESPN2|
|LSU||Saturday, April 15||1 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Mississippi||Saturday, April 15||2 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Mississippi State||Saturday, April 15||12 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Missouri||Saturday, March 18||11 a.m.||SEC Network+|
|South Carolina||Saturday, April 15||7 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Tennesse||Saturday, April 15||2:30 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Texas A&M||Saturday, April 15||4 p.m.||SEC Network+|
|Vanderbilt||Saturday, April 8||6 p.m.||SEC Network+|
As spring practice draws near, the stage is set for the best incoming prospects to showcase their skills and stand out from the crowd.
So, it's no surprise that college football has adopted the "what have you done for me lately" mentality in 2023, reflecting the impressive impact of highly skilled transfers and first-year players in the 2022 season.
The transfer portal has become a goldmine for college football programs, providing an influx of talented and experienced players that can help coaches revamp their rosters.
One position, the quarterback, has seen a major shakeup as many new signal-callers have found their way to different programs. As a result, the college football landscape is transforming as coaches aim to put their teams in the best position to succeed.
As fans eagerly await the start of the upcoming season, here are some of the standout newcomers to keep an eye on:
Alabama Crimson Tide
As Alabama football sets its sights on the 2023 season, fans of the Roll Tide can look forward to a new era of dominant offense. Coach Saban and his team have added three explosive weapons to their arsenal in the form of the top two running backs of the 2023 class, Richard Young and Justice Haynes. The Tide have also added five-star offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor and a new quarterback. With a potential emphasis on the running game, Young and Haynes could shine and be formidable forces on the field.
TCU Horned Frogs
The TCU Horned Frogs faced some significant losses this off-season, with key players such as QB Max Duggan, WR Quentin Johnston, and CB Tre'vius Hodges-Tomlinson departing the team. However, TCU is determined to build on the momentum from its successful 2022 season and has set its sights on acquiring top talent. The Horned Frogs have made a strong statement by landing six transfers from the SEC, including three from powerhouse program Alabama. This impressive haul consists of the highly touted JoJo Earle, a 5-9 wideout and kick returner rated No. 73 in the 2021 ESPN 300. With this talented addition, TCU aims to sign its highest-rated recruiting class in recent history, solidifying its position as a dominant force in the Big 12.
Longhorn Nation is in high spirits after securing a commitment from one of the nation'snation's premier quarterbacks, Arch Manning, in July. Despite the transfer portal leading to talent departures from other programs, Manning's arrival has energized fans and heightened anticipation for the talented prospects joining the squad in the upcoming season. One such prospect is the 2023 class's top-rated linebacker, Anthony Hill, who sits at No. 16 in the ESPN 300 rankings. The combination of Hill's skills and Manning's talent has Longhorn fans eagerly awaiting the start of the new season.
As the LSU Tigers look to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss in the SEC championship game, they have moved to address a key weakness on their roster. The transfer portal has proven to be a valuable resource for college football programs, and LSU has taken advantage of it by adding two talented cornerbacks to the roster. Denver Harris, ranked No. 5 in the 2022 class, brings a wealth of experience to the secondary, having made an impact as a true freshman at Texas A&M. And Chestnut, a former Freshman All-American at Syracuse, has proven himself over two seasons with 83 tackles, four interceptions, and nine passes defended in 24 games. These two transfers could play a significant role in helping the Tigers reach their goals for the 2023 season.
The 2022-23 Bowl Season was a thrilling ride from start to finish, with shocking upsets and incredible performances that left fans on the edge of their seats.
These electrifying moments on the field had fans cheering and sent the draft stock of many players soaring as they solidified themselves as top prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Ohio State's quarterback CJ Stroud, Georgia's defensive tackle Jalen Carter, and Alabama's quarterback Bryce Young are just a few of the players who declared for the draft.
Still, there are just as many who did not.
As a result, some fan bases will see their quarterback return for another college football season as they put off professional aspirations for a year to hone their skills and improve their draft prospects.
Here are the top 5 QBs who were draft eligible and will be returning for the 2023-24 season:
1. Michael Penix Jr., Washington
2022 stats: 362-for-554, 4,641 yards, 31 TDs, 92 rushing yards, 4 rushing TDs
Transferring to Washington, he earned the position and had a phenomenal season under new coach Kalen DeBoer after being hired. With two 1,000-yard receivers back in Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, the Huskies might surpass their national-leading 370 passing yards per game from this season.
2. Bo Nix, Oregon
2022 stats: 294-for-409, 3,593 yards, 29 TDs, 510 rushing yards, 14 rushing TDs
Nix was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy and kept the Ducks in playoff contention for the whole of the season. Nix topped all quarterbacks with 14 running touchdowns and drove Oregon's sixth-ranked offense.
3. Jordan Travis, Florida State
2022 stats: 226-for-353, 3,214 yards, 24 TDs, 417 rushing yards, 7 TDs
Travis, a dynamic runner and efficient thrower led FSU to 10 wins for the first time since 2016. His performance earned him second-team All-ACC honors, putting him in a prime position for the 2024 NFL Draft.
4. Jayden Daniels, LSU
2022 stats: 266-for-388, 2,913 yards, 17 TDs, 885 rushing yards, 11 rushing TDs
Although his throwing statistics under Brian Kelly were almost identical to those of his rookie year, he nearly quadrupled his running production and led LSU to the SEC West championship. For him, his last year of college football might be his most significant and put him in a prime position for the 2024 NFL Draft.
5. Sam Hartman, Notre Dame
2022 stats: 270-for-428, 3,701 yards, 38 TDs, 129 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
In five seasons at Wake Forest, Hartman established the ACC career touchdown pass record (108) and was No. 2 in career passing yards (12,967). He transferred to Notre Dame and started the 2023 season with the longest active touchdown throw streak at 30. Hartman will play behind a veteran line and a robust set of running backs at 24 years old.
It's shaping up to be another exciting year of college football, and these players will be the ones to watch as they vie for a spot in the NFL.
Following NCAA changes to transfer rules and eligibility, the transfer portal has become massive over the past couple of years. The addition of NIL opportunities convinces players that there may be a better spot for them. There are currently over 1,200 college football players in the portal today. The portal can be a blessing or a curse, as 43% of all NCAA athletes don't land at a new school for their sport. We will be diving into the top college football quarterbacks in the transfer portal, who shouldn't have any issue finding their new homes.
DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson
DJ Uiagalelei, one of the nation's top prospects when he started his career at Clemson University, entered the transfer portal after an underwhelming performance this past season. The junior, originally from Inland Empire, California, ended the regular season with a 31-30 loss to the University of South Carolina. Questions about transferring were brought up throughout the season, especially when he was benched after a disappointing first two possessions in the ACC Championship game against UNC-Chapel Hill, going 3-and-out twice in a row. However, his backup, Cade Klubnik, had a stellar performance, going 20-of-24 for 309 total yards and scoring two touchdowns, and that performance solidified Uiagalelei's transfer decision. Uiagalelei is expected to go somewhere out west and completed an unofficial visit to UCLA this past week. Other contenders for final destinations for the player with two more years of eligibility include Notre Dame, Oregon, and Arizona State.
Devin Leary, NC State
At the beginning of this past football season, Leary was projected to be a top quarterback in the ACC. However, a midseason injury, specifically a torn pectoral muscle on his right side, left him on the sidelines for the remainder of his season. The junior from New Jersey initially held a fourth or fifth-round NFL draft grade going into the season but has since decreased in rankings. He will now be a grad transfer student using his sixth year of eligibility. Leary, the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, generated a lot of buzz surrounding his passing game and ability to be a fantastic leader and play caller. He is a top-rated player in the transfer portal at this time. In the 2021 season, the year before his injury, he threw 35 touchdowns, racked up 3,433 passing yards, and had two rushing touchdowns of his own. It does not seem he will have a shortage of transfer options, and he has reportedly been in contact with Kentucky, Auburn, and Missouri.
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
One of the surprises of the transfer portal this season has been Grayson McCall, the rising senior and first-ever three-time Sun Belt Player of the Year. His entrance into the portal from Coastal Carolina comes after his former head coach Jamey Chadwell transferred to Liberty University to fill their head coaching position. The North Carolina native is one of the top players in the portal, who finished his Coastal Carolina career with 8,019 passing yards,78 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, a 70.4% pass completion rating, and averaged 10.3 yards per attempt. Often called "the most productive QB in the portal," McCall was a finalist for the Manning Award, a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, and was the conference Freshman of the Year. With numbers and awards like that, many schools are expressing interest, including Liberty, NC State, Auburn, Florida, and Oregon.
Hudson Card, Texas
With Arch Manning, one of the nation's top recruiting prospects, committed to the University of Texas, Texas football has depth in its offense that did not give Card a lot of future playing time. Card started five games during his three years with the Longhorns and made show promise within his performance, but he was benched this past season behind current starting QB Quinn Ewers. The Texas-raised quarterback will enter his next destination as a redshirt junior but has up to three years of remaining eligibility due to NCAA-granted waivers. The former ESPN top-40 recruit threw for 1,523 yards and 11 touchdowns in the past two seasons, on top of a very promising high school career. His top destinations appear to be TCU, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin, but his agility and high completion percentage have prepared him for many programs.
Donovan Smith, Texas Tech
Smith, a native of Texas, entered the transfer portal with a couple more seasons of eligibility, and he was a pivotal contributor to Texas Tech's bowl eligibility this past season. The Red Raiders will face Ole Miss in the TaxAct Texas Bowl. The sophomore quarterback played 21 games for the Red Raiders, finishing his Texas Tech career with a 64.2% completion percentage, going 231/360 for 2686 yards, 19 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. Smith led the Red Raiders to a few wins throughout the season, including the thrilling overtime win against their rival Longhorns, but was eventually sent to the bench behind starting senior QB Tyler Shough. Despite some inconsistency issues with his performance, Smith will make a great addition to any program, and the top contenders right now include NC State, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Boise State.