College Football playoff run down
The GIST: While we were completing the Willy Wonka grandparents challenge, the giants of the college gridiron spent the holidays contending for bowl game glory. Here’s who tasted victory and who fell shockingly short.
CFP semis: The New Year’s Eve CFP semifinals brought high-scoring drama, with No. 3 TCU beating No. 2 Michigan 51–45 and No. 1 Georgia narrowly edging out No. 4 Ohio State 42–41. Defending champs Georgia will face CFP newbies TCU on Monday night for an old guard vs. new guard championship battle.
- The most disappointed? Big Ten fans. While the conference has appeared in seven of the nine CFP editions (with two semifinalists this year), they’ve only made it past the semis twice and haven’t hoisted hardware since Ohio State’s 2014 ’ship.
Bowl games: The last of the 42 bowl games wrapped up on Monday with a few standout wins. No. 24 Mississippi State emotionally plundered Illinois in honor of late HC Mike “The Pirate” Leach. Meanwhile, HC Brian “Five-second rule” Kelly’s No. 16 LSU blew out Purdue 63–7, tying the largest point-differential (56 points) in bowl history in the process.
- And in better news for the CFP final-less Big Ten, No. 9 Penn State took down No. 7 Utah 35–21 in the Rose Bowl to give the conference a 5-4 bowl game record and a moving sendoff for sixth-year PSU quarterback (QB) Sean Clifford. Pass the tissues.
- The biggest shock? No. 14 Tulane. The Green Wave scored 16 points in the final four minutes of the Cotton Bowl to defeat No. 8 USC 46–45, finishing this season 12-2 after going 2-10 in 2021 — the best single-season turnaround in FBS history. Snaps.