Buyer Beware: The following contains spoilers regarding the upcoming 2022 college football season. By reading further, you are accepting the risk of knowing in advance results between Week 0 and the CFP Championship on January 9, 2023.
It appears statistically that I am more accurate than even my faux ego would admit. I still miss some. 47-28 for the last regular season. 19-10 for the bowls, with 3 DNPs. But, sigh, I picked Michigan to prevail in the Capital One Bowl semi. Silly moi. And the Sabanites to take yet another title trophy back to B-ham, to hoist on the head table at Dreamland. Got outSmarted on that one.
Still not bad all in all. I trundle ahead, head held high.
So, here we go with some 2022 preseason surmisals.
* * * * *
Recently I posted conjecture on which athletes would have their faces carved on a Mt. Rushmore for Louisvillians. Three were gimmes. The other a toss up.
Since the CFP hasn’t yet given the green light for its inevitable expansion, the institutions of higher learning for student athletes participating in playdowns for the title remain a quartet.
Need I elucidate whom this campaign’s bloodblood trio are projected to be? No, but I shall, because it’s what I do.
Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia.
Will they make the Final Four?
Alabama? Duh. Only in ‘19 of the last six title encounters were the Crimson Tide not one of the teams taking to the field. They are as close to a Paul Hornung unbuckle as it gets. Thanks to college pigskin laureate Stew Mandel, I can pass along this nuggetoid of info about the Crimson Tide’s success during the current administration. After one year of rebuilding, Saban’s teams have lost but 19 games in 14 seasons.
Ohio State? Yesterday at Whole Foods, I saw a guy checking out while wearing a ballcap with a huge scarlet O on it, a THE Ohio State t-shirt, and a pair of shorts adorned with buckeyes. For shits and gigles I almost shouted out “O-H” expecting an “I-O” in response. I demurred. Yet took the sighting as a sign. The Olentangy River gang is in. Then there’s this affirmation of success, again from Mandel. In the last 14 “normal” seasons (Read: non COVID skewed), the Buckeyes have fallen but 21 times under three different mentors. Fallen Jim Tressel. Current coach Ryan Day. And odious Pope Urban Meyer.
Georgia? I demand early and often that these endeavors remain politics free. And pray the Commentariat will acquiesce, understanding this reference for the snark it is and nothing more? Hershel Walker, are you serious? Do you really really believe some of those utterances of yours? It took UGa awhile to get to the top, can it continue? I’m skeptical. Unless of course, Walker somehow gets another year of eligibility. Even at his age, I’d mark him down for a thousand on the ground.
Generally regarded as the 4th “lock” are the Tigers of Clemson. Am I ridin’ that train? Clemson fell thrice last campaign. To the eventual national champ, and two ACC rivals who are seriously upticking, NC State and Pitt. Dabo lost both coordinators. Has a QB who hasn’t lived up to the hype. But their D-line remains the most formidable in the land. Dabo’s good ol’ boy persona has been eroding for a couple of seasons now. At least for me. So I’m sayin’ last year’s bad karma wasn’t all that instant and shall linger.
So, Seedy, give us your bottom line for the latter duo.
Georgia, yes. Clemson, no.
Which leaves you wandering in the wilderness perplexed as to that final spot.
Notre Dame? New coach Marcus Freeman has the money counters at NBC salivating like Pavlov’s dog. The Irish as we well know shall get every break possible by the Selection Committee. However they actually play on the gridiron. I’m not buying in for this year.
Michigan? Sorry, Jim, I know you wish you were in Minnesota, playing in a Dome, but you’re back to the Big House. Without your eminent OC and DC from last year. Thus, back to those nagging question marks. I’ve got too many to strike up “Hail to the Victors.”
Texas A&M? We know the Aggies go 12 deep. We know they know how to build a bonfire. We know they have a fan base as rabid as any, and vaults full of NIL oil moolah. But John David Crow ain’t runnin’ out onto that green field.
Which leads me to Utah. When I was a lad in high school, the national Jaycees had their convention in Louisville. It was a bacchanal. The night of the parade down Fourth Street, the Professor and I found ourselves in the Beehive State’s parade. And tippling with them — as much as we did which was not much at all — in an establishment along the route. So, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Utes.
Kyle Whittingham is the most underrated coach in the nation. He’s won two of every three his squad has contested. Last campaign, they battered three higher ranked Top 20 schools, and came within a FG of THE Ohio State Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. Fourteen starters return. Including Cam Rising, at least 3d Team All Name, calling signals. More than a few Portal home runs join them.
So, are the Beehive Staters in?
I recently purchased a way cool “Lebowski/ Sobchak 2024” t-shirt. In honor of that (WARNING: Expletive incoming) “Fuck it, Dude, let’s go bowling.”
Like, yes, Utah to the CFP.
Next week: Week 0 winners.
— c d kaplan