NCAA: New Year’s Eve Bowl Game Breakfast
The NCAA placing national college football semifinals on New Year’s Eve has been controversial in NCAA college football.
This decision started in 2014 and initially led to lower ratings overall for the games. In addition to competing with the holiday itself, the games often aired at times on weekdays when they couldn’t generate significant audience share.
The low audience numbers forced the NCAA to go back on their plan to take over the holiday and moved the national semifinals to the Saturday before New Year’s Eve – unless New Year’s Eve fell on a Friday or a Saturday.
This scheduling problem will end when the College Football Playoff expands in 2024. New Year’s Day will then be for the national quarterfinals. The Rose Bowl is contractually obligated to play on New Year’s Day, so the timing for the rest of the quarterfinals is still to be determined.
On New Year’s Eve 2022, college football fans will have a nice little appetizer of bowl games to start the day before the national semifinals kick off later in the day.
The Music City Bowl starts at noon EST in Nashville, Tennessee, where the 7-5 Iowa Hawkeyes face off against the 7-5 Kentucky Wildcats.
At the same time, the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana, will be kicking off, featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Kansas State Wildcats.
Let’s look at these match-ups as we plan for a full day of New Year’s Eve college football.
Iowa-Kentucky: A Defensive Struggle
In Nashville, we’re looking at two 7-5 teams facing off in a game with a total of 31(!) points, with the Hawkeyes listed as 1.5-point favorites. Oddly enough, this is a bowl game rematch of the 2022 NCAA VRBO Citrus Bowl, where Kentucky beat Iowa 20-17.
This game will look a little different. Will Levis, who led the NCAA Wildcats to victory last year, is sitting out to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft. Iowa’s offense, which has sputtered at times throughout the season, will also be down starting quarterback Spencer Petras.
I expect this match-up will be similar to last year’s NCAA Citrus Bowl – low scoring, with timely plays, a game where the box score cannot capture the attitude on the field. I like Iowa to cover this one.
Alabama-Kansas State: A Showcase of Talent
After the Crimson Tide lost two games in a three-game span this year, they knew they would be fighting from the outside to get into the College Football playoff.
Without national championship aspirations, it’s a surprise that the Tide hasn’t shut down for the season and let their players prepare for the off-season or the NFL Draft.
That is not the case this year. Presumed No.1 draft pick Bryce Young and 1st round prospect and edge rusher Will Anderson will play in their final college games. The Tide is favored in this game by a touchdown, and the game has a point total of 56.
I expect this one to be a high-scoring shootout. There’s plenty of talent on the Alabama side of the ball, but keep an eye on Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn. A shifty 5’6 running back, he ranked 12th nationally in individual rushing with 1425 yards and 11 total touchdowns on the season.