2019-2020 College Football Bowl Preview
by Alex Buettgen ’22
The 2019 College football season has been very eventful to say the least. It has been filled with upsets, injuries, incredible comebacks, breakout players, and surprising teams. Now that the regular season has ended, it is time for each bowl eligible teams to show their opponent why they belong.
No team has more to prove this bowl season than the perennial powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide and their diety-like coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide missed out on the College Football Playoffs for the first time in the playoffs’ existence due to a late loss coming at the hands of instate rival Auburn. After the heartbreaking loss of star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, backup quarterback Mac Jones, the favorite to take the reigns next year, will have to prove why he should be the next gunslinger for the mighty Tide. There would be no better way to secure the position than with a win over the Big 10 power Michigan Wolverines in the Citrus Bowl. Jones has shown that he can get it done, passing for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns in only 5 appearances, but struggled to keep the ball safe against Auburn, throwing two pick sixes. Jones will go against a stout Michigan defense, led by hard hitting linebackers Jordan Glasgow and Khaleke Hudson and superstar true freshman safety Daxton Hill. On the other hand, the Michigan offense has been ineffective as of late, scoring 27 in the loss to rival Ohio State and only 10 in the win versus Iowa. Quarterback Shea Patterson has improved greatly on his numbers from last year, passing for 2,828 yards and 22 touchdowns versus just 6 interceptions. The downfall in Shea’s game falls on his inability to avoid sacks, as he has taken an NCAA leading 22 sacks and has lost north of 200 yards on sacks. This game will come down to whichever struggling defense can rattle the other team’s quarterback and force him into making a bad decision.
The Utah Utes were one game away from securing their first ever College Football Playoff bid. Their return to dominance in the college football realm has been somewhat storybook. The Utes will face one of college football’s most established programs, the four-time National Champion Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns have encountered a difficult season somewhat due to karma thanks to Longhorn quarterback Sam Ehlinger proclaiming that “Texas was Back” after a Sugar Bowl victory last year. This year, they went 7-5, with embarrassing losses coming at the hands of 4-8 TCU and 6-6 Iowa State. The Utes, on the other hand, went 11-2 this season, losing in the PAC 12 Championship to the Oregon Ducks to end their hopes of a playoff appearance. The Utes are led by a fantastic defense and an exciting offense captained by quarterback Tyler Huntley and future NFL running back Zach Moss. Huntley has done a fantastic job this season passing for 2,966 yards and 18 touchdowns and only turned the ball over 4 times all season, three of which came in the Oregon game. Moss has shown the country why he is considered one of the best backs in the nation, rushing for 1,359 yards and 15 scores and even broke a 91 yard touchdown run against Oregon State. Moss also has incredible ball security, fumbling only one time this season in an early matchup against Arizona State. If all goes as planned for the Utes, they should run and pass all over a porous Texas defense.
The Texas A&M Aggies has endured one of the toughest schedules in the nation, all 5 of their losses coming at the hands of Top 10 ranked teams. The Aggies have put together a respectable season under second-year head coach Jimbo Fisher, going 7-5 with impressive wins coming against South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State and also played very good football in close loses to Clemson and Georgia. The Aggie offense has had its ups and downs this year and junior quarterback Kellen Mond has seen his numbers decrease since his sophomore season but put up respectable numbers, passing for about 2,802 yards and 19 touchdowns compared to 9 interceptions. The Aggies will have to count on Mond to make plays and rely on their defense to find a way to stop one of the most electrifying offenses in the nation, yes, I’m talking about the high flyin’ Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Cowboys have been virtually unstoppable on offense, putting up 26 or more points in every game they have played this season. Leading the way is explosive running back Chubba Hubbard. Hubbard has been the number one rusher in the NCAA this season, rushing for an astonishing 1,936 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. Sadly for the Cowboys, their star receiver Tylan Wallace, who caught 56 passes for 908 yards in only 5 games this season is still out with a torn acl and do-it-all quarterback Spencer Sanders is doubtful to play due to a hip injury suffered against Oklahoma. If Sanders does not play, the Cowboys will have to rely on walk-on redshirt freshman quarterback Shaun Taylor. Taylor has appeared in one game this season, going 10-11 for 158 yards and a touchdown versus Oklahoma, but has shown time and time again he is not to be taken lightly. During his senior year of high school, Taylor threw for a mind-boggling 5,151 yards and 61 touchdowns and led his school to a state championship. Though just a walk-on, Taylor is more than capable of leading this Cowboy offense. However, if the Aggies are able to put pressure on the young Taylor and force him into bad decisions, the Aggies will head home to College Station with a Texas Bowl victory.
These are just three of the exciting bowl games taking place this Winter. If you have time during your Christmas holiday, try to catch one of the 39 bowl games as they are sure to mark an exciting end to a great year of college football.