Postseason Plans for Utah Collegiate Football
It’s payoff season for some in College Football. (Sorry Florida State)
All the long hours, hard days, and extreme work throughout a grueling regular season are now being “rewarded” in some form of playoff matchup, or more likely, Bowl game.
The supposed season finales for some of these teams is worth the wait, but more often than not these bowl games will be littered with mediocre attendance, middling interest and of course most teams having their star players sit out if they aren’t already in the transfer portal.
“Bowl games aren’t what they used to be” your dad will say.
The pride, the fun, the intensity known in the world of college football may be reserved for the playoffs alone.
But for us here in the beehive state, bowl games are all we have to cling onto in terms of measuring success. (At least this season)
And if that is the barometer, only two teams out of six at the Division 1 Level in Utah found success.
BYU went 5-7, falling a game short of bowl eligibility.
Weber State, Southern Utah, and Utah Tech all missed out on the FCS playoffs, however both the Wildcats and T-Birds hit 6 wins on the year.
The quick math leads you to two Universities going bowling:
The Utes finished the year 8-4, 5-4 in Pac-12 play. As back-to-back defending conference champions, the result isn’t what Utah fans had in mind when the season began.
When you put the year into context however, the end record is actually very impressive considering the bevy of injuries and setbacks they experienced.
Utah was ranked in the Top 25 from the start of the season to the tail end of November with a depleted roster in an unforgiving conference.
It isn’t the Pac-12 Championship, but Utah will still get to play in Allegiant Stadium for the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday December 23rd.
Utah will take on the runner up In the Big Ten West, 7-5 Northwestern.
Joe Coles of the Deseret News has the breakdown for you:
“Northwestern has the nation’s No. 102 scoring offense, averaging 22.8 points per game. Quarterback Ben Bryant has thrown for 1,585 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions on 61.7% accuracy, while running back Cam Porter has run for 618 yards and four touchdowns on 156 carries.”
“The Wildcats boast the No. 50 scoring defense, allowing 23.8 points per game. Northwestern has the No. 24 passing defense, allowing 192.1 yards through the air, but are allowing 159.5 rushing yards per game, which ranks No. 82 in the country.”
“After beating Wisconsin, Purdue and Illinois to end the season, Northwestern enters on a three-game winning streak.” (Joe Coles, Deseret News)
Utah has opened up as 9.5 favorites over the Wildcats. The over/under has been set at 42.5 points.
It may not be the sexiest matchup alive, but the close proximity and familiar location will be guaranteed to make Vegas feel like Salt Lake City for a game.
Out of 41 bowl games, Nick Bromberg of Yahoo Sports raked the Las Vegas Bowl as his 27th most anticipated matchup, right below Texas Tech and Cal in the Independence Bowl and jut ahead of Marshall and UTSA in the Frisco Bowl.
Like I said, not very sexy, but should still be a great time for Utah faithful as they look forward to next year.
UTAH STATE AGGIES
The Aggies came up clutch, waiting all the way up until the season finale against New Mexico to get bowl eligible when they took down the Lobos in Overtime.
This locked in USU at six wins for two straight seasons, and guaranteed a bowl game for the third consecutive year.
It isn’t the LA Bowl that Utah State enjoyed after their Mountain West championship two years ago, but to be bowling nonetheless can give Aggie fans some hope that a return to glory won’t be too far away.
Speaking of too far away, USU and Aggie faithful get a 4-hour jaunt to Boise, for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday December 23rd.
The opponent will be Georgia State who was tied 4th in the Sun Belt as 6-6.
Jason Turner of The Herald Journal has the Panthers averages:
“Georgia State is balanced on offense as it has averaged 171.6 rushing yards per game and 200.9 yards passing. The Panthers, who averaged 25.7 points per game, have struggled defensively as they have allowed 30.75 points and 431.9 yards an outing — 144.8 on the ground and 287.1 through the air. Georgia State has given up 28 touchdown passes.”
“The Aggies are 6-10 all-time in bowl games, while the Panthers are 3-2. Georgia State didn’t start playing football until the 2010 campaign.”
‘” The last three times the Aggies ended the regular season at 6-6 — in 2015, 2017 and 2022 — they went on to lose their bowl game, and that's something Anderson is motivated to avoid.” (Jason Turner, The Herald Journal)
Despite the Aggies getting more of a home field vibe here, Action Network say’s the Panthers are about 6.5 favorites in this matchup.
Georgia State is entering this game having lost their last 5 games after starting 6-1.
The Over/Under is at a whopping 63.5 points.
Nick Bromberg placed the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at #38 of 41 in his best bowl game matchup preview for Yahoo Sports.
That would be a rank below the Camellia Bowl with Arkansas State and Northern Illinois and a peg above the 68 Ventures Bowl with South Alabama and Eastern Michigan.
I get its not a hyped matchup, but hopefully Aggie nation can make it memorable and look forward to next season after salvaging at what was at one point, a 3-5 season.