Updated: Feb 8
By Alex Scheer
NCAA Football Analyst
Can you believe it? Bowl season is almost over with just the Armed Forces Bowl, LendingTree Bowl, and the CFP National Championship Game left! We figured now was as good a time as ever to wrap up what has been an eventful bowl season. Here are five takes from what the 2019-2020 postseason has brought us so far:
1. Officiating: It's no surprise that games can come down to poor officiating and missed calls, this year being no exception. Ohio State-Clemson, Oregon-Wisconsin, Arizona State-Florida State, and Western Kentucky-Western Michigan all had potentially game-altering calls go one way or another. The officials all across the board need to be held accountable for making sure they get the calls right. Far too often it feels as if the officials care more about keeping their original call rather than getting the call right. Ego gets in the way of officiating a fair and balanced game. It's not fair to the players who put everything into winning the last game of the year and it's not fair to the fans who spend the time and money to go watch the games. It seems to be obvious to everyone but the NCAA. Referees need to be held to a higher standard and they need to be held accountable for their mistakes. Human error has a part in every game, it always has and always will. But there is no reason for officiating to get gradually worse as replay and rule updates give them the ability to make the right call 98% of the time. Consistency is key and that’s exactly what officiating needs: Consistency.
2. We need to give the AAC a little more respect. As of right now, they are extremely top-heavy and include one to two legitimate teams every year. Example: #21 Cincinnati (10-3) blasting unranked Boston College (6-6) 38-6 in the Birmingham Bowl. This match-up shouldn’t have happened. Boston College was barely eligible for postseason play and Cincinnati’s only losses came at the hands of the Big Ten and AAC champions. It was a fool’s errand to bet against Cincinnati in this game. Memphis held their own against Penn State and as of right now, the AAC is 3-3 in bow games, with two of their ranked squads picking up wins against Power Five opponents. This conference deserves a little more respect.
3. The Big 12 had a rude awakening on the national stage this year. Not counting Oklahoma getting throttled by LSU in the CFP Semi-final, the rest of the Big 12 is a combined 1-4 in postseason play. The lone win belongs to Texas against a vastly overhyped Utah team. While some of the games they had were rather lopsided in terms of matchups (Iowa State-Notre Dame being one example), it shows that the Big 12 is a two team conference this season: Oklahoma and Baylor.
4. The Big Ten was an incomplete pass (Ohio State), a fumble (Wisconsin) and an onside kick (Indiana) away from finishing bowl season at 7-2. Despite officiating issues, each of these teams had a chance late in the game to secure a W for their programs. Blame officiating all you want, it came down to execution at the end of the game. The Buckeyes had the ball and were driving in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. It was Justin Fields' interception with under a minute left that cost the Buckeyes the game, despite what OSU fans may have you believe. For Indiana, it was blowing a 13 point lead with less than six minutes remaining in the 4th quarter that ended up being their downfall. The Big Ten had poor late game flaws that left the conference sitting at 4-5 instead of 7-2 or even 6-3.
5. The National Championship Game is going to be boring. After watching Joe Burrow throw eight touchdowns against Oklahoma and watching Clemson barely squeeze by Ohio State, this game looks to be the LSU Tigers' game to lose. Can the Clemson Tigers keep up? Trevor Lawrence has taken down the best of the SEC before, but this LSU team really looks to be the true #1 in the country. The offense is explosive, the defense is stifling, and they are clicking on all cylinders at the right time. While nothing is ever certain, it seems highly probable that LSU will dominate Clemson in this game. And if that happens, everyone will be bored witnessing yet another SEC-ACC National Championship game. (Also, this is gonna be a really confusing game to watch: Tiger vs Tiger. That should almost be illegal. If you don't get bored watching, you'll definitely get confused.)
Three more games left to wrap up the end of the 150th anniversary of college football, and then that’s it until next August. Yes, we have the NFL draft coming up soon, where stars like Joe Burrow, Chase Young, CeeDee Lamb and more will begin the next step in their football careers. But it's not the same. The Super Bowl helps to satisfy our desire to watch football through February, but after that, the waiting game begins.
If one thing remains constant in college football, it’s that nothing remains constant. This season brought us exciting finishes, high scoring affairs, upset after upset and wild story lines about which we never could have dreamed. Congrats on celebrating 150 years, college football. We can’t wait for the next 150.
Across the Board Sports