Every year it seems like college football season slips through our fingertips as if it almost didn’t exist. All the months of hype and excitement come down to twelve Saturdays. We often take those Saturdays for granted, but as we approach another bowl season, we must come to terms with what happened in the regular season.
Georgia reigned supreme as the Bulldogs dominated LSU in the SEC Championship. We learned a lot about the path of many programs and earned a better understanding of others. In some programs like Tennessee, a two-loss season that the program is back from depths of misery. While in Alabama, the Crimson Tide faithful have shifted in their uncomfortable seats as Alabama suffered two rival losses this season. You also had a rigged Heisman race where Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was left out of the finalist list because he was injured a few prior in a game with South Carolina.
So, let’s start with Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia came into the 2022 season having lost a lot of talent off the 2021 National Championship team. Yet, Georgia didn’t leave off from where it ended in 2021. Georgia finished the 2022 regular season undefeated, with an SEC Championship Trophy to add to the trophy case in Athens. With that came the talk that Georgia had replaced Alabama as the gold standard program. For some, that talk was a bit premature. Considering Georgia has won one National Championship in forty years and only two SEC Championships since Kirby Smart became the Head Coach at Georgia. Either way, Georgia is the top-ranked team in the country heading into the Playoffs and the favorite to win another National Championship.
Elsewhere, you had Alabama, who had one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory. Alabama missed the playoffs with two losses to LSU and Tennessee. When you watched this Alabama team this season, you got the feeling that this wasn’t your Alabama Crimson Tide Football team that many of us have grown accustomed to watching. Top to bottom, Alabama wasn’t a good football team this year, and now the Crimson Tide are heading to the Sugar Bowl to take on Kansas State. To earn a win over Kansas State, Alabama will need to want it and not sleepwalk into the matchup with the Wildcats.
High on Rocky Top, Tennessee had an unbelievable year as the Volunteers finished the season 10-2 with a bid to the Orange Bowl against Clemson. However, Tennessee was robbed of one award this season as Hendon Hooker was not selected to be a Heisman Trophy finalist despite being the best player in the country. Some have pointed out the factual evidence that leaving Hooker out of the Heisman finalist was a stunt pulled by some because he suffered a season-ending injury in the second to last game against South Carolina. With that in mind, Tennessee still had a season that will forever live in the folklore of Tennessee Football.