2021-22 college football bowl season largely a success despite COVID-19 complications and players opting out


BUCKHANNON — While the 2021-22 college football regular season has ended, teams find themselves in the middle of the three-and-a-half-week holiday extravaganza that is bowl season. So far, this bowl season has been a relative success considering continued concerns surrounding how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and implications of star players opting out of less prestigious bowl games to prepare for their future NFL careers. 

Currently, only 5 bowl games have been cancelled due to COVID-related issues, with other games seeing their matchups be modified due to other teams being forced to cancel. On the other hand, players opting out of bowl games isn’t a new challenge, with the practice being on the rise among top draft prospects of the last decade. This season, WVU was impacted by a player opting out of the bowl game, as one of the most decorated players in recent memory. Senior running back Leddie Brown chose to forego his final college game in favor of getting a head start on preparing for the NFL Draft this summer.

Fortunately, there is still plenty of college football action left before the official end of this season, culminating with the upcoming New Year’s Six and College Football Playoff games.

#1 Alabama, #2 Michigan, #3 Georgia, and #4 Cincinnati are set to vie for the sport’s ultimate prize in the College Football Playoffs. The night of New Year’s Eve, the SEC champion #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) is scheduled to take on the undefeated AAC champion #4 Cincinnati Bearcats (13-0) in the Cotton Bowl at 3:30 p.m. immediately followed by Big 10 champion #2 Michigan Wolverines (12-1) and SEC runner-up #3 Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) at 7:30 p.m. The winners of these two opening round games will move on to play each other for the national title.

Below are the remaining bowl games scheduled, complete with dates, times, and network affiliations. All information regarding these bowl games is subject to change, especially as the new “omicron” variant of COVID-19 continues to sow uncertainty in the world of sports. 

Remaining 2021-22 college football bowl schedule

1/10- National-Championship

Indianapolis 8 p.m. (ESPN)- Semifinal winners (TBD)

12/31- Cotton Bowl-Semifinal

Arlington, Tex. 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)- (1) Alabama (12-1) vs. (4) Cincinnati (13-0)

12/31- Orange Bowl-Semifinal

Miami Gardens, Fla. 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)- (2) Michigan (12-1) vs. (3) Georgia (12-1)

1/1-Fiesta Bowl

Glendale, Ariz. 1 p.m. (ESPN)- Notre Dame (11-1) vs. Oklahoma State (11-2)

1/1-Rose Bowl

Pasadena, Calif. 5 p.m. (ESPN)- Ohio State (10-2) vs. Utah (10-3)

1/1-Sugar Bowl

New Orleans, La. 8:45 p.m. (ESPN)- Ole Miss (10-2) vs. Baylor (11-2)

1/4-Texas Bowl

Houston 9 p.m. (ESPN)- Kansas State (7-5) vs. LSU (6-6)                          

1/1-Citrus Bowl

Orlando, Fla. 1 p.m. (ABC)- Iowa (10-3) vs. Kentucky (9-3)

1/1-Outback Bowl

Tampa, Fla. Noon (ESPN2)- Penn State (7-5) vs. Arkansas (8-4)

12/31-Arizona Bowl

Tucson, Ariz. 4:30 p.m. (Barstool)- Central Michigan vs. Boise State (CANCELLED)

12/31-Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

El Paso, Tex. 12:30 p.m. (CBS)- Central Michigan (8-4) vs. Washington State (7-5)

12/31-TaxSlayer

Jacksonville, Fla. 11 a.m. (ESPN)- Wake Forest (10-3) vs. Rutgers (5-7)

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