Jeff Dantzler’s Top 15

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Jeff Dantzler’s Top 15

Photo: Rob Saye

The highlight of the bowl season was New Year’s Eve, when two of the three greatest semifinal games of the College Football Playoff era were played. The top of the SEC showed its dominance on the biggest stages, highlighted by Georgia’s history-making run to a second straight national championship. The three most talented teams seemed to be Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State. But TCU beat Michigan, which beat Ohio State. There were some great head to head battles amongst the top teams this season.





1. Georgia – The Bulldogs are the first team in the CFP era to capture back-to-back national championships. The 65-7 blowout of TCU in the National Championship Game is one of the most dominant performances on such a stage in the history of sport.

2. Tennessee – It was a tremendous season for Tennessee, the Volunteers best since 2001. The wins over Florida, LSU, Alabama and Clemson will long be remembered by the Tennessee faithful. Georgia dominated the Vols, the L at South Carolina baffling.

3. Alabama – The Crimson Tide played in five games determined by six or fewer points and went 3-2 in those to finish 11-2. Bryce Young had another tremendous season at quarterback. The Sugar Bowl performance against Kansas State was lights out.





4.TCU – Granted it was a bad ending, but this was a tremendous season for TCU. The longest of longshots with a first year head coach, the Horned Frogs had a perfect regular season, had a Heisman Trophy finalist and beat Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal.

5. Michigan – The Wolverines beat Ohio State for a second straight season, went 12-0 and then won the Big Championship Game. Then came disaster against TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. Missed opportunities, turnovers and self inflicted wounds cost Michigan dearly.

6. Ohio State – The Buckeyes came up just short against Georgia 42-41 in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl semifinal. It’s one of the greatest games ever. The Buckeyes were tremendously talented, but lost their last two games of the season.

7. Washington – The Huskies, with one of the top histories of any west coast program, had a terrific year, finishing 11-2 with a 27-20 win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl. Head Coach Kalen DeBoer did an excellent job, and quarterback Michael Penix had a strong year.

8. Penn State – The Nittany Lions posted an 11-2 record, falling to Michigan and Ohio State. The highlight wins came at Auburn and then in the Rose Bowl, where Penn State beat PAC-12 champion Utah 35-21.

9. Tulane – The Green Wave had their best season of the 21st century, and it ended in style. They beat Central Florida in the American Championship Game and then had an epic comeback to beat Southern Cal 46-45 in the Cotton Bowl to finish 12-2.

10. Florida State – The Seminoles bookended their regular season with victories over LSU and Florida. Mike Norvell kept the momentum going in the postseason, as Florida State beat Oklahoma 35-32 in the Cheez-it Bowl.

11. Utah – The Utes won a second straight PAC-12 Championship, derailing Southern Cal’s playoff hopes in the title game. For a second consecutive season, the Utes came up short in the Rose Bowl, losing to Penn State 35-21 in Pasadena.

12. Southern Cal – Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams had an enormous first season impact for the Trojans. But the campaign did not end well. USC lost the PAC-12 title game by a big number, then, after Williams won the Heisman, the Trojans fell to Tulane in Dallas.

13. LSU – The Fightin’ Tigers are almost always ready to play in their bowl game. After losing to Texas A&M and then Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, LSU blew away Purdue 63-7 in Orlando to finish 10-4 in Brian Kelly’s first year.

14. Clemson – The Tigers had their hearts ripped out in the regular season finale, falling to South Carolina. Clemson rebounded to beat North Carolina to win the ACC for the seventh time in eight seasons. The Tigers lost to Tennessee 31-14 in the Orange Bowl.

15. Oregon – After losing to Georgia 49-3 in Dan Lanning’s Ducks debut, then won eight in a row. Oregon lost heartbreakers to Washington and Oregon State, but rallied to defeat North Carolina 28-27 in the Holiday Bowl to finish 10-3.





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