NCAAF Notebook: Zappe sets new NCAA record in Boca Raton Bowl
Bowl season is underway and as always, it is immensely bittersweet. On the one hand, the games have been exciting, interesting, and everything else that goes into live college football. On the other hand, the end of the season is fast approaching.
As we relish the final serving of the multi-course feast that is the college football season, here are some top stories from around the country.
Zappe breaks Burrow's record
In the Boca Raton Bowl this past week, we enjoyed a shootout between Appalachian State and Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers pulled away with their superior offense to win by double digits, and in the process we got to enjoy quarterback Bailey Zappe setting the NCAA record for touchdowns in a season.
Zappe needed five touchdowns to break Joe Burrow’s record and did so with flying colors, passing for 422 yards and six touchdowns to finish his 2021 season with 62 touchdowns.
Zappe’s favorite target was fellow transfer Jerreth Sterns, who hauled in 13 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. The gunslinging quarterback will now presumably make his run at the NFL, where he isn’t projected as a high draft pick but will be given some sort of opportunity thanks to the incredible production he had as a collegiate quarterback.
Transfer portal shifts college landscape
As team rosters continue to shift with recruits, transfers, and coaching changes, the transfer portal will continue to remain the most active single location across the college football landscape. This past week, some high-profile announcements took place that are sure to affect multiple Power Five schools in 2022 and beyond.
Kedon Slovis was 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and has elected to depart USC to transfer to Pittsburgh. Jack Miller was a former 4-star recruit at Ohio State that has elected to take his talents to Florida. And Adrian Martinez, the four-year starter at Nebraska, has gone south to join the Kansas State Wildcats, where his skill set is sure to fit a Wildcats offense that loves to run the quarterback.
QB transfers so far— CFB Home (@CFBHome) December 22, 2021
Adrian Martinez to Kansas State
Bo Nix to Oregon
Kedon Slovis to Pitt
Quinn Ewers to Texas
Spencer Rattler to South Carolina
Dillon Gabriel to UCLA
Max Johnson to Texas A&M
Charlie Brewer to Liberty
All of these moves are very likely to result in a changed dynamic for these teams in 2022 as they get the inside track at a starting position. Twenty years ago, it would have been lunacy to even propose the thought of a four-year Nebraska starting quarterback transferring to Kansas State to become a one-year starter, but that is the world we live in now and it will make things interesting year in and year out.
Texas A&M out with COVID-19
In an unfortunate turn of events, the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is spreading quickly throughout many areas of the country.
Alabama staffers have caught the virus and are quarantining. Georgia backup quarterback JT Daniels has come down with it as well.
The College Football Playoff committee has ruled that forfeiture due to an outbreak is the new operating procedure.
And for Texas A&M, transfers and COVID-19 have forced the Aggies to withdraw from the Gator Bowl due to insufficient roster numbers. The Gator Bowl is a traditionally strong bowl and was set to feature Wake Forest against the Aggies, but with Texas A&M’s withdrawal, the bowl committee is urgently searching for a replacement team that could take their spot.
Because of a COVID outbreak, Texas A&M is unable to play in the Gator Bowl, sources tell @SINow. Aggies don’t have enough available players.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) December 22, 2021
Gator is searching for a replacement bowl team, sources say, but the only way that's possible is if another bowl is impacted.
We all hope that COVID-19 does not continue to wreak havoc on lives and plans, but the next few weeks are sure to have an additional element of stress, as teams prepare for their games and try to avoid catching a disease that could make their preparation all for naught.
Game of the Week
The final four playoff is now fast approaching but the week between Christmas and New Year’s features a wonderfully full schedule of appetizers. The game of the week that I’m most interested in watching is Houston vs. Auburn, which is set to take place on Tuesday, Dec. 28.
Tue, December 28 2021, 5:00 PM
Houston has been strong in the American Athletic Conference this year, going 11-2 and losing to Cincinnati in its conference championship. Auburn is an SEC blue blood that was just 6-6.
As the debate rages on between the competitiveness of the teams outside the main conferences, this contest should make for an interesting case study that will be used as ammunition for the winning side for days, and maybe years to come.
Auburn is favored by two points, and with an exclusive time slot at noon ET on Tuesday, the Birmingham Bowl is what college football mania is all about.