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MMQB - Novel Opponents

The joy of “new”

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

With the Army-Navy game done, the dust has settled on the 2022 regular season. Now we get into bowl season, and for the first time in a few years I’m excited for it.

Part of it surely has to do with the fact that it’s the Rose Bowl, the Granddaddy of Them All, the O.G., etc. This will mark just the fifth time the Lions have played in the Rose Bowl which seems low to me, but then I think back on it and realize that, yeah, they just don’t get there very often. So for sure, just the bowl itself is exciting.

But I also think part of it has to do with the fact that Penn State and Utah have never played before. We’ve watched Utah have success from an interested-but-otherwise-unimpacted point of view way across the country. Never really considering that their narrow 21-17 win over unranked Washington State, or their 20-17 loss to Oregon would have much of an impact on what we were doing in our eastern region bubble.

Which is, I guess, what bowl season is all about. Take a team that, but for one September Saturday, played exclusively midwest and east coast teams, and a) send them all the way to the SoCal coast, and b) make them play a team from the heart of the Rockies, and you have cross-mojination on a continental scale.

It’s just fun, and it’s why I’m excited about USC and UCLA joining the fray in 2024. Things can, unfortunately, get stale in college football, whether it’s always playing teams from the same general region, or the same few teams always making the playoffs. Change is good, in my opinion, and we could use more of it.

Here’s to a month of prepping for a novel opponent, and here’s to the next Penn State Rose Bowl being as exciting as the last!