Dutch Lion’s 2022 College Football Spectacular
Welcome back to football season! As long-time readers may remember, our annual season preview is inspired by Sports Illustrated magazine, who published their annual “College & Pro Football Spectacular” for five consecutive years from 1982-1986. As usual, our Preview will cover preseason predictions, All-America teams, a Heisman Trophy forecast, and a trip down memory lane. We’re having a hard time with our Crystal Ball this year, but I think you’ll be pleased with our pick for the ’22 National Champion.
This year’s Crystal Ball is showing THE Ohio State Buckeyes as your 2022 National Champion!
Dutch Lion’s Top 25
- Ohio State Buckeyes – The Bucks have been knocking on the door since their last Championship in 2014. This year could be their year. With 14 returning starters from an 11-2 Rose Bowl Champion squad, the Buckeyes will roll to the CFP this year. Quarterback C.J. Stroud is one of the best in the country and OSU always has an amazing set of receivers to throw the ball to. With Running Back TreVeyon Henderson toting the rock (1248 rushing yards, 15 TD’s) and nabbing passes out of the backfield (27 catches for 312 yards and 4 TD’s), the Buckeyes will be hard to stop. Head Coach Ryan Day is one of the best in the business. Can he get even more production out of this offense? They averaged 45.7 ppg last year after topping out at 46.9 ppg in their almost-magical 2019 campaign led by Justin Fields. After a down year in 2020 (only 41.0 ppg), they endured by starting an inexperienced freshman QB named Stroud. What will he do this season after beginning his career with a 44-6 TD/INT ratio, 4435 passing yards, and 71.9 completion percentage? Over on the defense, I expect Edge Rushers Zach Harrison, Jack Sawyer, and JT Tuimoloau to dominate opposing offensive tackles. Watch out for running backs turned linebackers Steele Chambers and Chip Trayanum. Safety Ronnie Hickman led the Bucks in tackles last year with 100. He also had a sack and two interceptions. OSU has a new DC in Jim Knowles so we expect them to improve on their 22.8 ppg allowed. Even the Kicker is dominant. Noah Ruggles hit 20-21 FG’s and all 74 extra points last year. Sure, the schedule is difficult, but nothing they can’t handle. It starts this Saturday with Notre Dame. The biggest difference between this team and past OSU teams will be the chip on their shoulder from losing both “The Game” and the B1G championship to their hated rivals Michigan in ’21. That will be the motivation that helps Ohio State win it all in 2022. THE Ohio State Buckeyes will be your 2022 National Champions.
- Alabama Crimson Tide – Many thought it was over-the-top cocky when HC Nick Saban claimed that his Crimson Tide were “rebuilding” last year as they went all the way to the National Championship game before losing to Georgia 33-18. Saban might be kind of a jerk, but he might be right too. Going into last year the Tide lost their QB, top RB, Heisman Trophy winning WR, and their Offensive Coordinator. Given those heavy losses, Alabama did indeed drop from 48.5 ppg to 39.9 ppg. Nevertheless, the Tide rolled to another 13-2 season to become SEC Champions. They lost at Texas A&M (38-41), and almost lost at Florida (31-29), LSU (20-14), Arkansas (42-35), and at Auburn (24-22 in 4 OT). Alabama will be improved and will likely make the CFP once again.
- Clemson Tigers – Clemson had a rough year in 2021. They “only” went 10-3 with a Cheez-It Bowl victory over Iowa State. They “lost” the ACC Championship in which they had a six year stranglehold. Now the defending Champ is Pitt, and like Ohio State listed above, Clemson will have that chip on their shoulders this year. With 9 offensive starters returning, along with 6 defensive starters back, we expect the Tigers to return to the top of the mountain in the ACC.
- Georgia Bulldogs – I was pushing for Georgia to win a National Championship for years. Prior to the 2017 season, I ecstatically proclaimed they would win “at least one National Title over the next four years”. We were close, but didn’t quite win on that projection. The ’17 Georgia team was 13-2, losing in the Championship game to Alabama. The ’18 team was 11-3. The ’19 team was 12-2. In ’20, Georgia went 8-2. Finally in ’21, the ‘Dawgs went all the way, finishing 14-1 and avenging all those close losses to ‘Bama by beating down the Tide 33-18. So now what? After losing tons of talent to the NFL Draft, does Georgia fall back? Or are they here to stay? I think we better not underestimate HC Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs. They are still extremely talented and will benefit from an easier than normal schedule (their SEC West crossovers are Auburn and Mississippi St). Therefore, we think that Georgia’s “Heart of a Champion” won’t break so easily. Georgia has a good shot at repeating.
- Texas A&M Aggies – They’re getting close. If QB Haynes King progresses quickly, this team has a chance at the CFP. The defense is uber-talented. The running game is sound. Can the Aggies beat Alabama two years in a row? They get their chance on October 8.
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish – This Irish team is young at some key positions, but the talent and discipline in the program has been evolving for quite some time. As new HC Marcus Freeman takes over for “Southern Fried” Brian Kelly, I expect the Irish to only lose a couple of games, probably at Ohio St. and vs Clemson. A 10-2 regular season (11-2 last year) sounds about right. Of course, a new HC is always unpredictable. Maybe Notre Dame takes a step back this year. Naahhhh.
- Florida Gators – Another team with a new HC, the Florida Gators, look to surprise people in 2022. Billy Napier takes over the boys in the Swamp. Watch out for new superstar QB Anthony Richardson! This dude is like Cam Newton 2.0. He is 6-4 237 pounds and runs like a cheetah. He is so supremely talented that he’s already getting hype for next year’s NFL Draft despite the fact he’s only started one game so far. Florida has a better team that last year’s 6-7 record suggests. Outside of losing to Georgia in the annual Cocktail Party, I think the Gators might go undefeated. I know, right? That sounds crazy but I’m serious about the Gators.
- Oklahoma Sooners – Another team with a new Head Coach, the Sooners hired Brent Venables away from Clemson to be the face of their program after Lincoln Riley left for the West Coast. Venables has a fantastic defensive scheme, so we expect Oklahoma’s defense to improve. However, their offense will likely take a hit. Can Oklahoma get by Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and the rest of the Big 12? OU’s schedule features old rival Nebraska and other road games such as at TCU, at Iowa State, at West Virginia, and at Texas Tech. That sounds kind of tough for a team with a new coach. Will Oklahoma take a step back? Yeeahhh.
- Utah Utes – Outside of the opening week loss to Florida, we don’t see the Utes losing many games. In fact, Utah might win all of their games. The hardest tests for QB Cameron Rising, RB Tavion Thomas, and TE Brant Kuithe will likely be at Oregon and home vs USC. Given that the Utes destroyed the Ducks not once but twice last year suggests they could go 11-1. However, the Pac-12 has some good opponents that will pop up like the Oregon State Beavers or the Stanford Cardinal. Overall, we expect another solid Rose Bowl type season from Utah.
- Michigan Wolverines – The defending B1G Champions will have a hard time repeating as conference champs but we don’t think Michigan will go quietly. Even though we think Ohio State will get revenge on Thanksgiving weekend, the Wolverines are getting better as a program and could win all of their games. Even likelier, Michigan will lose at least once to someone like Penn State, at Iowa, Michigan State, or Nebraska in addition to the Buckeyes. Coach Jim Harbaugh is really building a program though.
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- USC Trojans
- Wake Forest Demon Deacons
- N.C. State Wolfpack
- Baylor Bears
- Wisconsin Badgers
- Penn St. Nittany Lions
- Texas Longhorns
- Tennessee Volunteers
- Miami Hurricanes
- Oklahoma St. Cowboys
- Houston Cougars
- Florida St. Seminoles
- BYU Cougars
- Oregon St. Beavers
Dutch Lion’s All-America Team
QB C.J. Stroud/Ohio St./SO/6-3 218/PS#13/Jersey #7
RB TreVeyon Henderson/Ohio St./SO/5-10 215/PS#1/Jersey #32
RB Braelon Allen/Wisconsin/SO/6-2 240/PS#108/Jersey #0
AP Deuce Vaughn/Kansas St./SO/5-6 176/PS#108/Jersey #22
WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba/Ohio St./SO/6-0 198/PS#8/Jersey #11
WR Kayshon Boutte/LSU/SO/6-0 205/PS#11/Jersey #1 – Boutte has only started 11 games so far over his two seasons but has 1244 receiving yards and 14 TD’s. What if he stays healthy for LSU’s entire schedule this year? What if LSU gets more consistent quarterback play? The sky’s the limit!
TE Brock Bowers/Georgia/SO/6-4 230/PS#4/Jersey #19
OT Jaxson Kirkland/Washington/SR/6-7 310/PS#106/Jersey #51
OT Peter Skoronski/Northwestern/SO/6-4 315/PS#20/Jersey #77
OG Clark Barrington/BYU/JR/6-6 302/PS#385/Jersey #56
OG Warren Ericson/Georgia/JR/6-4 305/PS#27/Jersey #50
C Jarrett Patterson/Notre Dame/JR/6-5 307/PS#148/Jersey #55
DE Xavier Thomas/Clemson/SR/6-2 255/PS#1/Jersey #3
DE Isaiah Foskey/Notre Dame/SO/6-5 260/PS#22/Jersey #7
DT Jalen Carter/Georgia/SO/6-3 310/PS#15/Jersey #88
DT Bryan Bresee/Clemson/RSFR/6-5 300/PS#1/Jersey #11
OLB Trent Simpson/Clemson/SO/6-3 230/PS#10/Jersey #22
ILB Noah Sewell/Oregon/SO/6-3 250/PS#8/Jersey #1
ILB Owen Pappoe/Auburn/JR/6-1 225/PS#2/Jersey #0
OLB Will Anderson/Alabama/JR/6-4 243/PS#11/Jersey #31 – A possible #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft
CB Kelee Ringo/Georgia/SO/6-2 205/PS#1/Jersey #5
CB Joey Porter/Penn St./SO/6-2 192/PS#65/Jersey #9 – Oozing with talent, just like his dad, former Steelers All-Pro Joey Porter
S Jalen Catalon/Arkansas/SO/5-10 199/PS#39/Jersey #1
S Christopher Smith/Georgia/SR/5-11 190/PS#58/Jersey #29
K Noah Ruggles/Ohio St./SR/6-2 190/PS#28/Jersey #95
P Brian Buschini/Nebraska/SO/6-0 215/PS#99/Jersey #95
Dutch Lion’s Favorite Players
- Garrett Nelson/LB/DE/Nebraska/JR/6-3 245/PS#83/Jersey #44 – Everything about this dude is awesome. He’s a farmer from western Nebraska. He’s from Scottsbluff. His dad was a Huskers wrestler. When Garrett was a little boy he wanted to be a firefighter. He worked his butt off to become a better athlete, both as a wrestler and a football player. He wants to win for the state of Nebraska. He wants to win for Coach Frost. Watch out for #44. He’s gonna have a fantastic year!
- Aidan “AOC” O’Connell/QB/Purdue/SR/6-3 210/Jersey #16 – I know AOC from his days at Stevenson HS. Aidan has five siblings and I’ve met most of them over the years. This kid is super nice. I could always tell he would be successful, but somehow he was lightly recruited. So he walked on at Purdue. Now he’s the Boilers main guy after starting out as a 6th string walk-on. So happy and proud of Aidan. Good luck and have a great season my man! (except when you play Nebraska on October 15).
- Tank Bigsby/RB/Auburn/SO/6-0 213/PS#7/Jersey #4 – Start with his name… Tank. Well, actually it’s Cartavious. Remember Auburn’s great RB from a couple decades ago? Cadillac Williams. His real first name was Carnell. He wore #24. Tank wears #4. They’re similar players too. Life is funny. This is one of those examples.
- Brock Bowers/TE/Georgia/SO/6-4 230/PS#4/Jersey #19
- Josh Downs/WR/North Carolina/SO/5-11 171/PS#41/Jersey #11
- Cam Rising/QB/Utah/JR/6-2 220/PS#15/Jersey #7
- Adrian Martinez/QB/Kansas St./SR/6-2 220/PS#17/Jersey #9
- Trey Palmer/WR/Nebraska/JR/6-1 190/PS#19/Jersey #3
- Trent Simpson/OLB/Clemson/SO/6-3 230/PS#10/Jersey #22
- Anthony Grant/RB/Nebraska/JR/5-11 210/PS#12JC/Jersey #10
Dutch Lion’s ’22 Heisman Finalists
- C.J. Stroud/QB/Ohio St.
- Anthony Richardson/QB/Florida – Incredible talent! Can he, and Coach Napier, harness that talent and turn it into victories for the Gators?
- Braelon Allen/RB/Wisconsin
- Bryce Young/QB/Alabama
- Clayton Tune/QB/Houston
Turn Back the Clock
While writing this year’s Preview, I was reminiscing about former players that I’ve loved over the years. From Robert Edwards/RB/Georgia to Yale Van Dyne/WR/Michigan, our list of favorite players has been decades in the making. Here’s our Top 10, and then a list of Others Receiving Votes.
- Trev Alberts/LB/Nebraska 1990-1993/#34 – A relentless pass rusher, Trev coined the “Refuse to Lose” mantra. Trev is still “the Man”. His 15 sacks in 1993 remain a school record, along with this 29.5 career sacks.
- Mike Brown/S/Nebraska 1996-1999/#21 – He got a lot out of his career as a smallish safety. In my opinion, the best overall safety I’ve ever watched. When the Bears drafted him in 2000, it was heaven. He went on to a Pro Bowl type career with Chicago. * I got his autograph in training camp one summer when I held up his official #30 Bears jersey.
- Tim Dwight/WR/Iowa 1994-1997/#6 – One of the most fun players to watch over the last three decades, Dwight did it all. He was a ball-carrier, a receiver, a punt returner, a kickoff returner, and he could throw huge blocks too. I met Tim at the 1997 Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon. Love this guy!
- Marcus Mariota/QB/Oregon 2012-2014/#8 – A silent assassin who let his play do the talking, who came out of Hawaii to dominate for three years at Oregon, Mariota won the Heisman Trophy in 2014. His junior season was an all-timer, throwing for 42 TD’s, 4454 passing yards, with only 4 interceptions, and also rushing for 770 yards and 15 scores while leading the Ducks all the way to the National Championship game, where they lost to Ohio State.
- Cam Newton/QB/Auburn 2010/#2 – Unlike Mariota who was the quiet type, Cameron Newton burst onto the scene at Auburn in 2010. Cam not only let his play get people hyped up but he also did plenty of talking too. Newton’s loud wardrobe made him an icon for several years last decade as he led the Carolina Panthers all the way to the Super Bowl in his 2015 MVP season. Cam’s 2010 Heisman season was off the charts with 30 passing TD’s and 20 rushing TD’s to earn Auburn their coveted National Championship. Cam’s 2010 season was indeed a season for the ages.
- Joey “Heisman” Harrington/QB/Oregon 1998-2001/#3 – Joey Harrington was one of the first stars who had a Heisman campaign promoted by Oregon all the way out on the East Coast. Memorably, Harrington’s mural in New York City helped him finish 4th in the 2001 Heisman balloting after a monster senior season in which Joey led the Ducks to an 11-1 record and AP runner-up final ranking.
- Ndamukong Suh/DT/Nebraska 2005-2009/#93 – The most physically dominant player I’ve ever seen
- Zac Kustok/QB/Northwestern 1999-2001/#10 – Zac was a special player for Northwestern. He epitomizes the word “moxie”. Don’t forget about his sister Sarah, as she’s a star broadcaster. The Kustoks have overcome severe adversity and should be commended for their success.
- David Pollack/DE/Georgia 2002-2004/#47 – He played like his hair was on fire for the early 2000’s Bulldogs. Talk about relentless effort? Pollack is your man.
- Brady Quinn/QB/Notre Dame 2003-2006/#10 – I always believed in Brady when nobody else did. His career skyrocketed in 2005 when Charlie Weis became Notre Dame’s head coach and QB guru. Quinn made it look easy in both ’05 and ’06, which turned out to be the highlight of Weis’s ND coaching career. When I think of Brady Quinn I think of one word… Stud!
- (*Because 10 isn’t enough) Brian Bosworth/LB/Oklahoma 1984-1986/#44 – “The Boz” was more than a wild personality. He was a great passionate player too.
Others (alphabetized by school)
Auburn: Rudi Johnson/RB/Auburn 2000/#32, Carnell “Cadillac” Williams/RB/Auburn 2001-2004/#24
Florida: HC Steve Spurrier 1990-2001, Chris Doering/WR/Florida 1992-1995/#28, Ben Hanks/LB/Florida 1992-1994/#11, James Bates/LB/1994-1996/#44, Danny Wuerffel/QB/1993-1996/#7, Jacquez Green/WR/Florida 1995-1997/#5, Jabar Gaffney/WR/Florida 2000-2001/#10, Alex Brown/DE/Florida 1999-2001/#13, Tim Tebow/QB/2006-2009/#15
Florida State: Anquan Boldin/WR/QB/Florida St. 1999-2002/#4, Kirk Carruthers/LB/Florida St. 1988-1991/#46, Marvin “Shade Tree” Jones/LB/Florida St. 1990-1992/#55, Amp Lee/RB/Florida St. 1989-1991/#42
Georgia: Robert Edwards/RB/Georgia 1995-1997/#47, Terrence “T” Edwards/WR/Georgia 1997-2002/#8, Brandon Tolbert/LB/Georgia 1994-1997/#28, Zamir “Zeus” White/RB/Georgia 2019-2021/#3, Herschel Walker/RB/Georgia 1980-1982/#34, Hines Ward/WR/Georgia 1994-1997/#19, Sony Michel/RB/Georgia 2014-2017/#1
Illinois: Ty Douthard/RB/Illinois 1993-1996/#7, Tyrone Washington/S/Illinois, Johnny Johnson/QB/Illinois 1992-1995/#13, Simeon Rice/DE/Illinois 1992-1995/#97, Dana Howard/LB/Illinois 1991-1994/#40, John Holocek/LB/Illinois 1991-1994/#52, Kevin Hardy/LB/Illinois/1992-1995/#51, Ken Dilger/TE/Illinois1992-1995/#87, Kurt Kittner/QB/Illinois 1998-2001/#15
Iowa: Ronnie Harmon/RB/Iowa 1982-1985/#31
Kansas State: Jarrod Cooper/S/Kansas St. 1997-2000/#40, Quincy Morgan/WR/Kansas St. 1999-2000/#5
Kentucky: Rafael “Radio” Little/RB/Kentucky 2004-2007/#22, Chad Scott/RB/Kentucky 2000-2001/#4
LSU: Kevin Faulk/RB/LSU/#3, Michael Clayton/WR/2001-2003/#14
Michigan: Yale Van Dyne/WR/Michigan/1989-1991/#34, Chris Perry/RB/Michigan 2000-2003/#23
N.C. State: Philip Rivers/QB/N.C. State 2000-2003/#17, T.A. McLendon/RB/N.C. State 2002-2004/#44
Nebraska: HC Tom Osborne 1993-1997, Ahman Green/RB/Nebraska 1995-1997/#30, Steve Taylor/QB/Nebraska 1985-1988/#9, Keith “End Zone” Jones/RB/Nebraska, Scott Frost/QB/Nebraska 1996-1997/#7, Eric Crouch/QB/Nebraska 1998-2001/#7, Grant Wistrom/DE/Nebraska 1994-1997/#98, Broderick “Sandman” Thomas/LB/Nebraska 1985-1988/#89, Danny Noonan/DT/Nebraska/#95, “The We-Backs” Calvin Jones/RB/Nebraska 1991-1993/#44 & Derek Brown/RB/Nebraska 1990-1992/#21, The Makovicka’s at FB, Jeff Nebraska 1992-1995/#22, and Joel, Nebraska 1997-1998/#45, Jordan Westerkamp/WR/Nebraska 2013-2016/#1, Demorrio “DeMo” Williams/LB/Nebraska 2003/#7, Lavonte David/LB/Nebraska 2010-2011/#4, Mike Croel/LB/Nebraska 1987-1990/#88, Marlon “Busta” Lucky/RB/Nebraska 2005-2008/#20 & #5
Notre Dame: HC Lou Holtz 1986-1996, Chris Zorich/DT/Notre Dame 1989-1990/#50, Michael “Pink” Floyd/WR/Notre Dame 2008-2011/#3, Raghib “Rocket” Ismail/Notre Dame 1988-1990/#25, Mark Green/RB/Notre Dame 1985-1988/#24, (and then his son Cameron Green/WR/TE/Northwestern), Tony Rice/QB/Notre Dame 1987-1989/#9
Ohio State: Chris Spielman/LB/Ohio St. 1985-1987/#36, Kirk Herbstreit/QB/Ohio St. 1989-1992/#4
Oklahoma: Malcolm “Machine Gun” Kelly/WR/Oklahoma 2005-2007/#4, DeMarco “Sir” Murray/RB/2007-2010/#7
Oklahoma State: Brandon Weeden/QB/Oklahoma St. 2010-2011/#3
Pitt: Tony Dorsett/RB/Pitt 1973-1976/#33
Texas Tech: Michael “Rocket Queen” Crabtree/WR/Texas Tech 2007-2008/#5
USC: Dwayne “Giraffe” Jarrett/WR/USC 2004-2006/#8, Ronald “RoJo” Jones/RB/USC 2015-2017/#25
Washington: Napoleon Kaufman/RB/Washington 1991-1994/#8, Tony Parrish/S/Washington 1994-1997/#9, Cody Pickett/QB/Washington 1999-2003/#3, Jake Locker/QB/Washington 2007-2010/#10, Chris Polk/RB/Washington 2009-2011/#1
Wisconsin: Jonathan Taylor/RB/Wisconsin 2017-2020/#23, Melvin Gordon/RB/Wisconsin 2011-2014/#25, Brooks Bollinger/QB/Wisconsin 1999-2002/#5
That’s it for our ’22 Spectacular. We hope you enjoyed the pageantry! Have a great season.