Welcome to the last SDS Mailbag of 2022!

Next week will be the first Friday of 2023, and by then, we’ll know who is playing for the national championship on Jan. 9. This week, I’ll make my semifinals predictions. I’ll also answer a few other questions, including one about the best day for the CFP semifinals.

I hope y’all have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and hope everyone enjoys all the great bowl games!

Here are your questions for this week’s Mailbag:


Who do you think wins the CFP semifinals and advances to the national championship?

I’m going to stick with the chalk picks, setting up a rematch of last year’s semifinal blowout. In the first game, I like Michigan to take down TCU.

The Horned Frogs have flirted with disaster all year and, to their credit, managed to end up on the winning side of every game except the Big 12 Championship Game. But Michigan is a different beast than Kansas State.

The Wolverines go up big early and TCU makes a game of it late, as it always does, but ultimately comes up short.

I think the Peach Bowl between Georgia and Ohio State will be an all-time great game. Ohio State’s receivers, even without Jaxon Smith-Njigba, are a nightmare. We saw what LSU did throwing the ball all over Georgia’s secondary.

But the Bulldogs have a solid offense, too. After seeing what Michigan did to Ohio State’s defense, Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers, the deep Georgia backfield and a competent group of pass catchers should have a field day.

I expect a lot of scoring, but Georgia ultimately advances to the title game, where Michigan will be hungry for a shot at revenge.


Are there any SEC guys you could see rising up NFL Draft boards as a sleeper in the next few weeks?

I love watching wide receivers and back before the 2020 NFL Draft, I was begging the Green Bay Packers to trade up and draft Justin Jefferson out of LSU. Instead, they drafted Jordan Love at No. 26. Yikes.

This year, I don’t hear people talking enough about Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman. Injuries limited him to 6 games in 2022, in which he recorded 37 catches, 417 yards and 3 touchdowns.

But I still remember last year, when he had 64 grabs for 1,084 yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s what he’s capable of when he’s healthy. And he should be healthy in 2023.

Entering 2022, he was getting some first-round draft buzz, but that has calmed down a bit. If he’s healthy and able to put on great performances at Tennessee’s Pro Day and the NFL Combine, he should rise up draft boards once again.

He’s got all the makings of a longtime NFL wide receiver, so whatever team gets him, even if it’s on Day 2 of the draft, will be very happy.


If you could only choose 1 former SEC player currently in the league to build an NFL team around, who would you pick?

Based on my last answer, you’d probably expect me to say Justin Jefferson here. While I would absolutely love to build a team around Jefferson, a receiver can only elevate his quarterback so much. At some point, your quarterback needs to have some level of talent.

If Jefferson had Malik Willis throwing to him this year, he wouldn’t be anywhere close to the all-time single-season receiving yards record. That’s not a knock on Willis, who is a rookie and has time to grow into an NFL-caliber quarterback. It’s just a fact.

I’d also consider a dominant defensive player like Myles Garrett or Quinnen Williams, but this has become an offensive league.

Thus the answer to this question is Joe Burrow. The former LSU star led the Bengals to a spot in the Super Bowl last year and has them back in the mix this season. You start with him and build the rest of the roster around his strengths.

Burrow can do a lot of things on the football field, and when you pair him with some talented guys in the receiving corps and in the backfield, he can elevate everyone’s skills.


Is having the CFP semifinals on New Year’s Eve really a good idea, especially with the second game kicking off at 8 p.m. Eastern time?

Admittedly, if you’re in the Eastern Time Zone, it probably isn’t the best thing. I can’t imagine it’s great for ratings, either. Yes, a lot of people will be watching, but if they’re watching at New Year’s Eve parties, it won’t count as many screens.

Georgia and Ohio State fans probably don’t care if they’re ringing in 2023 watching a great game, but I think the semifinals should be on New Year’s Day (or Jan. 2 when New Year’s Day is on an NFL Sunday).

If the games are going to be on New Year’s Eve, the least we could do is start the second one at 6 p.m. Eastern. College football games take 4 hours or more these days, especially big ones, so that people have time to hit the town and celebrate.

We’ll see if ESPN executives read this Mailbag and decide they agree with me. Fingers crossed!

Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at Adam.Spencer@XLMedia.com.