Aaron Rodgers Weighs in on College Football Players Opting out of Bowl Games
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers seems to have opinions on everything, from vaccines to UFOs and everything in between. That’s why it should come as no surprise that the controversial QB has an opinion on college football players opting out of bowl games and that he shared that opinion with his good buddy Pat McAfee.
Several top 2022 NFL Draft prospects opted out of their school’s Bowl Game
The 2021-22 college football bowl season doesn’t have the luster of bowl seasons past. One reason is the high number of opt-outs from high-end, NFL prospect-quality talent.
Ever since Stanford’s Christian McCaffery opted out of the Sun Bowl in 2016, more and more top prospects are choosing to skip their final college game. These soon-to-be NFL players want to protect themselves and their draft stock.
This season, a glut of top-tier talent stayed home (or at least on the sideline) instead of playing in their team’s bowl game.
Of the players on ESPN’s Todd McShay’s top 50 list of 2022 NFL Draft prospects, 14 opted out of their school’s bowl game. This includes a contender for the No. 1 overall pick, Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, and the top QB in the draft, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett.
The No. 2-ranked QB, Ole Miss Matt Corral, did play in the Sugar Bowl and nearly suffered a draft-redefining injury, which, thankfully, turned out to be just a severely sprained ankle.
Other top 50 prospects who opted-out this bowl season include:
- Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton (ranked No. 5)
- Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson (9)
- Mississippi State OL Charles Cross (10)
- Purdue DE George Karlaftis (19)
- Ohio State WR Chris Olave (22)
- Penn State WR Jahan Dotson (24)
- Arkansas WR Treylon Burks (29)
- Ohio State OL Nicholas Petit-Frere (32)
- Penn State LB Brandon Smith (41)
- Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III (48)
- Nevada QB Carson Strong (49)
With opt-outs for the 2021-22 bowl season becoming a polarizing topic, obviously, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had to share his thoughts.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers shared his thoughts on college football players opting out of bowl games
In 2022, you can’t officially close the book on a football debate until Green Bay Packers QB/Professional troll Aaron Rodgers weighs in.
On his regular appearance on the Pat McAfee Show — after saying, “I don’t necessarily need to add an opinion” — Rodgers added his opinion to the debate surrounding college football players opting out of bowl games.
Rodgers discussed his own last-year-of-college bowl experience while at Cal. In true vindictive Rodgers fashion, he talked about how his Bears didn’t make the Rose Bowl that season thanks to “some real nefarious voting situations.”
Rodgers added that his team “went out there and got our butts kicked by Texas Tech,” but he said there was never a question of whether or not he would play. However, he understands why today’s college football athletes face a tougher decision:
There’s a lot of pride that’s associated with college football. But now there’s a lot of money involved in it too. And with the NIL and agents getting involved, there’s a lot more cooks in the kitchen who are telling you whether to play or not to play. … You see a lot of kids not play. I think it’s those kids’ decision. There’s a lot to be said about the pride of playing, but it’s a different ballgame in 2021, 2022 than it was back in 2004.Aaron Rodgers on college football players opting out of bowl games
While Rodgers didn’t specifically touch on whether he thinks the national championship game is less OK to opt-out of than other bowls, it sounds like he would think that’s a bit different. Players playing in this year’s game seem to think so too.
There are plenty of top draft prospects on the field for Alabama vs. Georgia in the national championship game
While winning an average bowl game doesn’t hold the cache it used to for college football players, winning a national championship is still important.
That’s why, in the national championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide vs. the Georgia Bulldogs, you’ll see plenty of top-round draft talent on the field who will be joining Aaron Rodgers in the NFL in a few months.
On the Alabama side, it’s no surprise that they have highly-regarded NFL talent all over the field. However, in what constitutes a “down” year for Alabama first-rounders, the team only features two players who are guaranteed to go on the first night. They are OT Evan Neal (the best offensive lineman in the draft) and WR Jameson Williams (the top-ranked pass-catcher).
While ‘Bama won’t have the same big first night as it did in 2021 (with six first-round selections), day two will be chock full of Crimson Tide players. Todd McShay has six additional Alabama players in his top 100:
- WR John Metchie III (ranked No. 42)
- S John Battle (52)
- DT Phidarian Mathis (59)
- LB Christian Harris (62)
- CB Josh Jobe (68)
- TE Jahleel Billingsley (89)
On the other sideline, Georgia — especially on defense — should have big nights on April 28th and 28th as well. The team actually has one more top 100 prospects than Alabama this year, although none are as highly regarded as Neal or Williams. McShay ranks the top Bulldog prospects:
- LB Nakobe Dean (ranked No. 8)
- DE Travon Walker (14)
- DT Jordan Davis (26)
- CB Derion Kendrick (44)
- S Lewis Cline (61)
- DT Deonte Wyatt (70)
- OG Justin Schaffer (72)
- WR George Pickens (79)
- OG Jamaree Salyer (81)
The talent on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the national championship game will be immense. And, with the big trophy is on the line, all the best players will show up.