Georgia football-Jalen Carter-defense
Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) pressures Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) during the third quarter in a NCAA football game at TIAA Bank Field, Saturday, October 29, 2022, in Jacksonville, Florida. (Jason Getz /

Anthony Richardson-less Florida kicks off SEC bowl season with opt-outs galore; Georgia fully-loaded

ATHENS — The SEC portion of the bowl season will get off to an early and somewhat unfamiliar start this weekend.

The helmets and uniforms will say “Florida,” but the Gators won’t have the same bite without projected first-round quarterback Anthony Richardson under center.

Florida will also be missing a few other key players :

• All-American offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence

• Leading tackler Ventrell Miller

• No. 2 wide receiver Justin Shorter

Richardson chose not to roll the dice on the risk of injury in the Las Vegas Bowl at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and has opted out.

Most all of the players are dealing with bumps and bruises this time of year, but rather than push through, many are opting out.

“The feedback was really positive about maybe where he’s projected,” first-year Florida coach Billy Napier said.

“It’s one of those, you know, gray area decisions and I think Anthony sees an opportunity.”

Richardson is viewed as having a huge upside, needing only to get more reps and more experience.

But isn’t that what two more weeks of practice and participation in a bowl game against a Top 20 Oregon State team might provide?

You know, one last chance to play with teammates and represent the school that provided support and education?

Fact is, more players than ever are “opting out” of postseason games, and not just the non-playoff contests.

NFL Draft expert Todd McShay has reported he believes Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (hamstring) is healthy enough to play in the CFP Peach Bowl Semifinal.

That report has been refuted, but with Smith-Njigba a first-round talent, some might understand why he wouldn’t want to take the chance of losing generational money.

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl President and CEO Gary Stokan said steps need to be taken to protect players’ interests in postseason contests.

“I think there needs to be taken into consideration insurance of some kind to protect these kids because, when you get that first-round draft card now, you’re talking about generational money,” Stokan said, asked by DawgNation how bowl games can be proactive in ensuring top players compete in their games.

“I think either a relationship with the NFL or through the CFP or letting the colleges through the NCAA do something more insurance-wise to make sure these kids are protected and they do play in the playoff. I think it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration.”

The betting line on the game shifts from Oregon State by 4 to Oregon State by 10 without Richardson playing.

The pick: Oregon State 31, Florida 20

SEC bowl lineup with betting lines and notable opt-outs (per at time of publication:

Missouri vs. Wake Forest (-1.5), 6:30 p.m. Dec. 23, Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.)


• Dominic Lovett, WR (Transfer portal)

• Zach Lovett, LB (Transfer portal)

• DJ Jackson, DB (Transfer portal)

• Travion Ford, DL (Transfer portal)

• LJ Hewitt, DB (Transfer portal)

Wake Forest:

• None

Kansas vs. Arkansas, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 28, AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Memphis)


• Myles Slusher, DB (Transfer portal)

• Malik Hornsby, QB (Transfer portal)

• Chase Lowery, DB (Transfer portal)

• Drew Sanders, LB (Opt-out)

• Bumper Pool, LB (Opt-out)

• Jason Haselwood, WR (Opt-out)


• Steven McBride, WR (Transfer portal)

• Jarrett Paul, DB (Transfer portal)

Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech 9 p.m. Dec. 28, TaxAct Texas Bowl, (Houston)

Ole Miss:

• Demon Clowney, DE (Transfer portal)

• Luke Altmyer, QB (Transfer portal)

• Dannis Jackson, WR (Transfer portal)

Texas Tech:

Reggie Pearson Jr., DB (Transfer portal)

• Tavares Elston, DB (Transfer portal)

South Carolina vs. Notre Dame 3:30 p.m. Dec. 30, TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (Jacksonville)

South Carolina:

• MarShawn Lloyd, RB (Transfer portal)

• Zacch Pickens, DT (Opt-out)

• Jaheim Bell, TE (Transfer portal)

• RJ Roderick, DB (Transfer portal)

• Austin Stogner, TE (Transfer portal)

• Cam Smith, DB (Opt-out)

Notre Dame:

Isaiah Foskey, DE (Opt-out)

• Michael Mayer, TE (Opt-out)

• Drew Pyne, QB (Transfer portal)

• Jayden Bellamy, DB (Transfer portal)

• Jacob Lacey, DL (Transfer portal)

Clemson vs. Tennessee 8 p.m. Dec. 30, Capital One Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens)


• Jalin Hyatt, WR (Opt-out)

• Cedric Tillman, WR (Opt-out)

• Lyn-J Dixon, RB (Transfer portal)

• Nick Evers, QB (Transfer portal)

• Jimmy Calloway, WR (Transfer portal)


Myles Murphy, DE (Opt-out)

• DJ Uiagalelei, QB (Transfer portal)

• Decari Collins, WR (Transfer portal)

• Sergio Allen, LB (Transfer portal)

• Fred Davis II, DB (Transfer portal)

• EJ Williams, WR (Transfer portal)

• Kobe Pace, RB (Transfer portal)

• Vonta Bentley, LB (Transfer portal)

• Beaux Collins, WR (Injury)

Kentucky vs. Iowa, Noon Dec. 31, TransPerfect Music City Bowl (Nashville)


• Will Levis, QB (Opt-out)

• Chris Rodriguez, RB (Opt-out)

• Kavosiey Smoke, RB (Transfer portal)


• Keagan Johnson, WR (Transfer portal)

• Alex Padilla, QB (Transfer portal)

• Gavin Williams, RB (Transfer portal)

• Josh Volk, OL (Transfer portal)

• Arland Bruce IV, WR (Transfer portal)

• Spencer Petras, QB (Injury)

Alabama vs. Kansas State, Noon Dec. 31, Allstate Sugar Bowl, (New Orleans)


Aaron Anderson, WR (Transfer portal)

• Traeshon Holden, WR (Transfer portal)

• Christian Leary, WR (Transfer portal)

• JoJo Earle, WR (Transfer portal)

• Trey Sanders, RB (Transfer portal)

• Khyree Jackson, DB (Transfer portal)

• Amari Knight, OL (Transfer portal)

• Tommy Brockermeyer, OL (Transfer portal)

• Damieon George, OL (Transfer portal)

• Javion Cohen, G (Transfer portal)

• Braylen Ingraham, DL (Transfer portal)

Kansas State:

• None

Georgia vs. Ohio State, 8 p.m. Dec. 31, CFP Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, (Atlanta)

Ohio State

• TreVeyon Henderson, RB (Injury)

• Teradja Mitchell, LB (Transfer portal)

• Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR (Injury)


• None

Mississippi State vs. Illinois, Noon Jan. 2, ReliaQuest Bowl (Tampa)

Mississippi State

• Dillon Johnson, RB (Transfer portal)

• Rara Thomas, WR (Transfer portal)

• Ke’Travion Hargrove, RB (Transfer portal)


DD Snyder, RB (Transfer portal)

Purdue vs. LSU, 1 p.m. Jan. 2, Vrbo Citrus Bowl, (Orlando)


• Jay Ward, CB (Opt-out)

• Phillip Webb, LB (Transfer portal)


• Kobe Lewis, RB (Transfer portal)

NextOhio State a popular pick over Georgia, against the odds
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