The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will feature No. 10 Michigan State taking on No. 12 Pittsburgh on Dec. 30 in Atlanta, but two superstar players won’t be part of the game.
On Thursday afternoon, Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker announced that he’ll skip the Peach Bowl to begin training for the 2022 NFL Draft.
— 𝒦ℰ𝒩𝒩ℰ𝒯ℋ 𝒲𝒜ℒ𝒦ℰℛ ℐℐℐ🤍 (@Kenneth_Walker9) December 16, 2021
And on Thursday night, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett announced that he’ll do the same.
— Kenny Pickett (@kennypickett10) December 17, 2021
So, that immediately makes the Peach Bowl significantly less interesting.
Walker — who transferred from Wake Forest in January — won the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and the Doak Walker Award this season after posting ridiculous numbers for the Spartans: 263 carries for 1,636 yards (6.2 AVG) and 18 touchdowns (he also had a receiving touchdown).
Pickett won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was the ACC Player of the Year after throwing for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, and seven interceptions this season. He’s also viewed as the potential first quarterback taken in the draft.
The Michigan State-Pitt Peach Bowl will not feature either of the two players that finished in the top six of the Heisman voting.
Would have been a hell of a first-round playoff game with those two players.
Not so interesting as a bowl.
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) December 17, 2021
While this news won’t go over well with many college football fans, these players have to think about their futures, and they may feel their draft stock has nowhere to go but down — like, with an injury in a gladiator sport — by playing in the bowl game.