The College Football Playoff is finally among us after another roller-coaster college football season. Not only did we have the usual chaos, but NIL started to have its first impact on the landscape. Teams are starting to even out slowly, but surely, as this year an increase in upsets led to a different playoff. For the first time ever, the Big 10 has two teams represented in the top 4. We have seen the SEC do this before, but the Southeastern conference was not up to its normal strength this year. The conference runner-up (LSU) fell all the way to 17 after losing to Georgia. Really not dissing the lack of power in the SEC, rather than suggesting the conference was more balanced leading to a one-team selection this year. But enough about the SEC let’s talk CFP.
#1 Georgia vs #4 Ohio State
I really don’t see the hype behind this matchup at all. I am unsure why this seems to be the favorable matchup between the two on tap today. Ohio State got murdered by Michigan and the game was never in their control. The Wolverines dominated them, and I firmly believe it exposed the issues we have seen from OSU all year. While there is always the excuse of having that “one game”, the Buckeyes should have come into this game with way more firepower than they did. It is the biggest game on their schedule, so not sure if that argument could be made here. The positives are that they have a good offense behind CJ Stroud, and their defense usually plays better than how they did. There is also going to be a lot of fight in this team considering their last game played was a blowout vs the Wolverines. On the other side, Georgia is sitting nice and pretty atop the rankings once again going for the two peat. While the Bulldogs have been dominant all year, they have had their scares as well. The game against Missouri and the highly anticipated matchup against Tennessee show there are ways to beat this team. Although that starts with stopping Stetson Bennett and co, which quite frankly I don’t see happening. Ohio State’s ideal path is to outscore the Bulldogs, which is simply not the way to beat this team. The Georiga defense has shown up time and time again to help give their offense a way out of close games, and OSU will look to change that.
#2 Michigan vs #3 TCU
Now, this is the game I am really waiting to see between the two. Can the underdog Frogs come up with a big win against the Wolverines in Arizona? The Wolverines have played some great football this year, and besides a close call with Illinois, they have looked unstoppable. Similarly to Georgia, the way TCU finds themselves winning this game is by shutting down JJ McCarthy and the offense. They escaped the Fighting Illini only scoring 19 points, that is their closest game of the year and it is not very close. The Wolverines have been quite good on defense and that is going to pose another challenge to TCU. The Frogs have played some great offense this year leading to their QB, Max Duggan, being in the Heisman race. That is going to be challenged today behind a good Michigan defense. The running backs on both teams are also the biggest questions in this game. If both offenses can establish the run we could see a potential shootout between both sides. Kendre Miller and Donovan Edwards could be the difference for both sides in the game today. If they get going, the offense is able to open up dramatically. This is especially important for the Wolverines as in the blowout vs OSU Edwards had 216 yards. Stopping him will open the game wide open.
Fiesta Bowl: #2 Michigan vs #3 TCU
The scariest thing for TCU fans is that they can’t rely on their defense to hold Michigan. TCU will score in this game, but they will not be able to break through as much as Edwards and McCarthy. The only way the Frogs win is if their defense is able to step up big-time. I know the Michigan defense will be ready giving more freedom for the Wolverine offense to roll. Michigan 35 TCU 24 -Mr. Stromboli
We all know who America wants to win: The Horned Frogs. TCU has done exceptionally well at thriving in the tough moments, and it has been their defense that helped keep them in tough games. They’ve created turnovers, gotten crucial stops late in games, and have been able to put high-powered offenses to sleep. I think Michigan, however, is just too good with the run game. It’s Donovan Edwards’ chance to show the world what he’s all about. But, one thing the Wolverines can’t do is get off to a slow start as they did in the Big 10 Championship against Purdue. TCU will take big advantage of that. I like the Wolverines here, 31-23. -Dr. Cash
The big-time games will go down to the big-time players, and this Fiesta Bowl will rest on how well the quarterback plays. TCU will be relying on Max Duggan and star receiver Quentin Johnson to spark the offense, while Michigan will look to establish the run game early and build their entire offense around it. My personal predictions for this game fall toward Michigan as they should be able to take control of the trenches and really control the tempo of this team, even if TCU is able to break off a few big plays. Michigan 24 TCU 17 -Prubz
While Ohio State will come out hungry, they will not be able to keep up with the Georgia offense. The Dawg’s defense is exceptional and if you can not beat the Michigan defense, don’t expect to beat the Georgia defense. Georgia will start hot and keep Ohio State behind them in a home game in Atlanta. Georgia 38 Ohio State 21 -Mr. Stromboli
It’s a lucky situation for the Buckeyes, but I feel that they are playing especially to prove that they deserved the final spot in the CFP. Georgia is strong on both offense and defense, but with a quarterback like C.J. Stroud, I think the Bulldogs will find it tough to hold up. For me, it comes down to who’s going to make that extra play. Georgia’s offense just hasn’t sold it for me. I like the upset here, Ohio State 35-30 Georgia. – Dr. Cash
For the entirely different circumstances that these teams are in, this game has so much on the line. Georgia is trying to win back-to-back titles and establish themselves as the next college dynasty, while Ohio State looks to find some of the Urban Myer glory of the past. The tipping factor in this game that pushes me towards Georgia is the shutdown ability of their defense and the slumps we have seen C.J Stroud and this OSU offense fall into when they play elite defenses such as Michigan. Georgia 20 Ohio State 10 -Prubz
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