The College Football Playoff is approaching. After months of speculation about who will make it to the final four of college football, and after a month of trying to figure out what will happen after the real teams are announced, we’ve come to the point where the only thing left to do is: the teams take the field and settle the debate themselves.
But that doesn’t mean we’ll stop trying to figure this out before the action resumes as the Fiesta Bowl kicks off Saturday afternoon in Glendale, Arizona, and New Orleans’ Sugar Bowl kicks off New Orleans’ New Year’s Eve.
Will Georgia be the first repeat champion of the College Football Playoff era (and the first program to do so since Alabama in 2011-12)? Will Michigan beat the big loss to Georgia last year and finish the job this season? What about TCU? They are just one of four teams to make their debut in CFP. Will Cinderella continue her story? And then there is the State of Ohio. Can the Buckeyes take their second chance and beat the defending champions by returning to Michigan after a second loss in a row?
We’ll find out soon, but for now let’s try to figure out what happens in the CFP semifinals on Saturday night.
2022 Fiesta Bowl: (2) Michigan vs. (3) TCU
Featured Game | Michigan Wolverines vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Spread: There’s no doubt that TCU has taken their place in the playoffs, and I make no secret of my belief that the Horned Frogs are the “weakest” of the four teams on the court, at least in terms of strength. TCU has played the most single-scoring games out of four games this season. In fact, the Frogs’ six single-scoring games were more than the other three teams combined (three). Ohio State did not play in any of them. This is a team that finds itself in many close games and does the smart things that good teams do to win them.
It’s not a blow to the TCU, but it’s a concern about what might happen when the Frogs face elite competition, and that’s what you’ll be up against when you get to this point. While TCU runs a stronger program overall than Michigan, what you do to the competition you face is often not seen as enough. Michigan may have played a poor non-conference roster, but it beat Penn State and Ohio State with a combined 46 points. You could argue that TCU hasn’t played anyone as well as those teams this season. Michigan is built similarly to Kansas State in terms of playstyle and philosophy, and we’ve seen how much trouble the Wildcats have caused the Frogs this season. Difference? Michigan is much more talented. I can’t trust TCU to keep up with this. Pick: Michigan -7.5
Total: The choice here is to cut and dry. If you expect Michigan to win, they probably will because that will block TCU’s offensive attack and often lead to an under. If you think TCU will win, the Frogs will probably need to score at least 30 points and turn that into a skirmish. This means the excess is more likely to hit. The Wolverines are the better team and win much more often. Also, since this is a playoff game, expect Michigan to become conservative if he builds a lead and runs the time, as he did to many of their rivals when they took control of a game this season. Choice: Below 58.5
2022 Peach Bowl: (1) Georgia – (4) State of Ohio
Featured Game | Georgia Bulldogs vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Spread: The 2022 Georgia Bulldogs aren’t as good as last year’s national championship-winning team, but that doesn’t mean they’re still not the best team in the country. They pose a particular matching problem for the State of Ohio. The Buckeyes don’t lose matches or fight often, but there is a theme when they lose. Last season, Oregon had a physical defensive front that caused trouble on Ohio State’s offense, putting pressure on CJ Stroud and forcing him to go off-script. Stroud struggles when he’s forced to improvise. Michigan did the same thing late in the season and again this year.
There is no defensive front in the country as good or better as Georgia and the Bulldogs defense will put pressure on Stroud. Georgia’s defense ranks only 41st nationally in print rate, but that’s a byproduct of not having to piss off opponents as often this year. In big games, Georgia took things a step further, and this Ohio State knows what it takes to slow the offense. We’ll probably see the Georgia attack that put Stroud in uncomfortable situations more often than before. On the other side of the ball, we’ve seen teams like Penn State, Michigan, and Maryland cause problems for Ohio State’s secondary. While Georgia isn’t the strongest pass-through attack in the country, it’s better than many think and can cause problems. Election: Georgia -6.5
Total: Will he really pick favorites and unders for both games? He definitely is! This is the same case with the Fiesta Bowl. If you think Georgia wins, there will be a lower scoring event where the Bulldogs choke off a strong Buckeyes offense. If you think Ohio State took the upset, it’s probably because Alabama did what they did to the Georgia defense in the 2021 season. After all, Ohio State is one of the few teams with quarterback and wide receiver talent to capitalize on potential weaknesses in the Georgia secondary game. The problem is, we’ve seen what happens to Ohio State when they face teams that can punch them in the mouth. Selection: Under 62
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