The college football game is upon us. After months of speculation about who would end up in the College Football Final Four — and another month of trying to figure out what would happen once the actual teams were announced — we’d reached the point where it was all that was left for the teams to take the field and end the debate themselves.
But that doesn’t mean we’ll stop trying to figure it out before the Fiesta Bowl kicks off this Saturday afternoon from Glendale, Arizona, with the action still underway as New Year’s Eve kicks off with the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Will Georgia become the first repeat champion in the College Football Playoff era (and the first program to do so since Alabama in 2011-12)? Will Michigan put last year’s loss to Georgia behind them and finish the job this season? What about TCU? It is the only one of the four teams to debut in the CFP. Will you continue the Cinderella story? Then there is Ohio. Will the Buckeyes take advantage of the second chance they are given and bounce back from their second straight loss to Michigan by dropping the defending champion?
We’ll find out soon enough, 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) UCLA
Featured game | Michigan Wolverines vs. TCU Horned Frogs
mushroom: While there’s no question that TCU earned its playoff spot, I don’t hide my belief that the Horned Frogs are the “weakest” of the four teams on the field, at least from a power rating standpoint. TCU has played the most single-scoring games this season out of four. In fact, the Frogs’ six one-result games have had more matches than the other three teams combined (three). Ohio State did not play in any. This is a team that has found itself in a lot of close matches and has done the smart things good teams do to win them.
This isn’t a jab at TCU, but it’s a concern about what might happen when the Toads enter elite competition, and that’s what they’ll face once they get that far. While TCU has played a stronger overall schedule than Michigan, what it does to the competition it faces is often not enough. Michigan may have played poorly in no-conference, but it also beat Penn State and Ohio State by 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 playing style and philosophy, and we’ve seen how much trouble the Wildcats have caused the Frogs this season. cluck? Michigan is much more talented. I can’t trust TCU to keep up with this. Pick: Michigan -7.5
sum: selection here is cut and dried. If you expect Michigan to win, you probably will because it will hinder TCU’s offensive attack, often resulting in a double. If you think TCU will win, the Frogs will probably score at least 30 points and make it more like a shootout. This means that he is likely to hit more. The Wolverines are the better team and the team that wins the most. Also, with this being a playoff game, expect Michigan to get conservative if it builds a lead and runs the clock like it has with many of its opponents once it takes control of a game this season. Choose: Less than 58.5
2022 Peach Bowl: (1) Georgia vs. (4) Ohio State
Featured game | Georgia Bulldogs vs Ohio State Buckeyes
mushroom: The 2022 Georgia Bulldogs aren’t as good as last year’s national title-winning team, but that doesn’t mean they’re still the best team in the country. They pose a particular match problem for ohio. The Buckeyes don’t lose games or struggle often, but when they do, there’s a theme. Last season, Oregon had a physical defensive front that caused problems for the Ohio State offense, put pressure on CJ Stroud, and forced him off script. Forced to improvise, Stroud struggles. Michigan did the same thing late in the season and again this year.
Well, there aren’t many defensive fronts in the country as good or better than Georgia, and the Bulldogs defense is going to put pressure on Stroud. The Georgia defense ranks only 41st nationally in pressure rating, but that’s a byproduct of not having to heat up opponents as often this year. In the big games, Georgia has stepped things up a notch, knowing what it takes to slow down Ohio State’s offense. We’ll likely see Georgia blitz more often than she has, which puts Stroud in uncomfortable situations. On the other side of the ball, we’ve seen teams like Penn State, Michigan, and Maryland cause trouble for Ohio State’s secondary. While Georgia is not the strongest passing attacker in the country, it is better than most passing attacks and could cause problems. Pick: Georgia -6.5
sum: Will he really pick the best and the lowest in both games? It sure is! This is the same situation as the Fiesta Bowl. If you think Georgia wins, it will be a low-scoring affair that sees the Bulldogs stifle the Buckeyes’ powerful offense. If you think Ohio State is coming off an upset, it’s likely because of what Alabama did to Georgia’s defense during the 2021 season. After all, Ohio State is one of the few teams with the talent of a quarterback and wide receiver to take advantage of potential weaknesses on the stage. High school in Georgia. The problem is, we’ve seen what happens to Ohio State when they run into teams that can hit them in the mouth. Select: Less than 62
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