The committee has spent countless hours discussing, teams have played numerous games and now, the College Football Playoff field is set. The field of four includes Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Ohio State, from the SEC, Big 10 and Big 12. Each team has had a unique path to the playoff and all are deserving of the chance to play for the trophy. Who will win it all? DC Sports discusses their predictions in this week’s roundtable…
Associate Sports Editor
Only one team in the field had the chance to challenge themselves against the UConn Huskies and it was the Wolverines. Michigan paid the Huskies almost two million dollars and beat them 59-0, an impressive feat against any bowl team. Junior running back Blake Corum had been fantastic all season, but unfortunately he’s out for the year with a knee injury. During their victory over Ohio State, the Wolverines showed character in filling the hole he left, having the best passing performance all year. They’re mentally tough and playing like the best team in the country, even without Corum. Michigan is also the only team in the field with a win over another team in the playoffs, which says a lot about their ceiling. With all their pieces, this is as good a chance as they’ve ever had to bring home the hardware for the first time in 25 years.
Ever since they beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys, I have been rooting for the TCU Horned Frogs to make the college football playoffs. While disappointed when they lost to the Kansas State Wildcats in the Big XII title game, I was excited when they earned the No. 3 seed. After getting robbed in 2014, this selection is long overdue. Not only do I believe in the Hypnotoad, I believe in quarterback Max Duggan, who shined in the title game. So far, the Heisman Trophy finalist has thrown for 3,321 yards and 30 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Even if he does not win the Heisman, he is TCU’s best quarterback since Andy Dalton. This will be TCU’s first appearance in the CFP, and I hope they can run the table on their first try like LSU did three years ago. Their road to Los Angeles is not easy as the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines stand in the way, but they pose as big of a threat as anyone else in this penultimate four-team tournament.
Everyone’s obvious pick would be Georgia to win their second-straight National Championship. However, Ohio State has been in this position before, as the No. 4 seed when they won the title in the first year of the College Football Playof era. Ohio State wasn’t supposed to be in the CFP, but USC’s loss moved the Buckeyes to the final spot in the playoff. Facing Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is no easy task, but I don’t think Ryan Day would let this opportunity go to waste. Ohio State will be without star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, as he has opted out of this season to prepare for the NFL Draft after being injured for the majority of the 2022 season. The only true flaw I found in their loss to Michigan on Nov. 26 was their defensive backs, who were taken apart by Michigan’s receivers. C.J. Stroud will be throwing the ball to Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, who have all been key players on the team, especially with Egbuka as a return specialist. Ohio State has the talent to get to Inglewood and bring another national championship trophy back to Columbus.
The No.1 ranked Bulldogs return to the College Football Playoff with Heisman finalist Stetson Bennett, the second-best scoring defense in the country, and a 14 game win streak looking to repeat as national champions. At this point, it is fair to say that the torch has officially been passed from the Crimson Tide to the Georgia Bulldogs as college football’s top dog. The defending champs are 31-1 in their last 32 games with just two of their games being decided by two scores. There are just so many ways that Georgia can put teams away in the CFP, beginning with their star-studded defense that surrendered just 12.8 points per game this season. The Bulldogs defensive unit is led by projected first round picks Kelee Ringo and Jalen Carter along with star cornerback Christopher Smith. This is a defensive unit that kept their opponents under 20 points in 9 of 12 games this year and surrendered only 77 rush yards per game, good for best in the country. On the other side of the ball, the Georgia offense is led by Heisman finalist quarterback Stetson Bennett, All-American tight end Brock Bowers and star running back Kenny McIntosh. The Bulldogs offensive unit finished with 39.2 points per game (11th in the country) and scored 40 or more in 7 of 12 games this season. Offensively, they can beat you with the dynamic arm talent of Bennett and dominate the line of scrimmage with their three-headed monster in the back field. Competing with a team that scores almost 40 points per game while only allowing 12 is next to impossible. Head coach Kirby Smart has this team playing at a historically dominant level and there is not one team in the country who can stop them. For the second year in a row and third time in program history, the national championship will be coming back to Athens, Georgia.