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College Football Playoff Predictions, Odds: Expert Picks for the Georgia v TCU National Championship Game

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There’s only one game left on the docket before the 2022 college football season comes to an end, and it’s the center of attention Monday night at SoFi Stadium. It is there that the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs, the defending national champions, will face the Cinderella story of the 2022 season, the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs. 3 TCU Horned Frogs, in the College Football Playoff National Championship

Georgia, playing for its third national title in the last six seasons, should be here. He was one of the preseason favorites to beat the SEC, make it to the CFP, and possibly capture the national title. TCU should not be here. The Frogs went 5-7 last year and fired the winningest coach in program history, Gary Patterson. Pre-season expectations weren’t high for this team either; The Big 12 media picked the Frogs to finish seventh under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes, who crossed into rival SMU’s Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to take the job.

Instead, TCU came into the Big 12 Championship Game with an unbeaten record and were drafted to the CFP despite narrowly losing to Kansas State in that matchup. TCU then found itself as more than a touchdown underdog for the No. 2 Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl Semifinals, but shut out the Wolverines 51-45 anyway to retain their Cinderella story. Now the Frogs have one more chance to shock the world.

Will TCU become the biggest surprise champion of the modern era? Will Georgia restore order and become the first program to win back-to-back national titles since Alabama did in 2010 and 2011? We’ll find out for sure on Monday night. For now, all we can do is speculate, so let’s speculate like crazy.

National Championship: (1) Georgia vs. (3) TCU

featured game | Georgia Bulldogs vs TCU Horned Frogs

To spread: I can not lie. It’s scary to bet against TCU. There were several times this season where I said to myself, “This is it. This is the moment when this magical ride comes to an end. This is when we have to eliminate the frogs.” I got it wrong every time, and believe me, I’m not one of the many people looking for reasons to write off TCU all season long. I was high with the Frogs going into the season, and my impression of them only got better after their hot start.

but no one saw it is coming. TCU spoiling the Big 12? Right. But that’s as far as you’re going to get, right? After a while I told myself the Frogs could win the conference but lose a game or two along the way. So now I’m a little shaken. From a pure power rating standpoint, Georgia is the smartest play in anything less than two touchdowns, but TCU has defied the odds all season. I’m not ready to choose against them right now.

Still, there are concerns about the TCU matchup, and much of that will depend on the situation of Georgia tight end Darnell Washington. While NFL scouts salivate over what Washington could become as a passing receiver based on his size and athleticism, what he already is is a tremendous blocker in the running game. He is essentially an extra tackle on Georgia’s fast offense. The 3-3-5 defense deployed by TCU is more susceptible against teams that run two tight end sets. If Georgia has Washington and Brock Bowers available on Monday, it will be a complex problem for Joe Gillespie and TCU’s defense to resolve. Michigan struggled after losing Luke Schoonmaker early in the Fiesta Bowl as they were already shorthanded at tight end.

On the other hand, this Georgia defense is nowhere near as dominant as last year’s team. This is especially true when it comes to fetching the QB. TCU’s Max Duggan is often his own worst enemy when receiving sacks, but we’ve seen Georgia’s minor struggle against good pass attacks this season. TCU may not have the overall depth of Ohio State at receiver, but Quentin Johnston, Derius Davis and Taye Barber are a strong trio. I don’t know if TCU’s defense gets enough stops to win the game, but offensively the Frogs should be able to pick up enough points to keep things respectable to a minimum. Choice: TCU +12.5

Total: For years we’ve been told, “defense wins championships.” This isn’t true – at least not to the level we’ve been led to believe. These days, having great defense helps set you apart from the pack, but having an elite offense is what wins championships. Just look at the national champions of the CFP era. While last year’s Georgia team was known for its world-class defense, it also ranked near or at the top of every significant stat on offense. Alabama, Clemson and LSU also won it all with teams full of first-round picks at quarterback and wide receiver. In 2014, Ohio State was reduced to its third QB, but even Cardale Jones ended up in the NFL after being surrounded by NFL talent on that offense.

Let’s also look at championship games during the playoff era. Those eight title games averaged 64.5 points and only two finished below 60 total points. One was Alabama’s 26-23 overtime win over Georgia in 2018, and the other was Georgia’s 33-18 win over Alabama last season. Yes, Georgia played in both games, but if Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams hadn’t been injured last year, that game could have been a higher scoring affair.

If this game is a blowout, it will likely end up short. We’ve seen Georgia jump to big leads and sit on the ball several times, but like I said, I don’t think this is going to be a blast. It might not be as closely contested as the semifinals, but I don’t think either team is winning with less than 31 points, which makes the over attractive. Choice: above 62.5

Who will win Georgia vs. TCU, and which side of the spread hits well over 50% of the time in simulations? Visit SportsLine to find out – all from a proven computer model that has returned nearly $2,500 in profit over the past six seasons.