Saturday, Dec. 31 is when the 2022 College Football Playoff semifinals are set to begin, with Michigan and TCU squaring off in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona at 4 p.m. and then defending champion Georgia facing Ohio State in prime-time at 8 p.m. in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the same building where the Dawgs won this year’s SEC title. In this year’s College Football Playoff semifinals, who advances to the national championship in Los Angeles at the Rams’ and Chargers’ SoFi Stadium on January 9?
(2) TCU vs. (3) Michigan- Fiesta Bowl, 4 p.m., State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
How Michigan Can Knock off TCU in the College Football Playoff Semifinals
Michigan has gone 13-0 for a reason. It all comes down, however, to the simplicity of their offensive attack. Run the ball, have the defense do its job, and repeat those two steps for the entire 60 minutes. Even though the Wolverines have a bit of trouble firing things up in the first half, which even then in their case isn’t bad, the floodgates explode open in the 2nd half.
You remember that one viral kid that said they had us in the first half? That’s what most teams think about Michigan in the first 30 minutes of regulation. The opponents are in control over the maize and blue. But then Michigan busts things open in the following half-hour and runs away with the entire thing like they could’ve done in the first half.
Now, TCU’s run defense is fine, but it lost to Kansas State when it gave up 205 rushing yards in the Big 12 Championship, and it needed a miraculous late comeback plus a late kick to get by Baylor despite allowing 232 yards on the ground. Also, the Horned Frog defense hasn’t faced anything like this, and it certainly hasn’t faced an O line this good. The Frogs could be in serious trouble here with those red flags.
And if you want further evidence that TCU might be screwed, Michigan has totaled only 7 turnovers the whole season. You heard that right. 7. That’s unheard of by most teams. On top of that, the D also doesn’t commit penalties, they don’t make a ton of big mistakes consistently or not, and they’re as methodical in what they do as any team over the last several years.
Why TCU Can Continue to Prove its Haters Wrong in the College Football Playoff Semifinals
TCU will stretch the field a bit. The weapons are there to keep pressing the Michigan defense. Sure, the Horned Frog lines can’t and probably won’t hold up against what Michigan does, but Max Duggan can hit the deep shot, WR Quentin Johnson might just be the best player in this game – highly debatable, of course – and Kendra Miller is a tough, explosive back who was good for at least one touchdown in every game and over six yards per carry.
However, to truly contend with Michigan, a team must convert on your third-down chances and keep that O line on the other side from taking over. Two teams TCU faced this season nearly knocked off the Frogs using those techniques, and TCU itself is one of only 5 teams in the country to allow 100 rushing yards per game. TCU’s run game was only held to less than 150 yards in a game twice, and both were because of the lack of need for it when other parts of the offense did their job for them.
So what will happen with TCU? Well, if you’re a Frogs fan, I am the bearer of bad news. TCU will be great to start, everyone will go crazy that the upset is coming, and then 2022 Michigan will go 2022 Michigan. They’ll blow things open in the 3rd quarter and then keep their foot on the gas the rest of the way. TCU’s Cinderella story will finally close up for this season and we’ll probably wait until at least 2023 for other big Frogs runs like the one this year.
Prediction: Michigan 37, TCU 14
(1) Georgia vs. (4) Ohio State, 8 p.m.- Peach Bowl, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Why Georgia will Head Back to The Title Game After the College Football Playoff Semifinals
One word is needed as to why Georgia is going to head to LA for their 2nd straight national championship game appearance. Defense.
Once again, the Dawgs have the nation’s top team defense for the 2nd year in a row no less, heading into this contest. Not only that, they’ll once again be playing in front of the Atlanta crowd that saw them win the 2022 SEC title over LSU early this month. I would expect MBS to be about 95% red and black come kickoff.
However, the biggest reason why Georgia may win is that Ohio State’s running back corps is shot. Injuries have plagued Ohio State’s running backroom this season. Star sophomore Treveyon Henderson is out with a foot injury, and junior Miyan Williams, who leads the team in rushing this season, hasn’t practiced recently due to illness. Freshman Dallan Hayden has taken the reps for him, but filling in for the team’s leading rusher is no easy task. Other than those options, the Buckeyes just have a pair of walk-ons in Cayden Saunders and Chase Brecht.
Another factor potentially dooming the Buckeyes is Georgia’s strong run game. With Kenny McIntosh and Co. having the Dawgs ranked 17th in the nation in yards per game with 207 total, Ohio State most likely won’t be able to counter due to their nearly empty reserve. Two key players’ attributes could also crack the Buckeyes in star DT Jalen Carter’s blocking ability and QB Stetson Bennett’s Mahomes-esque legs. But at the end of the day, if you want a simple reason why UGA will pull this off, it’s just another night in the Benz in the ATL, which, a friendly reminder, isn’t even a 2-hour bus ride away from campus.
Why Ohio State Upsets the Dawgs in the College Football Playoff Semifinals
The duo of QB CJ Stroud and WR Marvin Harrison Jr. makes up Ohio State’s primary offensive attack, and one can expect these two to potentially put on a clinic against Georgia this Saturday night. Even without fellow star WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the son of the legendary Marvin Harrison Sr. can still expect a big game for himself as long as he gets along with his quarterback. He’ll likely be seeing a lot of a huge matchup against potential 2023 first-round pick Kelee Ringo for Georgia.
MHJ is the type of talent that has proven he can’t be shut down entirely and he’ll break two big plays to get into the end zone at least twice against the vaunted Dawgs defense. Or will he?
Now, in terms of talent, most people would agree that Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, likely one of the Top 10 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, is a head above former walk-on Stetson Bennett IV for Georgia. However, Stroud often does things Bennett hasn’t done almost all year- commit turnovers. Say if that Bennett were to throw 3 TDs and maybe run an additional one for 6, Stroud could have 3 picks in the same game. He is facing the country’s #1 defense after all. It couldn’t be entirely impossible.
Bennett also has an advantage in making something out of nothing, and that’s due to sloppy opposing secondaries in most cases. Stroud hasn’t done that as much, mainly because he hasn’t faced any like that this season. But even with all of Ohio State’s effort, Georgia will roll to LA with a comfortable win in Atlanta.