College Football Playoff Predictions
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
It is playoff time once again! The College Football Playoff begins on New Year’s Eve.
Here are my previews and predictions.
The first semifinal on New Year’s Eve has No. 2 Michigan facing off with No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Wolverines are making their second consecutive appearance after having an unbeaten regular season that included a 45-23 drubbing of rival Ohio State.
The Horned Frogs are making their first trip, despite losing to Kansas State in overtime of the Big 12 title game.
TCU is the only team in the history of the CFP to lose a game and not drop in the rankings.
Michigan will look to physically dominate the line of scrimmage, and TCU will try to throw the football led by Heisman runner-up Max Duggan to put up points.
Michigan will have the more talented roster. TCU comes into the contest more battle tested with a series of come from behind wins during the regular season.
Most of the experts believe that Michigan should beat TCU rather easily. Could Michigan be looking past TCU to a UGA or OSU rematch? Time will tell.
TCU must stop Donovan Edwards. Michigan’s sophomore running back had to step in due to the injured Blake Corum. He has totaled more than 400 yards rushing in the past two games, and he has become the Wolverines biggest offensive threat.
If the game is close, TCU could pull the upset. Illinois provided the blueprint that teams must follow to beat Michigan. Michigan struggled in the 19-17 win other them. Match the physicality and force FGs in the redzone.
Prediction: Michigan 28-17.
The second showdown has No. 1 Georgia facing No. 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl. The defending champion Bulldogs will have the advantage of playing in the friendly confines of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
UGA is already 2-0 this season in the Benz with blowouts over Oregon and LSU in the SEC title game.
The UGA defense will have to contend with Buckeye’s quarterback C.J. Stroud and some talented wide receivers.
Ohio State was a dominant team all season and have been defined going into this playoff game by one bad second half of football against Michigan.
On the negative side for the Buckeyes, they are banged up. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba will not play, and RB TreVeyon Henderson is having foot surgery and will miss the game. RB Miyan Williams has been banged up as well.
Offensively, C.J. Stroud should still be a threat against a Georgia defense that allowed more than 500 yards passing against LSU. That had to drive Kirby Smart insane.
OSU’s skill people are on par with the offensive skill players that Tennessee had in 2022.
Defensively, OSU got bullied against Michigan and if that repeats in the Peach Bowl then they will not win the contest.
On the Georgia side, the defense must put together a Tennessee like performance in this contest.
Jalen Carter will be the best player on the field for UGA, and he must wreak havoc on the OSU offensive line. Kelee Ringo must play well against Marvin Harrison Jr. Finally, the UGA defense must tackle well.
Offensively, UGA must be balanced and not be stubborn and just run the ball. Stetson Bennett should have a fantastic game.
The UGA OL is better than the OSU DL and that must play out in this contest. Brock Bowers is a match-up nightmare for Ohio State, and the WR group will be as healthy as they have been since the season opener.
This is the best semi-final match-up to date in the College Football Playoff. This should be a fantastic football game.
Prediction: UGA 38-35.