TCU Horned Frogs
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.
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
A 7-5 UGA team coming off a disturbing loss to Georgia Tech accepted a bid to go play in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis for the first since 1987 where Georgia on a late John Kasey FG beat Arkansas 20-17.
This season has been a huge disappointment and that is putting it mildly. Home losses to Tennessee, Vandy, and GT. The annual what now seems to be a loss in Jacksonville to Florida, and a blowout loss to a 5-7 Ole Miss team that did not make a bowl.
Kirby Smart is putting together a monster recruiting class and needs these bowl practices to get some of these young Dawgs some experience going into 2017. Word is now circulating that Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Lorenzo Carter will be returning for 2017 which could be huge for UGA in 2017.
Liberty Bowl keys for UGA:
Slow down the TCU offense. The TCU offense certainly has firepower, ranking 27th in the FBS in total offense with 5,700 yards. However, quarterback Kenny Hill’s 15 interceptions and the Horned Frogs’ 18 total giveaways have stunted drives far too often this season.
Hill, the Texas A&M transfer, has passed for over 3000 yards this year. TCU has weapons and UGA’s must be ready to play in this contest. This will be one of the better offenses UGA has faced this year. UGA must tackle well in space.
Run the football. In games where Nick Chubb has not rushed for 100 yards UGA has lost that contest. Pretty simple if you ask me. Commit to running the football Jim Cheney, and don’t put so much pressure on Jacob Eason.
TCU has struggled against the run all year. UGA must pound the rock control the clock and wear down this TCU defense. Gary Patterson has a month to get ready for UGA which worries me greatly.
Limit the drops in the passing game. In some big games like Florida and GT the UGA receiving corps have had some huge drive killing drops. UGA must catch the football in the Liberty Bowl to force TCU not to load up the box to stop Chubb and company.
Gary Patterson is a defensive mastermind and I will take him in a head to head match up with Jim Chaney anytime, anywhere, and anyplace. Patterson is a great coach that has had an excellent run at TCU.
While the 6-6 record, this year is disappointing to the Horned Frog nation it can’t be a deceiving factor to UGA. This team can play. While they have struggled a lot, TCU will come into Memphis ready to play. You can bank on that. UGA must act like they want to be in Memphis as well.
Georgia is a slight favorite in the game. If TCU hopes to pull off the upset, it will need to rely on its defense. Gary Patterson has coached the Horned Frogs to eight bowl wins in their last 10 postseason appearances, and opposing offenses have been held under 20 points seven times over that 10-game stretch.
While Beale Street and BBQ will be a nice bowl destination for the fan base this is a key stepping stone for UGA going into 2017. I think UGA needs this win more than TCU does.
Recruits making their decisions late will be watching this outcome that are considering UGA. UGA needs some dynamic playmakers on offense to choose UGA.
Prediction: I think UGA is the overall better team talent wise. I think UGA wins 34-27.
Good luck Dawgs you will need it against Gary Patterson. This will be the fourth meeting all time between the schools with UGA winning the previous three meetings. Let’s hope that trend continues.