National Championship Preview
3. TCU- Big 12 (13-1)
1. Georgia- SEC (14-0)
When- January 9, 7:30 ET, ESPN
Where- SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Why TCU will win- Never underestimate HC Sonny Dykes’ ability to put together an offensive game plan, the Horned Frogs are coming off a 51 point performance (albeit with some help from the defense) against one of the nation’s top defenses in Michigan. Despite an uncharacteristically poor performance from QB Max Duggan (14-29, 2 INT’s) the offense piled up 263 rushing yards against the Wolverines which was 165 yards above their season average. Backup Senior RB Emari Demercado rushed for 150 after replacing injured starter Kendre Miller. Miller is questionable for the Championship Game but the offense has a viable backup in Demercado. Dykes and crew are expecting a bounce back performance from the Heisman finalist Duggan (3,546 yards, 32 TD’s) Monday night. TCU enters the game as double digit underdogs and are taking on the defending National Champions. It’s David vs Goliath. They thrived in that role in their Fiesta Bowl win a week ago and will surely look to use that to their advantage once again.
Why Georgia will win- It’s hard to imagine a double-digit favorite and undefeated defending National Champion coming into the game on edge but that is certainly the case with the Bulldogs. It took an Ohio State missed 50-yard field goal at the end of regulation to advance to Monday night’s Championship Game. The defense, which allowed 14 points or fewer in 8 out of the first 12 games of the year has suddenly given up 71 points and 850 passing yards in the past 2 games. Defensive minded HC Kirby Smart is sure to have used that as motivation to get his unit laser focused heading into its' matchup with the high- powered TCU offense. TCU comes into the game ranked 78th in total yards allowed at 395.3. Despite all of high powered up tempo offenses that have become so prevalent in college football, defense still wins Championships. In the CFB Playoff era going back to 2014, the National Champion has had an average total defense ranking of 12 with 5 of those teams finishing in the top 10. The Horned Frogs defense will have its work cut out against a loaded Georgia offense led by QB Stetson Bennett (3,823 yards, 23 TD’s) who could solidify himself as one of college football’s all-time greats by winning a second title.
Key to the Game- Turnovers. TCU has forced 22 turnovers on the season including 7 multiple turnover games. In order to slow down Georgia’s offense and have a chance to pull off a historic upset it will likely take another game of multiple turnovers forced by the defense. Georgia has been turnover prone this year with 17 total and at least 1 in each of the past 7 games.
Eye Test Analytics Predicted Outcome- Georgia by 15.44 points