Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Ohio State make College Football Playoff
Georgia and Michigan are back in the College Football Playoff for a second consecutive season.
The two undefeated teams in college football unsurprisingly snagged the top two spots in the final College Football Playoff rankings on Sunday. No. 1 Georgia will play No. 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl while No. 2 Michigan will play No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
Ohio State moved up a spot from No. 5 to No. 4 in the final rankings after USC lost to Utah in the Pac-12 title game on Friday night. Ohio State didn’t play on conference championship weekend but was uniquely positioned to take advantage of USC’s loss by being the only one-loss team outside the top four entering the weekend.
TCU stayed at No. 3 despite an overtime loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game. The Horned Frogs scored 11 points in the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter to force OT, but came up just short of the goal line in overtime before K-State kicked a game-winning field goal. With K-State in the top 10 — and TCU already having a victory over the Wildcats earlier this season — the committee did the right thing and didn’t penalize the Horned Frogs much for their loss.
Ohio State’s inclusion into the playoff left both USC and Alabama on the outside looking in and once again continued a streak for the playoff committee. No two-loss team has ever made the College Football Playoff since the format was implemented in 2014.
Here’s what you need to know about all four playoff teams. The playoff semifinals are on Dec. 31 while the national championship game is Jan. 9.
Record: 13-0, 9-0 SEC
Best win: 49-3 vs. Oregon
Closest call: 26-22 vs. Missouri
Wins over top 25 teams: 5
BetMGM national title odds: -145
The defending national champions have been No. 1 in every set of College Football Playoff rankings all season. Georgia can be absolutely dominant when it needs to be. Just ask Oregon, South Carolina and LSU. While the Tigers did put up 30 points in the SEC title game, the combined margin of victory in those three wins over top-25 opponents was 147-40.
Georgia allows fewer than 13 points per game on defense and is scoring nearly 40 points per game itself. Stetson Bennett is completing 68% of his passes and Kenny McIntosh, Daijun Edwards and Kendall Milton have each rushed for over 500 yards. And Brock Bowers is the best tight end in the country. Simply put, this is a team primed to repeat as national champions and a heavy favorite to win the national title.
Record: 13-0, 10-0 Big Ten
Best win: 45-23 vs. Ohio State
Closest call: 19-17 vs. Illinois
Wins over top 25 teams: 2
BetMGM national title odds: +300
The Wolverines capped an undefeated season with a convincing 43-22 win over Purdue on Saturday night in the Big Ten title game. Michigan won just two games by a single possession all season and topped 30 points scored in all but three games.
RB Blake Corum was the offensive engine in Big Ten play but suffered a knee injury after rushing for over 100 yards in the first half of the win over the Illini. Donovan Edwards has assumed the No. 1 back role in his absence and been even more explosive. Edwards broke two long TD runs against Ohio State and rushed 25 times for 185 yards against Purdue. With Edwards averaging over 7.5 yards a carry, the Michigan run game is in very good hands even without Corum.
Record: 12-1, 9-1 Big 12
Best win: 38-28 vs. Kansas State
Loss: 31-28 vs. Kansas State (OT)
Wins over top 25 teams: 2
BetMGM national title odds: +1600
The comeback kings of college football came with a couple feet of potentially completing another comeback win in the Big 12 title game on Saturday against Kansas State. Instead, TCU ended up with its first loss of the season against a top-10 team that it had beaten earlier in the year.
While TCU has played with fire at times in 2022 and allows 25 points per game, its offense’s ability to score from anywhere on the field makes it a very dangerous team. QB Max Duggan singlehandedly led TCU to its game-tying drive on Saturday night with 95 rushing yards on an 80-yard drive. He’s thrown for over 3,000 yards and 30 TDs with just four interceptions and has also rushed for over 400 yards and six scores. Kendre Miller is one of the best running backs in college football and Quentin Johnston averages 17 yards a catch.
4. Ohio State
Record: 11-1, 8-1 Big Ten
Best win: 44-31 vs. Penn State
Loss: 45-23 vs. Michigan
Wins over top 25 teams: 2
BetMGM national title odds: +350
The Buckeyes thought their national title hopes were over after Michigan and Donovan Edwards ran all over them in the second half of The Game. Instead, USC’s loss in the Pac-12 title game opened the door for Ohio State to sneak into the playoff despite not playing on conference title game weekend.
It’s not an unprecedented scenario; Alabama won the national title after the 2017 season despite missing the SEC title game. Can Ohio State do the same? This is a team that puts up nearly 45 points per game and has phenomenal receiving talent, especially if Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be healthy enough to play in the playoff. The question of Ohio State’s national title viability might rest with the defense. It’s been significantly better for much of the season than it was in 2021 after an offseason coordinator switch but the Buckeyes have given up 75 points in their last two games.