Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the College Football Playoff Semifinal between No. 1 Georgia and No. 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl, and debate if Ohio State has a chance to make it a game against the defending champs.
PAT FORDE: You got your manhood questioned, and now you have to play the ultimate manhood team. The manhood team that beat the crap out of Michigan at the line of scrimmage last year.
DAN WETZEL: Here's the thing about Georgia, they were so relentless this year, they were almost boring, right? It's hard to remember that Georgia lost 15 NFL-- players to the NFL draft last year.
PAT FORDE: It's unbelievable.
DAN WETZEL: And shrugged it off and ho-hum, 13 and 0, SEC Champs. How are you guys doing? Can the Buckeyes play and/or defeat Georgia?
PAT FORDE: In my opinion, they would have to play so much better defensively than I have seen them play, and they would just have to hit all their stuff offensively. They've got great offensive talent. I mean, they've got the best receiving corps in the country. That's with or without Jaxon Smith-Njigba. They have a great quarterback. They have a line that can protect. They don't run block that well. But they can score.
The question is, can the defense stand up at all? Because Georgia is a complete team. Georgia has a phenomenal defense, but Georgia can run. Georgia can throw. Georgia's creative. Georgia's great in special teams. So I think Ohio State has a lot to prove that they can be in the game, even. I mean, I think that physically, they could be dominated in this game.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, the Georgia defensive front, and we-- feels like we talk about every year with Georgia and Alabama and maybe even LSU, whoever the SEC representative is in the playoff, we talk about how their defensive front is the thing you have to handle. And I think it's no different here with Georgia. What is different about Georgia from last year's Georgia, I'm still in Atlanta. I was at the SEC Championship Game last night.
I was talking to a couple of Georgia beat writers, and I asked them a question that a lot of people are asking me, and I don't have a great answer. So I asked them is, how is last year's Georgia team, or this year's Georgia team different from last year's Georgia team, or how do they compare to one another? And they immediately, all of them I talked to said the same thing, well, the offense is way better. The offense is much better. It's much more efficient.
It can score actually pretty significantly at times. And we saw that last night with LSU. They can score. They can move the ball. So even if Ohio State scores some, I think Georgia is able to outscore them, and, boy, do we see Ohio-- have we seen this year Ohio State's defense, right? Struggle at times, and so I think-- I think I would agree with Pat. I think it's going to take not a miracle I wouldn't say, but it is going to take Georgia playing fairly poorly, a couple of turnovers going Ohio State's way.
And Ohio State maybe handling that front and running the ball a little consistently. If you're going to put it all on CJ Stroud, we've seen that sometimes doesn't always go well. So it's going to be-- it's going to be tough. There's a reason their what? 7 points-- 7 and 1/2 point favorites, Georgia is.
DAN WETZEL: Two quick thoughts for me. Georgia-- people talk for Ohio State, while Michigan, they're built to beat Ohio State. They can do this. They can do this. Georgia can do all those things too. They're built kind of a lot like Michigan. They just have better players doing them, and more of them. I mean, they have a little bit better talent than Michigan. And-- but they want to run the ball. They want to control lines. They'll do it.
They want to do this. You want to do that. We'll do it. And so that doesn't bode well for Ohio State. One thing I will say is this is going to be a fascinating game on the state of this program because they got beat. They got humiliated. They have had a week of-- they had six days of just tail between your legs, getting beaten down, told you were wimps, all this stuff.
And then boom, you get a life preserver and you're back. But Ohio State has the talent to do something. Can they do it? And what kind of fight do you have in them? And do you-- do you come back and win this game or make it a really good game? I think they can do that. Conversely, if they don't, let's say this goes the wrong way again, oh, my Lord, you've just gotten beaten down twice in a row to end the season.
That almost adds an-- like if Michigan-- if they had the rematch and Michigan beat them again, it would just be like, existential threat. Just-- you know, right? But if Georgia just kind of knocks them over and beats them by three touchdowns, it's going to be like, what exactly is this program, all of a sudden? Like it is going to be even worse than if you just didn't make it. So really, really interesting. I'm not sure what I will pick in this game, but really interesting time for Ohio State to answer the bell here.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, I think it's fascinating from that standpoint, is you got your manhood questioned, and now you have to play the ultimate manhood team. The manhood team that beat the crap out of Michigan at the line of scrimmage last year. So, OK, it's, we'll see what they can get done in a month's time to get ready for it. They, again, they do have talent they've got great players, and if they could turn this into an air and space game, maybe they can do something, but it's hard to do if you can't control the line of scrimmage at all on either side.
So that's, I think, the question for them, but you're right. The blessing is you made the playoff. The curse is you may get scrubbed twice in a row.