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TCU - Georgia preview, analysis and prediction
TCU: won 51-45 vs. Michigan in Fiesta Bowl
Georgia: won 42-41 vs. Ohio State in Peach Bowl
Saturday was the reason why we enjoy the thought of a College Football Playoff. Under no circumstances should those games have been as entertaining as they were. And if you were under the impression that the favorites would run away with this thing, well then you probably shouldn’t listen to me because both covers went horribly in the semifinals.
This is going to be an incredible national championship game. The Georgia Bulldogs, going for their second straight national championship and a perfect 15-0 season, will take on the one team out of the final four that no one expected to be there, the TCU Horned Frogs going for their first ever national championship and would officially cap the best season in history. Gary Patterson and Andy Dalton would likely, gladly take a back seat for this one.
I think what was more incredible about what happened over the weekend was that not only did both games deliver on the greatest of scales, but the shocking point totals stood out to me. Both overs cashed in astronomical fashion. The 55.5 between TCU and Michigan hit by 40.5, and the 62 cleared by three touchdowns between Georgia and Ohio State (that alone might have been shocking due to a possible defensive battle).
TCU was the big winner over the weekend, pulling off the upset in the 51-45 win over the Wolverines in a game where TCU never seemed to shy away from the moment. The Horned Frogs would jump out to a double-digit lead on multiple occasions, only for Michigan to come back and make a game out of it. But Max Duggan and TCU withstood every punch Michigan threw at them, with Duggan accounting for four touchdowns and nearly 300 total yards in the upset win, which TCU was 9-point underdogs.
“They just played really tough football, hard-nosed football. Believed in each other, believed in their teammates, and just found a way to overcome and persevere,” TCU coach Sonny Dykes said. “It's kind of what we’ve done all year. We did it tonight. That’s who we are.”
TCU has had to prove people wrong all season long. This is a group that no one expected, in a crowded Big 12 before the season, to run the table the way they did. There were some bumps along the way, especially at the end of the year, but TCU continued to find a way to dominate on the field and on the books. TCU is 10-3-1 against the spread this season and opens as 13-point dogs to the, well, Dawgs.
Funny thing is, Georgia almost didn’t even get there.
The Bulldogs trailed Ohio State 38-24 going into the fourth quarter. It was the first time the Georgia defense, the best unit in college football, got dominated by a high-powered offense led by one of the top quarterbacks in the country. But Stetson Bennett decided to remind the world that he’s not as much of a scrub. Bennett threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner with less than a minute to go, to put his team one win away from another championship.
Yes, he threw for 398 yards. Not quite sure where that came from, nor should Georgia care. What the Bulldog faithful should care about is their quarterback, on the most absurd roller coaster trajectory involving his career that we’ve ever seen, just delivered an all-time performance.
“That was a good game,” Bennett said. “These stats are pretty much dead even across the board. Yeah, that one was special.”
It was the third time in the last four games, however, that Georgia failed to cover. To be fair, the other two times were by 22.5 against Kentucky (16-6 win) and 36.5 against in-state rival Georgia Tech (37-14 win). It’s not like Georgia hasn’t done it by lack of trying. It’s all by way of dominant spreads, unlike the 4.5 they were laying Saturday.
So, who gets it done here?
I think based on last week, the total is going over. Listed at 62.5 at most books, this might be crushed given these two offenses and how they can play. Georgia has handled offenses like this before, but I wonder if Ohio State found something that TCU can exploit. I don’t know if TCU wins outright, but I think it’s close enough for a cover. Georgia goes back-to-back. Georgia 40, TCU 34
TCU is 22-10 ATS after covering in 5 or 6 of the last 7 since 1992.
TCU is 7-1 ATS after gaining 6.25 or more yards per paly in the last game this season.
Georgia is 7-0 ATS as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 over the last 2 seasons.
Georgia is 24-11 ATS on the road after gaining 325 or more passing yards last game since 1992.
The under is 9-1 when Georgia plays on the road coming off 3 straight overs since 1992.
Passing: Max Duggan – 3,546 yards, 32 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Kendre Miller – 1,399 yards, 17 TD
Receiving: Quentin Johnson – 1,066 yards, 6 TD
Passing: Stetson Bennett – 3,823 yards, 23 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Kenny McIntosh – 779 yards, 10 TD
Receiving: Brock Bowers – 790 yards, 6 TD
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About the Author:
Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.