Chaotic weekend for college football


Rhys Patterson, Sports Editor

After a chaotic conference championship weekend, the college football playoff is finally set. Losses by TCU and USC in the Big 12/Pac 12 Championship games put the Playoff seeding in question. Ohio State and Alabama were on the outside looking in heading into championship weekend, and they both got the chaos that they needed. Only Ohio State ended up qualifying after a blowout loss to USC. 

The Peach Bowl will be a juggernaut matchup between the number one Georgia Bulldogs and the number four Ohio State Buckeyes. Both schools have won a championship since the inauguration of the playoff in 2014. Georgia has been the undisputed number one for almost the entire season. A mix of lockdown defense, when needed along with a dangerous offense headlined by Heisman finalist Stetson Bennett, has been a recipe for success for the Bulldogs. As dominant as they’ve looked at times this season with huge wins over Oregon and Tennessee, they have also been seen to be vulnerable at times. Close wins against Missouri and Kentucky will likely give the Buckeyes some hope that they can pull the upset.

The Buckeyes have played a very easy schedule over the season in the Big 10, and have mostly been dominant while reaching an 11-1 record. The only loss came in their last game of the season against Michigan at home where their defense was exposed, giving up five touchdowns of over 40 yards. Luckily for the Buckeyes, they will have a chance to potentially avenge this loss in the championship game, but they will need to get past the Bulldogs first. In order to pull off the upset, Ohio State will likely need to put up a lot of points, which is very possible with the number of offensive weapons they have. Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud has been lights out for most of the season along with wide receivers Emeka Ebuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. 

The Fiesta Bowl will be a very entertaining matchup between the two-seed Michigan Wolverines, and the three-seeded TCU Horned Frogs. The Wolverines play a very physical brand of football which has led them to run all over teams from the Big 10 this season. Unfortunately for Michigan, star running back Blake Corum was shut down for the season after suffering a knee injury late in the year against Illinois. Still, the Wolverines offense will be tough to stop for TCU due to all of the skilled players that Michigan has. TCU will be one of the toughest tests of the year for the Michigan defense. Michigan proved that they can contain high-powered offenses after holding Ohio State to just three points in the second half a couple of weeks ago. The Wolverines should be the heavy favorite in this one, but they can’t take TCU lightly.

The Horned Frogs will be playing in their first-ever college football playoff game and are easily the most surprising team in this year’s edition due to them not even being in the preseason top 25 rankings. The heart and soul of the team are Heisman finalist QB Max Duggan. When you watch the Horned Frogs play, there really isn’t anything overwhelmingly good about them, but they are solid in all aspects of play. TCU was able to scratch out gritty win after gritty win in conference play and was able to finish out the regular season 12-0 before losing a heartbreaker in the Big 12 Championship game. In order for TCU to pull off the upset, they will need to get consistent pressure on Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy, and Duggan will have to play the game of his life. The Horned Frogs have been able to successfully embrace the underdog mentality all season long, so we’ll see if they can do it one more time in the semifinals.