Sports

Previewing the College Football Playoff

By Ben Kuchipudi ’25

Sports Editor

After a wild Championship Weekend, the CFB Playoff bracket was shaken up big time. Michigan was able to keep the 2nd seed after a blowout victory against Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game and Georgia maintained their top dog status after dominating LSU in the SEC Championship. In the Big 12 Championship, Kansas State led by as much as 11 in the fourth quarter, but TCU was able to send the game to overtime courtesy of Max Duggan running for a touchdown with under two minutes remaining. In overtime, TCU got all the way to the one-yard line, but they got stuffed at the line twice in a row. Kansas State ended the game with a field goal and handed the Horned Frogs their first loss of the season. However, TCU maintained their status as the 3rd seed in the playoffs. USC controlled their playoff destiny in the Pac-12 Championship against Utah, but the Utes denied the Trojans’ ticket to the big dance with a resounding 47-24 victory led by Cameron Rising, who threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns. This loss was also a big hit to Caleb Williams’ chances at the Heisman, as Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is now the favorite. Speaking of Ohio State, they were picked as the fourth seed in the playoffs even after the loss to Michigan two weeks ago, so we will see the Heisman favorite against the best team in the country in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Ohio State vs. Georgia

The Buckeyes snuck into the tournament even after the blowout loss to Michigan, but now they will play by far the best team in the country in the Georgia Bulldogs, who haven’t lost a game in over a year. Even with an electric offense led by CJ Stroud and receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, it is going to be hard to put up points against the best defense in the nation led by defensive backs Kelee Ringo and Christopher Smith, two surefire first round picks come April. Maybe things would be different if the Buckeyes’ had standout receiver Jaxon Smith-Ngjiba, but he opted out of this game to prepare for the draft. Heisman finalist Stetson Bennett leads a Georgia offense that is first in red zone offense, so Ohio State has their work cut out for them on both sides of the ball. Georgia is a physical team, so Ohio State somehow has to out-muscle them in order to have a shot of winning, which is a daunting task.

TCU vs. Michigan

It has been a magical season for Sonny Dykes and the Horned Frogs, as this is their first CFB Playoff appearance in school history. They are led by Heisman finalist Max Duggan, who is the Big 12’s top rushing quarterback, running back Kendre Miller, who had over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns, and wide receiver Quentin Johnson, who is likely going to be the first receiver off the board this year. The one problem with them is their defense and if they can stop Michigan’s running game. Even without running back Blake Corrum, the Wolverines have a pounding run game led by Donovan Edwards who has run for over 400 yards in the two games without Corrum. Sophomore quarterback JJ McCarthy isn’t asked to throw a lot, but when he is, he is able to deliver. If TCU wants to make it to the National Championship, they’re going to have to control the ball and not turn it over. Michigan can wear down TCU’s defense, and the Horned Frogs are going to have to score a lot of points if they want to pull off the upset.

Photo by SportsPulse, USA Today

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