The final game of the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship is set. No. 1 seed Georgia will take on #3 TCU at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Monday. It’s a David vs. Goliath battle as the defending champion Bulldogs put their crown on the line against the Horned Frogs that is seen as the biggest long shot of the four teams to reach the CFP for the season.
Georgia got here thanks to the excitement 42-41 comeback win Over No. 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl Semifinals. The Bulldogs found themselves down 38-24 going into the fourth quarter but put up three scoring drives to rally and win. Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV found wide receiver Adonai Mitchell for a 10-yard touchdown to end a five-play, 72-yard drive with only 54 seconds remaining. Bennett finished the game with 398 yards passing and three touchdowns with most of his work coming in the fourth quarter. It was only the second this season the Dodgers found themselves in a one-point game.
TCU reached the title game after pulling off the biggest upset in playoff history. The Frogs beat second place Michigan 51-45 as an eight-point underdog In a wild Fiesta Bowl that saw the Frogs’ 18-point lead dwindle to as few as three points early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Max Dugan threw two interceptions and completed only 14 of 29 passes for 225 yards, but made enough key plays to give his offense a chance. Wide receiver Quentin Johnston caught six passes for 163 yards, and TCU’s defense had two pick-sits. TCU’s win was the first win for a Big 12 team in the CFP.
Let’s take a look at where each team stands against the CFP National Championship before CBS Sports’ college football experts present their first picks for the game.
No. 1 Georgia (14-0), Peach Bowl champion
Georgia is supposed to be here. The Dogs won their first national title since 1980 last year and started the 2022 season as one of the favorites to win the title again. They did what was expected of them, even if things seemed a little different. This past season, Georgia had what many consider to be one of the greatest defenses in college football history as it dominated opponents. This year, the Dogs defense is still one of the best in the country, but it hasn’t been nearly as dominant.
There have been times this season when it seemed like Georgia was playing with their food. After announcing his comeback with the Authority in a 49-3 win over Oregon in the season opener, the Dogs juggled games against Kent State, Missouri, and Kentucky. However, when it came time to get down to business, Georgia did it again and again. It crushed rival Auburn, ended Tennessee’s dreams of a perfect season, beat Florida again and put 50 points over LSU in the SEC Championship Game. With its victory over Ohio State in the Peach Bowl, Georgia has a chance to become the first team to win back-to-back national titles since Alabama (2010-11) and the first to do so in the CFP era.
No. 3 TCU (13-1), Fiesta Bowl champion
You know how there’s always one team that tells you, “Nobody believed in us,” even though they’ve won several conference titles and were favorites to win them again this year? Well, if frogs tell you no one believes in them, believe it. Nobody believes in them. TCU went 5-7 last year and fired longtime coach Gary Patterson. Sonny Dykes crossed town from SMU to take over the program, and the Frogs started 2022 unranked with significantly lower expectations. They started the season with three straight wins over a lackluster non-conference slate. It didn’t get any respect until TCU beat #19 Oklahoma 55-24.
TCU debuted at #17 in the AP Top 25 the following week and did nothing but go from there. The win over Oklahoma was the first of four straight wins over ranked opponents. TCU added its fifth win over a ranked team when it beat Texas 17-10 on the road in mid-November. The Frogs were masters of the comeback, routinely being slammed to the mat only to bounce back and keep fighting until their opponents finally cracked. Duggan started the season as a reserve, but an injury to QB Chandler Morris left the door open for Duggan to win back the job—and he never relented. Duggan finished the season as a Heisman Trophy finalist, and his resilience was a perfect reflection of the Frogs as a whole. Now a team that started the season unranked and shouldn’t have been here has a chance to shock the world again.
Georgia vs. UC Early Predictions
No. 1 Georgia opened as the 13-point favorite over TCU’s No. 3 in Los Angeles, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
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