Georgia Eyeing Second Straight National Title
Texas Christian continues to defy the odds. First, the Horned Frogs went undefeated during the regular season, and not even an overtime loss in the Big 12 Conference title game could keep them out of the four-team College Football Playoff field.
Then came an upset of second-seeded Michigan in an action-packed national semifinal.
Other than a narrow escape against Missouri, defending national champion Georgia won each regular-season game by double digits. The big question is whether a TCU offense that is tied for fourth nationally in points per game can find the holes in the Georgia defense and stun the college football world by taking down the heavily favored Bulldogs.
Tight end Arik Gilbert and offensive lineman Earnest Greene (leg) are questionable to play for Georgia, which is already without linebacker Nolan Smith and defensive back Dan Jackson.
For TCU, leading rusher Kendre Miller was knocked out of the Michigan game with a knee injury but said he will be ready to face Georgia.
The NCAA football odds list Georgia as the 12-point favorite.
Top-seeded Georgia also received 121 of the 124 first-place votes in the Associated Press and American Football Coaches Association polls. Texas Christian is third in the Associated Press coaches’ poll and fourth in the coaches’ poll.
Georgia Looks to Get Defensive
Georgia’s defense paved the way to a run to the national title a season ago. With five players off that unit selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, this is a much different defense.
The Bulldogs have allowed 850 passing yards and seven touchdown passes in the last two games.
Georgia still leads the country in rushing defense, allowing 79.9 yards per game. The Bulldogs do allow 224.6 passing yards per game and the passing rating of 117.64 is tied for 17th nationally. However, the way the Bulldogs played in the last two games makes it clear that this defense is not at the same level as the 2021 unit.
Kenny McIntosh, Daijun Edwards, and Kendall Milton have shared the rushing load. McIntosh is also a threat in the passing game to go along with tight end Brock Bowers and receiver Ladd McConkey.
McConkey wasn’t much of a factor against Ohio State with two catches on his six targets. Arian Smith led the Bulldogs with 129 yards on three catches while Adonai Mitchell caught the pass that put Georgia ahead with 54 seconds left to play.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) January 1, 2023
The defense took a hit with the loss of Nolan Smith. Six of the top seven tacklers are either freshmen or sophomores with Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Smael Mondon Jr., and Malaki Starks leading the way.
The Las Vegas odds total has gone over in four of the last five games played by Georgia.
TCU Looks to Do It Again
It took two touchdowns being returned for touchdowns and some curious play-calling by Michigan in the red zone for TCU to reach the national title game. Georgia doesn’t figure to be quite so accommodating.
TCU has one of the top offenses in the country, led by Heisman Trophy finalist Max Duggan.
When top rusher Miller was knocked out of the game, Emari Demercado tore through Michigan’s defense for 150 yards on 17 carries while Duggan had a pair of TD runs.
Quentin Johnston looked every bit like the player expected to be the first receiver selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. A 76-yard catch and run with 13:07 left provided what proved to be the winning points for TCU as Johnston had 163 yards on six catches.
What a first season it has been for coach Sonny Dykes at TCU. After leading Southern Methodist to a 25-10 record over the previous three seasons, the former Cal head coach got another chance to guide a Power-5 program.
After having one 300-yard passing game in the last two seasons, Duggan has thrived under Dykes’ watch. He led the Big 12 with 3,321 passing yards, 30 touchdown passes, and a passer rating of 165.48.
Miller (1,399 rushing yards) and receiver Quentin Johnston (59 catches, 1,066 yards) are other offensive stars. Dylan Horton had four tackles for loss against Michigan while Dee Winters (14½ tackles for loss, 7½ sacks) and Bud Clark (five interceptions) are key players for a defense that went from allowing 462 yards per game in 2021 to 395 this season.
Texas Christian has covered against the college football predictions in six of its last eight games.
Georgia vs TCU Head-to-Head
Georgia has won all four meetings against TCU. The most recent matchup 31-23 in the 2016 Liberty Bowl as a three-point underdog.
Georgia also won 40-26 in the 1942 Orange Bowl. In between those bowl games, the Bulldogs won a pair of regular-season games (34-3 in 1980 and 38-10 in 1988),
Georgia vs TCU Information
- Game: Georgia (14-0) vs Texas Christian (13-1)
- When: Monday, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles
- Georgia vs Texas Christian Live Stream: ESPN
Georgia vs TCU Betting Lines
Georgia vs TCU Picks & Prediction
Georgia has allowed 71 points in the last two games and, by comparison, the Bulldogs allowed 64 points in the first seven games of the 2021 team. TCU has more than enough playmakers to make Georgia pay for any missed assignments or tackling issues.
The Bulldogs can also do the same when they have the ball against a TCU team that was fourth in the Big 12 in scoring defense and fifth in total defense.
TCU is 5-2-2 against the spread away from home compared to 2-2 for Georgia. Georgia has won the last 16 games when listed as the favorite. The total has gone over in four of the last six games when TCU was the underdog.
The Georgia Bulldogs are listed at -440 in our Vegas college football lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Bulldogs, you have a chance to win $123. The Texas Christian Horned Frogs are +338, offering a chance to win $438 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Georgia an 81.48% chance to win, with Texas Christian at 22.83%.