It seems fairly safe to assume that before the 2022 season began, just about nobody had a Texas Christian-Michigan semifinal matchup in the College Football Playoff on their radar.
Michigan is returning to the CFP as the No. 2 seed and, although Ohio State came into the season as the favorite to win the Big Ten title, seeing the Wolverines among the final four teams is not a stunning turn of events. However, the Horned Frogs went from having the sixth-best odds to win the Big 12 title to earning a spot in the first of the national semifinals being played on Dec. 31.
Michigan (+275) is second only to defending national champion Georgia in the odds to win the national title. TCU is a distant fourth with the Horned Frogs priced at +1800 to win it all according to the college football odds.
This is just the start of the coverage leading into the crowning of the national champions. Keep looking for predictions, analysis, and more previews as a wild college football season will culminate with the Jan. 9 title game.
TCU vs Michigan Game Information
- When: Dec. 31, 4 p.m. ET
- Where: Fiesta Bowl, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
- Line: Michigan -9
- Moneyline: Texas Christian +265, Michigan -325
- Total: 59½
No. 2 Seed Michigan Wolverines
- Record: 13-0
- Record Against the Spread: 8-4-1
- Head coach: Jim Harbaugh, eighth season
- Head coaching record: 74-24 at Michigan, 132-51 college coaching record
- Best CFP finish: 2021 semifinalist
When the season began, the Wolverines were expected to be led by quarterback Cade McNamara and running back Blake Corum. Neither will be playing against TCU.
McNamara recently made the decision to transfer to Big Ten rival Iowa with J.J. McCarthy is the starting quarterback for the Wolverines. Corum suffered a season-ending knee injury in the win over Ohio State. Donovan Edwards has run for 401 yards and three touchdowns against Ohio State and Iowa.
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Sophomore Junior Colson leads the defense with 95 tackles while Mike Morris has 11 tackles for loss.
Michigan is second in the Big Ten in both total offense and total defense. The Wolverines went 2-0 against ranked teams, beating Penn State 41-17 and Ohio State 45-23. Michigan covered against the Las Vegas odds in both of those games.
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No. 3 Seed TCU Horned Frogs
- Record: 12-1
- Record Against the Spread: 9-3-1
- Head coach: Sonny Dykes, first season
- Head coaching record: 12-1 at Texas Christian, 132-51 college coaching record
- Best CFP finish: First appearance
What a first season it has been for 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 be a head coach for a Power-5 program.
It hasn’t always been easy with TCU needing late rallies through a perfect regular season. The quest for an undefeated season ended when TCU was stopped twice on the shadow of the goal line in overtime as Kansas State took the Big 12 title game with a 31-yard field goal.
After having one 300-yard passing game in the last two seasons, Max Duggan has thrived under Dykes’ watch. He leads the Big 12 with 3,321 passing yards, 30 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 165.48.
Kendre Miller (1,342 rushing yards) and receiver Quentin Johnston (53 catches, 903 yards) are other offensive stars while Dee Winters (11½ tackles for loss, 7½ sacks) and Bud Clark (four interceptions) are key players for a defense that went from allowing 462 yards per game to 385.
TCU was 8-1-1 against the college football odds in its first 10 games but 1-2 over the last three.
TCU receiver Quincy Brown hasn’t played since having two touchdown catches in a win against Tarleton State so keep an eye on his status.
For Michigan, Corum is not the only player out for the season. Tight end Erick Ali and defensive back Caden Kolesar are also out.
Road to the CFP
The matchup against Dykes’ former SMU team was the most challenging of the non-conference games for TCU. The Horned Frogs opened plenty of eyes with a 55-24 demolition of Oklahoma in the conference opener.
TCU beat Kansas by seven points, Oklahoma State by three in overtime, Texas by seven, and Baylor by one. The four wins over ranked teams was enough for the Horned Frogs to absorb a loss in the Big 12 title game and still earn a spot in the playoff field.
It would be quite the understatement to call Michigan’s non-conference schedule soft. The Wolverines rolled past Colorado State, Hawaii, and UConn by a combined score of 166-17. That almost cost Michigan in the conference opener, but Corum’s 243 rushing yards and two TDs was enough to hold off Maryland 34-27. There was a scare before edging Illinois 19-17 on a Jake Moody field goal with nine seconds to play.
Next Stop: NFL
Six of the top 13 players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft were part of four playoff teams. There will be plenty of interest from the pro scouts in this game.
TCU’s leading pass catcher, Johnston, is the top NFL prospect. For Michigan, it will be interesting to see what Corum does. A healthy Corum could be very much on the radar of the NFL scouts. Cornerback DJ Turner or edge rusher Mike Morris could be the first Michigan player drafted. Scouts will be keeping tabs on receiver Cornelius Johnson after he went off for 160 yards on four catches against Ohio State.