The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs expected to be here all along, with a chance to go 15-0 and repeat as National Champions. The same cannot be said for the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs (13-1) who started the season unranked and massive longshots to win the title. TCU didn’t win their conference, falling to Kansas State in overtime, but they upset Michigan on Saturday and no go after Goliath in the National Title game.
These teams have met four times in their history, twice in bowl games, and all won by Georgia. The Bulldogs took the 1942 Orange Bowl by 14 points and the 2016 Liberty Bowl by eight points. They also beat TCU at home in both 1980 and 1988 in blowout fashion.
Monday’s game at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET, airing on ESPN. Georgia is a big favorite at -12.5, and the game total is 62.5 points.
Bulldogs Rally Past Buckeyes, Chasing History
Heisman finalist and quarterback Stetson Bennett had another great playoff game on Saturday, leading the 18-3 fourth-quarter comeback over Ohio State. He threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns in the win and had the go-ahead score in the final minute. Bennett helped the Bulldogs to the title last year with wins over Michigan and Alabama in the playoffs, as he tallied 537 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Georgia runs for 202 yards per game, led by Kenny McIntosh with 779 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. McIntosh and Daijun Edwards combined for 128 against Ohio State on just 13 carries. McIntosh, Edwards, and Kendall Milton have combined for 2,077 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season, while Bennett has eight rushing scores as well.
TCU ranks 83rd in the nation in passing and allowed the sixth most plays of 20 or more yards on the season. Tight end Brock Bowers leads the Bulldogs with 14.1 yards per catch, 790 yards, and six touchdowns on the season. Ladd McConkey was held to two catches in the semis but has 674 yards and five touchdowns on the season, while McIntosh plays a role in the passing game with 42 catches.
The Georgia defense, led by likely first-rounder Jalen Carter, has allowed 12.8 ppg, 77 rushing yards, and 215 passing yards per game. The last two games though, they have been gashed by LSU and OSU for 71 points and nearly 900 passing yards.
Horned Frogs Playing Loose
TCU is 10-3-1 ATS this season but 2-2 in the last four games as they didn’t cover against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game or at Baylor. They have scored at least 28 points in all but one game on the season, but Georgia will pose the biggest threat defensively they have seen all year.
Heisman runner-up Max Duggan has a chance to go after the Georgia secondary like Ohio State did on Saturday. Duggan threw for 3,546 yards on the season with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. He had 225 yards against Michigan with two touchdowns and two interceptions while also rushing for 57 yards and two scores.
Running back Keandre Miller is a superstar but he also was injured against Michigan and his status for Monday is questionable. Expect him to play, but how effective he and the run game will be against a UGA team that allows 77 ypg is up in the air. Miller is just shy of 1,400 yards on the season with 17 touchdowns while backup Emari Demarcado has 622 yards and six touchdowns.
The top target for Duggan is Quentin Johnson who has 1,066 yards and six touchdowns on the season. The junior had six catches for 163 and a touchdown against Michigan after racking up 139 yards in the Big 12 Championship Game. Taye Barber and Derius Davis both have five receiving touchdowns on the season.
Georgia/TCU Betting Prediction
The last two TCU games have totaled 96 and 59 points while the last two Georgia games have totaled 80 and 83 points. The Championship Game winner has had at least 33 points in four straight seasons and seven of the eight games since the CFB started. Every Championship Game has had at least 49 points scored and four of the eight have gone over this year’s total of 62.5.
Georgia has more talent and experience. The play is to take Georgia -12.5 as the Bulldogs repeat and they get it done with defense, holding TCU in the 20’s.