After a long season with plenty of twists and turns, the College Football Playoff Semifinals are nearly upon us. There are the typical players Georgia and Ohio State, and the relative newcomers of Michigan and TCU. Perhaps the biggest story of them all is who is not in the Playoff. There is no Alabama or Clemson, and even Ohio State can count itself lucky to sneak into the Playoff following USC’s loss in the Pac-12 Championship. Regardless, there is a changing of the guard going on in College Football which will manifest itself here in the College Football Playoff.
TCU vs Michigan
The first matchup features the Big Ten winners in Michigan vs the Big 12’s most complete team in TCU. This is Michigan’s second consecutive appearance in the Playoff, and this time around they are looking to win the title. Jim Harbaugh has built his team to essentially be a version of the Georgia Bulldogs. They run the ball well and play great defense which has led Michigan to an undefeated record. Meanwhile, the Wolverines will face off against the least dominant squad in this year’s semifinals – TCU. The Horned Frogs have been playing with fire nearly every week throughout the season. It seemed like every week TCU would be down in the second half, pull off a late rally, and remain undefeated. This recipe for winning obviously leaves a lot to be desired, and it’s why almost everyone believes that TCU will be packing their bags with a loss after their battle against Michigan. The biggest X-Factor here is the Quarterback play for both teams. If Max Duggan can play lights out then I expect the Horned Frogs to have a chance to win. If J.J. Mccarthy plays really well, then I think it will be awfully hard for TCU to keep it close. Ultimately, I expect TCU to keep it closer than people think, but come up just a bit short. Give me TCU +7 to cover.
Ohio State vs Georgia
The second game features two bluebloods of college football with the Georgia Bulldogs facing off against Ohio State. Ohio State was the team that many were riding on throughout the year to win it all. That is even though the Buckeyes had a pretty light schedule which also included the now infamous failure in The Game vs Michigan. Following the loss to the Wolverines, the Buckeye’s playoff hopes looked all but over. However, with Utah defeating USC in the Pac-12 Championship game it opened the door for Ohio State to sneak in as an at-large bid. Now instead of being looked at as the team to beat, the Buckeyes are being viewed as underdogs. Typically, Ohio State performs better when they are an underdog (see their most recent championship in 2014), so it will be interesting to see if that comes to fruition. On the other side, there is the country’s most dominant team, the Georgia Bulldogs. I think it is clear that Georgia is the best team in the country when they play to their standards. This begs the question, will we see the Georgia that struggled against Missouri and Kent State or the one that manhandled Tennessee, LSU, and Oregon? My gut tells me the real Georgia will show up for this game because that’s what they have done all year when it has been asked of them. However, I still think Ohio State keeps this close enough to cover the spread. Give me Ohio State +7.