Defending champion Georgia vs. Cinderella TCU for the CFP title


After one of the best semifinal day within the Faculty Soccer Playoff’s nine-year historical past, the title sport will match the defending nationwide champion with what the game has had in recent times for a Cinderella staff.

It will likely be No. 1 Georgia (14-0) searching for its second straight championship in opposition to resurgent and No. 3 TCU on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

The four-team playoff was filled with semi-final video games, however Saturday noticed two thrillers and a complete of 179 factors on Sunday and the beginning of the brand new 12 months.

The Bulldogs rallied from 14 factors within the second half to beat No. 4 Ohio State 42-41 within the Peach Bowl and advance to the CFP championship sport for the third time below coach Kirby Sensible.

“If we wish any probability to win a nationwide championship, we’ll need to play loads higher soccer than we did tonight, however we have to maintain our resilience and composure with us,” Sensible stated.

The Bulldogs and Buckeyes performed a traditional sport that resulted in an Ohio State area aim with three seconds left. Surprisingly, it was even higher than the wild opener of the semifinal pairing between No. 3 TCU and No. 2 Michigan.

The Horned Frogs (13-1) defeated the Wolverines 51-45 within the Fiesta Bowl, the CFP’s second-highest scoring sport ever.

“We’ll have a good time it,” TCU quarterback Max Duggan stated. “Clearly we’re excited, however we all know there is a large problem forward.”

TCU, the primary Huge 12 to win a playoff sport, might be searching for its first nationwide title since 1938. Led by coach Holland Meyer, the Horned Frogs defeated Carnegie Tech 15-7 within the Sugar Bowl to finish a 10-0 season.

The Southeastern Convention champion Bulldogs opened as 13 1/2-point favorites in what would be the fifth assembly between the faculties, in response to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Georgia has received all of them, together with most just lately within the 2016 Freedom Cup.

Coming off a 5-7 season in 2021 and a seventh-place end of their convention earlier than the season, the Horned Frogs have embraced the underdog position and thrived after they had been doubted.

“We all know we’ll hear it once more. It isn’t going to cease now,” first-year coach Sonny Dykes stated. “We’ve got to do what we did on this sport (in opposition to Michigan). We’ve got to reply to that criticism and present up and do what we’ve to do.

“If we predict it’ll go away, I feel you all know it isn’t. That is simply the way in which it’s.”

TCU would be the first staff since Michigan State in 1965 to win the nationwide championship after a shedding season.

Georgia, ranked No. 1 for many of the season, is searching for its third nationwide title in an try and turn into the primary back-to-back champion within the CFP period and the primary since Alabama swept the BCS in 2011 and ’12.

It will likely be a Heisman Trophy quarterback matchup with Duggan and Georgia’s Stetson Bennett.

Neither is a future first-rounder within the NFL draft, and each had ups and downs within the semifinals however got here out within the largest spots.

Duggan ran for 2 scores and threw two TD passes because the Frogs held off a surging Michigan within the second half.

Bennett threw for 398 yards and two touchdowns within the fourth quarter, together with the game-winner with 54 seconds left.

These Bulldogs rely extra on Bennett and their offense than final 12 months’s championship staff, which featured top-of-the-line quarterbacks in current faculty soccer historical past. Georgia ranked fifth within the nation in sacks per sport (6.97) coming into the playoffs.

The Frogs even have a potent offense with Dugan and star receiver Quentin Johnston, who had 163 yards on six catches in opposition to the Wolverines.

That is the penultimate season of the four-team model of the playoffs earlier than it expands to 12 groups within the 2024 season.

Earlier than Saturday, solely three of the 16 semifinals had been determined by single digits, and all these blowouts helped gasoline a need to increase the sphere in hopes of making extra thrilling postseason video games.

This New Yr’s Eve, the four-team playoff become an eight-hour faculty soccer celebration.

After the loss to TCU, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh summed up his staff’s sport and, because it seems, the day.

“The winner,” he stated, “was soccer.”


Comply with Ralph D. Russo at and hear at


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