Peach Bowl 2022: Factors That Will Decide Ohio State vs. Georgia Playoff

Joe TanseyDecember 24, 2022

Peach Bowl 2022: Factors That Will Decide Ohio State vs. Georgia Playoff

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Zion Logue #96 and Jalen Carter #88 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after a stop against the LSU Tigers during the first half of the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    The Peach Bowl presents one of the more intriguing College Football Playoff semifinal matchups we have seen in the playoff era.

    The Georgia Bulldogs and Ohio State Buckeyes were talked about in a potential national championship matchup for most of the regular season.

    Georgia kept up its high standard from last year's title-winning squad and remained on the top of the rankings with an undefeated record.

    Ohio State displayed flaws in big games and ended up on the wrong side of the result against the Michigan Wolverines for the second year in a row.

    The Buckeyes got into the playoff as the No. 4 seed because of the slew of losses suffered by other playoff contenders in November and on championship weekend at the start of December.

    Georgia should be the clear favorite inside a stadium that resides in its home state and that it has played in twice already this season.

    Ohio State could come out with motivation to prove its critics wrong, but we will not know how much the Buckeyes have changed until a few drives in against the Bulldogs.

Georgia's Playoff Experience and Home-Field Advantage

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    Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) runs the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022 in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    AP Photo/John Bazemore

    Georgia could not have asked for a better situation to play a playoff semifinal in.

    The Bulldogs are basically playing a home game inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

    They blew out the Oregon Ducks there in the season opener and put up 50 points on the LSU Tigers in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

    There will be a ton of black and red in the stands on New Years' Eve as the Bulldogs chase a second straight title.

    The experience from last year should help the Georgia players ease into that game. That is important because Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers, Ladd McConkey and the offense will not be fazed by the moment.

    Most of Ohio State's team has not appeared in the playoff as a starter. The Buckeyes last appeared in the playoff two years ago with Justin Fields at the helm. Two years is now an eternity in the age of the transfer portal in college football.

    Georgia has all the intangibles in its favor, and it has a pretty darn good football team too.

    The Bulldogs kept the high standard set by its NFL-talent-laden defense last season and Bennett has improved in the pocket.

    The Bulldogs have everything going in their favor, and it would surprise no one if they cruised to their 14th victory of the season.

Ohio State's Response to Michigan Loss

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    COLUMBUS, OHIO - NOVEMBER 26: C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes attempts to throw a pass as Mazi Smith #58 of the Michigan Wolverines closes in during the first half of a college football game at Ohio Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)
    Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

    The last time we saw Ohio State on a football field it was being overrun by the Michigan Wolverines in the fourth quarter inside Ohio Stadium.

    Most people thought that was the death knell for the Buckeyes' playoff chances, but thanks to the USC Trojans' loss in the Pac-12 Championship Game, they received second life at the playoff.

    Ohio State has had over a month to correct the defensive mistakes that cost it the win in the rivalry contest with Michigan.

    Michigan got pressure on C.J. Stroud and slowed down all aspects of the Buckeyes offense while it pulled away.

    Georgia could apply the same strategy as Michigan and take care of the Buckeyes before halftime.

    Ohio State needs its high-powered offense to show up for four quarters, and its defense must look better than it did in its biggest games.

    The Buckeyes gave up 45 points to Michigan and 31 points to the Penn State Nittany Lions. Ohio State needed a few turnovers to beat Penn State by double digits.

    Ohio State can't win a low-scoring game in the state its defense was in against Michigan and Penn State. Ryan Day's team might not beat Georgia in a shootout because of how well Stetson Bennett has played this season.

    The Buckeyes need a perfect game to dethrone the reigning national champion. They have to prove they are a different team from the start. If not, Georgia could jump all over them and break out to a two-score lead in an instant.