What a journey it has been.
From Week 0 to the national championship, college football has taken us on a glorious ride this past season. We are left with a fascinating national championship game that comes equipped with a sizable point spread. Still, the vibe surrounding Georgia and TCU is electric.
On Monday, these two teams will clash in the magnificent SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. After that, we'll have to welcome the offseason back into our lives. (I know, I know. I don't love that part, either.)
Before we get there, however, we have business to address.
Locks of the Week has been there for you throughout the college football season. We've been able to deliver a winning football season (and hopefully entertained along the way).
With only one game to pick from, we're breaking this game down into two distinct bets: the game and the total.
And here they are.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings and accurate as of Wednesday.
Georgia (-12.5) vs. TCU
We begin with some transparency. I doubted TCU in the semifinals, and it backfired.
There are no excuses. I am not going to blame the officials or Michigan's plethora of mistakes. The Horned Frogs were up for the challenge in every way—especially physically—and deserved this win.
With that acknowledged, that was an odd, incredible football game. The playing surface was a disaster. It was mistake-heavy on both sides. The Michigan defense, which had been tremendous, was not at all tremendous this time.
After losing the Big 12 Championship Game, TCU delivered an enormous response. The issue, however, is that I am just not certain there is another one in store.
Defensively, Georgia didn't fare much better than Michigan against Ohio State. The Bulldogs really struggled to get pressure on OSU QB C.J. Stroud, and the Buckeyes' wideouts found a ton of open space downfield.
Georgia will deliver a much better effort this time. And although TCU held up well physically against Michigan, it would be a surprise to see that effort duplicated.
That is not meant to be a knock on the Horned Frogs. They have proven to be up for every challenge thrown their way. It's simply a reality when playing a team of Georgia's size and athleticism. Although to play my own devil's advocate, similar predictions were uttered a week ago.
On the Georgia side, we saw what the offense was capable of after a slow start. While he looked a little lost throughout, QB Stetson Bennett ultimately delivered a massive performance against Ohio State.
Playing against a scoring defense that currently ranks No. 64 nationally, it feels like the Georgia offense should have an enormous advantage in this matchup. Of all the matchups that should be concerning TCU, this is the one.
The point spread is sizable, although that number has come down. The Bulldogs opened as a 13.5-point favorite, but clearly, TCU support has come in.
Both teams have been tremendous against the number. The Horned Frogs are 10-3-1 against the spread, while the Bulldogs are 10-4.
I would love to see another thrilling game. I mean that sincerely. I'm just not certain we'll get one.
If TCU pulls this off, it will complete one of the greatest seasons the sport has ever seen. But Georgia is a different kind of obstacle, and Kirby Smart's team seems poised to deliver an emphatic repeat.
Georgia vs. TCU (Under 63)
The two semifinal games featured a combined 179 points. If you bet the under in either matchup, you missed by quite a bit.
Heck, TCU and Michigan nearly hit the over in a quarter. The two teams combined to score 44 points in the third frame. The total for the game was only 56.5.
In the other semifinal game, Ohio State and Georgia inched close to the 62-point total in the first half. The scoring slowed some in the third, although it picked up from there.
Yes, there were touchdowns. In fact, they were all over the place.
There will be more touchdowns on Monday. With the quarterbacks featured in this game, assuming anything else would be a mistake. There just might not be as many of them as expected.
It may sound odd, but I wonder if one or both teams experience a bit of a playoff hangover. Given the pace of the previous games and the emotional energy exhausted, it's not unreasonable to believe that both teams could come into this one a bit flat.
Throw in a spotlight this grand, and I could see both teams jumping out to slow starts.
While the last game went way over, the under hit in four of the last six games that TCU played in. Georgia, however, has hit the over in four of its past six games.
Unlike some of those games Georgia played in, however, this doesn't necessarily have the makeup of a shoutout.
That is not the kind of pace the Bulldogs want. They want to shorten the game, control the clock and squeeze the life out of TCU. Michigan did absolutely none of this. Georgia knows that trading touchdowns with the Horned Frogs is not the recipe for victory.
Can they win that style of game? Absolutely. They just did against Ohio State. But that was a close call Georgia would rather not repeat, and it can do so by making this game ugly.
This won't be a 20-10 game. It also won't be 45-44. The final outcome will be somewhere in between, which will be good enough for the under to cash.
Georgia 37, TCU 20.
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