Zach Carter is a first-year Journalism – News major and writes for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
Earlier this season, the College Football Playoff announced that a 12-team playoff starting in 2024 was in the works. On Dec. 1, the Rose Bowl announced they had agreed to the new deal, making the idea reality.
According to NCAA.com, the six conference winners ranked highest by the committee will automatically make the playoff, with six more of the highest-ranked teams added (essentially at-large bids). The first-round games will be played throughout the week ending on Saturday, Dec 21.
With the final rankings being released Dec. 4, the question has to be asked and with the CFP semifinals kicking off today, the question has to be asked: What would a 12-team playoff look like for this season based on the final rankings?
On one side of the bracket, you would have No. 8 Tennessee playing No. 9 Kansas State. The winner would go on to play No. 1 Georgia. On the same side, No. 5 TCU would take on No. 12 Tulane. The winner would face No. 4 Utah. Then the winner of those two games would play to see who would end up in the national championship.
The other side of the bracket would have No. 7 Alabama taking on No. 10 USC. The victor would face No. 2 and Big Ten Champions, the Michigan Wolverines.
In the final first-round matchup, two Big Teams would face off, No. l6 Ohio State and No. 11 Penn State. The winner would face No. 3 Clemson. The winners would play each other in the semifinal of the national championship.
But, not to get ahead of ourselves, this new system is implemented two seasons from now, there will only be four teams representing college football in the 2023 CFP playoff. This year No. 1 Georgia will face No. 4 Ohio State and the winner will face the conqueror of No. 2 Michigan and No. 4 TCU. So, who takes it all?
No.2 Michigan vs. No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl
The Michigan Wolverines (12-0, 9-0) were outside of the top four for most of the year but survived and finally snuck into the third spot. But after taking down the then No. 2 Ohio State on the Buckeyes' home turf, they are now the No. 2 team in the country.
The Wolverines finished their undefeated season with a Big Ten Championship victory over Purdue. The team was led by sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy. He finished the regular season with 2,376 passing yards and 20 touchdowns.
On the ground game, junior running back Blake Corum led the way for the Wolverines with 1,463 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns before missing the Big Ten Championship with injury.. But it’s not just the offense. The defense is another weapon for this team. On the season, they only let their opponents score an average of 13.3 points per game.
But what about their opponent? TCU (12-1, 9-0) went on a run this year. Before the final few weeks, they were most likely going to miss out on the playoff. But after Michigan knocked off Ohio State, the Horned Frogs used that opportunity to move into the top four.
When it comes to stats, TCU’s senior quarterback Max Duggan did not disappoint. He finished the regular season with 3,321 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. He completed 239 passes on 368 attempts, and only threw four interceptions.
On the flip side, TCU’s defense is no slouch. They were able to take down the opposing quarterback 26 times for a loss of 155 yards. But for TCU, this will arguably be the biggest opponent they have faced. We’ll find out the outcome when the two teams take the field on Dec. 31, at 4 p.m.
No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl
It was widely accepted that Georgia would be named the best team in college football, and that became the truth when the College Football Committee released its final rankings.
The Bulldogs (13-0, 8-0) went on a tear this season, taking down teams like Tennessee and LSU. The program is a tough one to face on the field. Their offense averaged 491.9 total yards per game, while their defense only allowed an average 292.1 yards per game.
Georgia’s senior quarterback Stetson Bennett threw for 3,425 yards with 20 touchdown passes. But the defense is what stands out for the No. 1 team. They only allowed an average of 77 rushing yards per game.
Their opponent is not one to overlook. The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes were favored to make it in with ease. But after a disappointing loss to Michigan in their last game, they were lucky to make the fourth spot.
Junior quarterback C.J. Stroud was a big story for the Buckeyes’ (11-1, 8-1) this season. The rumored NFL Draft prospect threw for 3,340 yards on 235 completions. He threw 37 touchdown passes, which was tied for the most in college football.
But one of the questions with this team is head coach Ryan Day. After the loss to Michigan, some Buckeye fans pondered if he should be fired. But for now, Day will try to right the ship and take down the No. 1 team in the nation on Dec. 31, at 8 p.m.