The college football playoff is finally here, and the night's marquee game will feature the number one-ranked Georgia Bulldogs taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes. We’ll preview this primetime match-up before reviewing my best play for the game.
Georgia continued their dominance from last season as they finished with a 13-0 record and won the SEC championship game. Every time the Bulldogs played in what was supposed to be a big game this season, they seemed unphased. They were able to hang 50 points in the SEC championship game as quarterback Stetson Bennett had only six incompletions while throwing for four touchdowns.
Offensively the Bulldogs ranked in the top ten in points per game, yards per game, yards per play, and yards per rush. They were also the top-ranked red zone scoring offense, with a scoring percentage of 98.4%.
Defensively the Bulldogs are expected to run out the same 11 guys that took the field in the SEC championship game, which is the same unit that allowed an average of 13.8 points per game and held opponents to just 81.1 rushing yards a game. The matchup between the Bulldogs' secondary and Marvin Harrison Jr. is one of the best storylines in the game.
Harrison Jr. led the Buckeyes’ offense, which was second in the country in points per game, with 1,157 yards and 12 touchdowns. Quarterback CJ Stroud will need to rely heavily on Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka since the Ohio State running back depth has become a real problem for the team. Miyan Williams will likely be the primary back, but he has battled injuries all season.
Defensively the Buckeyes will also be at full strength, so it will be interesting to see if they can bounce back from allowing 45 points in their last game against Michigan. Ohio State was 11th in the country in points allowed per game and was able to hold opponents to an average of 184 passing yards a game.
The Georgia Bulldogs can be found as (-6.5) point favorites, and I’ll be backing them in this one. It’s hard to bet against a team that has passed every test imaginable and seems to have an extra gear on both sides of the ball that no team has yet to be able to match.
Georgia can beat teams through the air or on the ground. After watching Ohio State get dominated up front against Michigan and allow 252 rushing yards, the Bulldogs can physically wear down the Buckeyes and find success with running back Kenny McIntosh, who helped the team average 5.7 yards per rush and 214.3 yards per game.
Defensively guys like Jalen Carter will make it very tough for Ohio State to establish any type of run game, which was already going to be an issue for them. Putting pressure on CJ Stroud has proven it can lead to him making a few mistakes, so if the Bulldogs get to him often and he has to drop back more than usual, we could see a costly turnover. Overall I think Georgia is too good on both sides of the ball for the Buckeyes to hang around with.
Georgia Bulldogs (-6.5)