And then there were Four. The 2022 College Football Playoff is just a day away from its ninth go-around, and we have one of — if not the best — 1 versus 4 matchups since the playoff's inaugural season. And very similar to that first year, we have the Ohio State Buckeyes sneaking into the College Football Playoff as a team without a conference championship and taking on an SEC team. But instead of Alabama, the Buckeyes get the defending national champions this time around, as the Georgia Bulldogs enter the playoff as the top-ranked team. So, with these two gearing up for what should be a great game, here is everything you need to know for the CFP Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
How to Watch the Peach Bowl
- Date/Time: Saturday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. Eastern
- Channel: ESPN
- Betting: UGA -6.5, O/U 62
Ohio State Is Ready to Prove It Always Belonged in the Semifinals
The Ohio State Buckeyes looked like one of the best teams all season long. Led by the dangerous quarterback-wide receiver duo of C.J. Stroud and Marvin Harrison Jr., the Buckeyes had one of the best offenses in the nation, averaging nearly 500 yards per game and 44.5 points per game. After opening the 2022 season with a win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio State would go on to run through teams such as the Wisconsin Badgers, Penn State Nittany Lions and Michigan State Spartans. But with just one game in front of them and an undefeated regular season, the Buckeyes lost to the Michigan Wolverines, ending their perfect season and their chances at a Big Ten title — but, more importantly, pinning their playoff hopes on the fates of other teams. And with the losses suffered by LSU, Tennessee and USC in the final weeks, the Buckeyes stamped their ticket to the playoffs.
Georgia Takes the High Road To the Playoff
Winning a national championship is hard. Winning a national championship and defending that title with an undefeated season is even harder. But that is exactly what the Georgia Bulldogs have done thus far. After losing several key players after last year's title run, the Bulldogs showed zero signs of regression as they opened the season with a dominating win over the Oregon Ducks. The Bulldogs would go on to treat the SEC in the same fashion, with convincing wins over South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida. They continued that trend with a beatdown on the LSU Tigers in the SEC Championship game, sealing the Bulldogs' claim as the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff.
Ohio State Can Win Through the Air
Offense: Injuries have slowed down the Buckeyes' run game, but they will need every yard on the ground that they can get in this one. And, as a no-brainer, the Buckeyes need to let Stroud get going early and often, as the connection between him and Harrison will be the biggest X-factor to keep them in the game.
Defense: The Buckeyes' defense has not been terrible this season, but they need to get to quarterback Stetson Bennett and prevent him from bouncing outside the pocket. And if Ohio State cannot slow down the run game, the result will be something similar to its game against Michigan.
For Georgia, Stetson Bennett Holds the Key to Victory
Offense: Stetson Bennett was a Heisman finalist, and his ability to create big plays with his legs cannot disappear now. And while Ohio State's front seven was dominated in their last outing, that does not mean the Bulldogs should underestimate them.
Defense: Limit the amount of times Harrison touches the ball. Get in the backfield and try to prevent as many second-and-long situations as you can.
What You Need To Know Before the Peach Bowl Kicks Off
The casual fan would tell you that the Georgia Bulldogs will run away with this one — and if the Ohio State Buckeyes play the way they did in their last outing, then that is very true. But the Buckeyes have been given new life and have had plenty of time to lick their wounds and learn from their mistakes. However, this Georgia Bulldogs team has played some of the best teams this season and have handled them easily. Can the Bulldogs continue their impressive run at a second straight national title? Or will the Buckeyes take down the Dogs and get to their third national title game since 2014?
Final score: Georgia 34, Ohio State 27
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