On Monday night, TCU will play in the biggest game in school history with a chance to be named national champions.
In their way, stands last year’s victors: The undisputed, undefeated, top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
Will the Horned Frogs do what they’ve done all season and pull off the improbable? Or, will the Bulldog squander the hopes of Hypnotoad and win their second consecutive national championship?
Here’s what the Heartland College Sports staff thinks will happen in tonight’s big game.
The Horned Frogs aren’t here because of luck. They aren’t here because they are a bunch of short, skinny, fast guys who are burners and will get manhandled by an SEC Powerhouse. This is NOT your father’s Big 12. This is NOT 2012 or 2014 or 2016.
TCU has the better quarterback in the game and has the skill position players to torch a Georgia secondary that was smoked by CJ Stroud for 350 yards and four touchdowns 10 days ago. On top of that, TCU dominated what was supposed to be the best offensive line in the country in Michigan last week, and I believe they can have a similar level of success on Monday night that will force Stetson Bennett to win this game through the air. Problem is, TCU has one of the best and most versatile secondary’s in the country that will have success against the Bulldogs. The Frogs have to avoid the turnovers that plagued them at times against the Wolverines, which I believe they will do. And the Big 12 will be National Champions!
Pick: TCU 41, Georgia 37
On paper, Georgia is the better football team. They have a vastly superior defense, statistically speaking. Their offense is built to give teams like TCU issues. However, some teams are just destined for greatness and I believe the Horned Frogs are a team of destiny. Give me TCU to win in a thriller and shock the world, because why not? If Kendre Miller can get back in the fold for the Horned Frogs, they will implement one of the most dynamic offenses that Georgia has seen all season, including Ohio State. If the Bulldogs come into this game thinking that TCU is just lucky to be here, they might just find themselves in for a dogfight. That is exactly what will happen, and I think Max Duggan will play one heck of a football game, leading TCU to its first national championship since 1938.
Pick: TCU 38, Georgia 34
What a ride it has been for TCU. From being picked near the bottom of the Big 12 in the preseason to making it to the national championship game. We have seen Max Duggan go from backup to a Heisman finalist right before our very eyes. This team continues to find ways to win football games each and every week. I thought Michigan would give TCU problems and I was wrong. Georgia is an outstanding football team but I don’t think this magical run for the Horned Frogs is over. Give me the storybook ending for the guys in purple.
Pick: TCU 31, Georgia 30
So, last week I picked TCU to beat Michigan. And that worked out. So why not TCU over Georgia? The Bulldogs are not quite the passing-challenged Wolverines (though to be fair JJ McCarthy exceeded expectations). Georgia can get the ball around the football field with quarterback Stetson Bennett. They showed last week against Ohio State that they can make you pay downfield. Georgia doesn’t have quite the run defense that Michigan did, but the Horned Frogs were able to find a way to run on the Wolverines even without Kendre Miller (coach Sonny Dykes is encouraged that Miller could play on Monday). TCU’s secondary will have something to say about Bennett’s ability to get the ball downfield. The line is nearly two touchdowns in favor of Georgia. Michigan was plus-9 and TCU not only covered but won. TCU should cover that against Georgia. The real differentiator on Monday will be turnovers. If TCU protects the ball and forces Georgia into a couple of mistakes, they can win. And I think they can. I’ll take the Frogs.