Those who were hoping that this year’s College Football Playoff semifinals would be competitive were met with swift disappointment in both games on New Year’s Eve. As a result, we will have an all-SEC showdown for the national championship for the second time in the CFP era.
Tide Breeze Past Bearcats in Cotton Clash Behind Rampant Rusher Robinson
In the first semifinal, Alabama found the end zone on the opening possession against Cincinnati, setting the tone by using up the first five minutes to drive 75 yards in 11 plays. From there, the #1 Crimson Tide never ceded control in a 27-6 Cotton Bowl win over the #4 Bearcats.
Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young threw for a season-low 181 yards, but he didn’t need to put up big numbers. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. has quietly had a big year, and he stole the show on offense in Arlington. Against one of the stingiest defenses in the country, he rushed for a career-best 204 yards on 26 carries.
Alabama’s defense has had some vulnerable moments, but they put the clamps on Cincinnati from start to finish. They sacked Desmond Ridder six times, and he finished only 17 of 32 (53.1%) for 144 yards.
How notable was Alabama’s defensive performance? It was Ridder’s lowest completion percentage in a game since the 2019 AAC Championship Game against Memphis. It was also the first time he went without a touchdown pass in a game since that game as well. And in Ridder’s four seasons at Cincinnati, the only other time the Bearcats had been held without a touchdown was a 42-0 loss at Ohio State in the 2019 season.
Stetson’s Stellar Showing Sees Georgia Stroll to Orange Bowl Win Over Overmatched Michigan
The second CFP semifinal was even more of a one-sided affair. Georgia jumped on Michigan early, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives. The Wolverines had no answer for the dominant Dawgs, who rolled in a 34-11 win in the Orange Bowl.
Under-fire Georgia QB Stetson Bennett produced his best performance of the season under the lights on New Year’s Eve. He completed 20 of 30 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns, and Georgia racked up 521 total yards.
The Dawgs were also in complete control on the other side of the ball. After wilting against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Georgia’s defense returned to its season-long form against Michigan. They forced three turnovers and kept the Wolverines out of the end zone until a meaningless late touchdown.
Michigan went into the CFP with one of college football’s top rushing attacks, averaging over 220 rushing yards per game. But they were held to only 91 yards on 27 attempts (3.3 yards per carry), a season-low total.
Along with being a rematch of this season’s SEC Championship Game, this is a reprisal of the previous time conference foes faced off for the CFP title. Four years ago, Georgia and Alabama dueled for the title in Atlanta, with Alabama prevailing in overtime on Tua Tagovailoa’s walk-off touchdown toss to fellow true freshman Devonta Smith.
This time around, the two SEC titans will lock horns in Big Ten country, as the site for the January 10 title tilt is Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.
Will Alabama win its fourth title of the CFP era? Or will Georgia win its first college football national championship since 1980? Early odds for the matchup in Indy have the Dawgs as the favorite to take the title.
2022 CFP Championship Game Matchup Info and Betting Odds
- Game Matchup: #3 Georgia Bulldogs (13-1, 8-0 SEC) vs #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1, 7-1 SEC)
- Venue & Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, Indiana)
- Date: Monday, January 10, 2022
- Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Spread: Georgia -2.5 (-115), Alabama +2.5 (-105)
- Total: OVER 52.5 (-110), UNDER 52.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Georgia -150, Alabama +125
Odds are from BetMGM.
When they met for the SEC title last month in Atlanta, the Tide ended Georgia’s perfect season with a 41-24 win. Young put the finishing touches on his Heisman resume, torching the Dawg defense for 421 yards and three touchdowns. Alabama became the first team this season to score more than 17 points against Georgia, putting up 24 second-quarter points to overturn an early 10-0 deficit.
Based on the previous head-to-head result and the fact that Alabama had their own dominant performance in their CFP semifinal, some might be surprised to see Georgia favored, even by a small margin.
However, beating a team for second time isn’t an easy task. And after returning to their dominant ways against Michigan, oddsmakers may see Georgia’s body of work over the entire season as a more notable reference point than the previous head-to-head result.
For the first five years of the CFP era, the #1 team failed to win the championship. But the top-ranked team has taken home the title in each of the past two seasons, with LSU crushing Clemson two seasons ago and Alabama overrunning Ohio State last season.
Over the next week, Betting News will have a steady stream of CFP Championship Game-related content to help you prepare for the big game in Indy. So, keep your eyes peeled here and on Twitter (@BN_Content) for what we have in store.
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