The 14-0 Georgia Bulldogs will take on the TCU Horned Frogs on Monday night at 7:30 and the Bulldogs are 13-point favorites as they try to win back-to-back natties, something only done seven times before. Here’s the short list: Minnesota in 1940-41, Army in 1944-45, Notre Dame in 1946-47, Oklahoma in 1955-56, Nebraska in 1994-95, USC in 2003-04 (04 was taken away) and Alabama in 2011-12. That’s it.
The Bulldogs didn’t look all that great against Ohio State last week and should have been beaten on a last-second field goal but the OSU kicker nearly whiffed on the kick and the Dogs live to see another day after the 42-41 comeback win. Stetson Bennett didn’t play well until the fourth quarter and the usually stout Georgia defense didn’t look all that great, either. In short, Georgia got incredibly lucky to escape with a win and Kirby Smart likely had a lot to say to his team this week in preparation for TCU.
TCU comes in with a 13-1 record with their lone loss coming against Kansas State on Dec. 3, a 31-28 overtime defeat. They won a 51-45 shootout against Michigan last weekend and were also the beneficiaries of some luck after an apparent Michigan touchdown was overruled and then followed up by a fumble at the goal line to give TCU the ball back. TCU is looking for its first title since 1938.
The team’s total points is set at 62.5 and while we think the Georgia defense is going to show up for this one, their lack of offensive firepower against Ohio State has us a little concerned and leaning toward the under. Interestingly, Georgia was just 7-7 against the spread this season while TCU was 10-3-1. The 13 points are a lot but you have to think Georgia will play better on both sides of the ball on Monday night.
Bennett threw for 398 yards against Ohio State but will have to play better tonight if the Dogs are going to win. Bennett has thrown for 3,823 yards at a 68.1 completion percentage with 23 touchdowns and just seven picks. He’s also been sacked just nine times this season. Known as 'Running Back U,' Georgia got 779 yards and 10 touchdowns from Kenny McIntosh, 739 yards and seven touchdowns from Daijun Edwards, and Kendall Milton amassed 559 yards and seven TDs on the ground. Tight end Brock Bowers can also run it and gained 94 yards and three TDs on just seven carries this season. Bowers also led the team in receiving with 56 catches for 790 yards and six TDs and Ladd McConkey caught 53 balls for 674 yards and five touchdowns. McIntosh can also catch the ball and had 42 catches for 505 yards and two scores through the air this season.
TCU quarterback Max Duggan has thrown for 3,546 yards this season at a completion rate of 63.7 percent with 32 TDs and just six interceptions, but has been sacked 24 times this season. Georgia’s defense is the toughest they will have faced this season and it will be interesting to see if Duggan’s line can keep the Georgia defense away from their star QB. Running back Kendre Miller rushed for 1,399 yards and 17 TDs this season, Emari Demercado carried it 107 times for 622 yards and six touchdowns and Duggan rushed 127 times for 461 yards and eight running TDs. Quentin Johnston is Duggan’s favorite receiving target with 59 catches, 1,066 yards and six touchdowns. Taye Barber has 36 catches for 605 yards and five TDs, while Derius Davis caught 37 balls for 430 yards and five TDs. Savion Williams (4), tight end Jared Wiley (4), Gunnar Henderson (2) and Jordan Hudson (3) have also racked up touchdowns through the air for Duggan.
Georgia’s defense is led by linebacker Smael Mondon Jr. with 71 tackles, a pick and a sack, defensive back Malaki Starks has 68 tackles and two interceptions, and Jamon Dumas-Johnson has 66 tackles and four sacks. DB Christopher Smith leads the team with three interceptions.
TCU’s defense is led by linebacker Johnny Hodges and his 81 tackles and two sacks, while Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson has 45 tackles and three interceptions, and safety Bud Clark leads the team with five picks and 40 tackles.
The key to this game could be when Georgia gets in the red zone against the Horned Frogs’ defense. TCU was 44th in defending the red zone this season, allowing teams to score more than 85 percent of the time. Georgia’s offense is ranked first in red-zone scoring with success over 98 percent of the time. Additionally, Georgia’s D was ranked second in the red zone, allowing teams to score just under 68 percent of the time, while TCU was ranked 38th in red-zone offense, scoring 87 percent of the time. If Georgia can stop TCU in the red zone this game could be over quickly.
We expect Georgia to look much better on Monday night than they did against Ohio State and think they will cruise to another championship. We hate giving up so many points, but Georgia is the best team in the country and will show up on Monday with a point to prove. The Oddscrowd algorithm gives TCU a 2.1 percent + EV Edge on the spread and top Oddscrowd bettor tomwhitthauer likes TCU and the points. But we're going the other way. Give us the best team in the nation minus the 13 points.
Pick: Georgia -13
Prop 1: Brock Bowers anytime TD -190 at FanDuel
Prop 2: Kenny McIntosh anytime TD -220 at FanDuel
Prop 3: Kendre Miller anytime TD -185 at FanDuel
Prop 4: Stetson Bennett under 275.5 yards passing -114 at FanDuel
Prop 5: Max Duggan over 240.5 yards passing -114 at FanDuel