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Five reasons Michigan will lose to Georgia in the College Football Playoffs

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The Wolverines have a tough matchup.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 SEC Championship Game - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines have their toughest matchup of the season against the Georgia Bulldogs in the semifinal matchup of the College Football Playoffs.

If you want to hear all sunshine and rainbows check out Maize n Brew’s Harley Johnson’s five reasons Michigan will beat Georgia, because you will get it there. But I am here to play devil’s advocate with a more pessimistic view on this game. Let’s look into the reasons why Georgia will beat Michigan and head to the National Championship.

No. 5: The heralded Bulldog defense

The national narrative this season was this Georgia defense may be one of the best ever constructed. Most of that hype came from the vaunted defensive line that likely has four or five future pros. They are big, physical guys who can plug holes and get to the quarterback if opposing offensive lines don’t step up.

But overlooked this year was their secondary, which has allowed an opposing quarterback completion percentage of just 62.3% this season. That has helped them give up only 172.2 passing yards per game. So even if your quarterback does have time to get rid of the football, there may not be anyone open because of some solid coverage by the secondary.

Michigan loves to move the ball on the ground, but that will be far from an easy task against Georgia. The Bulldogs have allowed only 81.7 yards per game this season in that department, a huge reason why they have been so successful. We’ve witnessed the Michigan offense stall when they can’t run the ball and there is a very strong chance they won’t have success with that in this semifinal matchup. So what can the Wolverines do to catch Georgia off guard, and can they rely on the arm of McNamara against that pass rush?

The Wolverines’ offensive line will have to play their best game of the season and match the physicality and tenacity of the Bulldogs in order for Michigan to emerge victorious.

No. 4: Georgia has an impressive running game

Georgia boasts one of the best running games in college football. The offensive line is built with elite talent that can move guys on the interior, then they have a laundry list of backs who can get the job done. Nine different players have scored rushing touchdowns this season for Georgia and five different running backs have 45 or more carries on the season. As a team, they average 5.3 yards per carry this season.

Their best back is Zamir White, who has 10 touchdowns on just 135 attempts this season for 718 yards. He’s one of the toughest backs to bring down and has the speed to pull away from just about anybody. Look at this run:

But they relied on three different guys to carry the ball in the SEC Championship Game against Alabama: White, James Cook and Kenny McIntosh. Together, they were held to just 97 yards, a huge reason why the Crimson Tide came out victorious.

Can Michigan do the same thing on New Year’s Eve? Or will Georgia’s size on the offensive line and talent at the running back position overwhelm it?

No. 3: The Bulldogs have dominated almost everyone

Georgia steamrolled through its regular season to the point where it was thought of as one of the top teams in the country from start to finish. Simply put, the Bulldogs know how to run away and boat race teams if they come out slow.

Before the SEC Championship, Georgia allowed less than a touchdown per game defensively while averaging more than 40 points per game on the offensive side. It was blowout after blowout all season long.

The Bulldogs didn’t even trail in a game until Week 6 when they allowed a field goal to Auburn on the opening drive of the game. Then they went on to obliterate them for the remainder of the game, beating the No. 18 team in the country 34-10.

Quick starts have been the story for Georgia this year and they haven't squandered many of those. Even in the SEC Championship, the Bulldogs put up 10 unanswered points against Alabama before the Crimson Tide even got on the board. Later, Nick Saban’s defense would step up and change the game rather quickly by taking advantage of some three-and-outs and turnovers. But Saban has had Smart’s number from Day 1. It would be difficult to say the same for Jim Harbaugh who has never matched up against the Georgia head coach.

No. 2: Georgia has more talent

It’s hard to not get caught up in all the five-stars the Georgia Bulldogs boast. They had the No. 4 class in 2021, No. 1 class in 2020, No. 2 in 2019, No. 1 in 2018. Put that together and the Bulldogs have recruited 20 five-stars in the last four classes. Then they have added former five-star recruits like J.T. Daniels via the transfer portal. In total, 18 former 247Sports composite five-star players will be on the field this Saturday. To put that into perspective, the Wolverines only have three.

Now, stars don’t mean everything when it comes to what actually will go down on the field, but it’s an example of how much talent the Bulldogs actually have. The SEC is constantly regarded as the best conference in football and Georgia was the conference’s second-best team for a reason. There are playmakers all over the field they have at their disposal.

No. 1: Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs have experience

This isn’t Georgia’s first rodeo in the CFP. In 2018, the Bulldogs defeated Oklahoma in double overtime in the Rose Bowl and were in line to win the whole thing before Tua Tagovailoa came out of nowhere and stole the National Championship from Georgia’s grasp with a late second-half comeback.

Beyond just the CFP, Smart and the Bulldogs have been in the conversation much more often than Michigan. They’ve been in four of the last five SEC Championship games with a chance to be in the top four by season’s end. While they have only been crowned champions in one of those games, they’ve run into brick walls of top-ranked Alabama teams and the LSU team that won the National Championship a couple years ago.

Smart has coached his team through a CFP in the past and nearly won the whole thing. In a year of firsts in a lot of areas for the Wolverines, it feels like the inexperience has yet to bite them in the butt. How many times have we seen one simple mistake prove extremely costly in a big game in the Harbaugh era? They’ve fended off quite a few of them this season, but it feels like we are just in limbo waiting for the nail to be put in the coffin.