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Michigan vs TCU: Game time, TV schedule, streaming, previewing the other CFP semifinal

The College Football Playoff gets underway this weekend!

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Big Ten Championship - Purdue v Michigan Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The first round of the College Football Playoff kicks off on New Year’s Eve, starting with the Michigan Wolverines taking on the TCU Horned Frogs. Michigan is coming off a win over the Purdue Boilermakers to earn the Big Ten Championship. On the other side, the Horned Frogs lost in overtime to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship for their first loss of the season.

As soon as this game ends, the winner won’t have to waste much time finding out who they will face in the National Championship, as game two of the College Football Playoff kicks off moments after the conclusion of Michigan-TCU as Ohio State takes on Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

Let’s break down each of the two most important games in college football this year.

No. 2 Michigan Wolverines vs No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs

  • Bowl: Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: Sling TV
  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 31
  • Time: 4 p.m.
  • Location: Glendale, AZ
  • Weather: None (DOME)
  • DraftKings Odds: MICH -7.5, O/U: 58.5, ML: MICH -305, TCU +255
  • Best Bet (21-20): MICH -7.5

In the history of the College Football Playoff, the favorites are 10-6 against the spread in the first round of the playoff. That trend seems perfect for this matchup between TCU and Michigan.

Here’s my problem with the Horned Frogs and what everyone will question heading into this game. TCU allowed 149.5 rushing yards and 385 total yards per game this season in a conference that doesn’t like to play defense. Overall, they allowed 25 points per game.

The last time a Big 12 member made the CFP was in 2019-20 when Joe Burrow and LSU scored seven first-half touchdowns in an absolute blowout of Oklahoma. The Sooners are the only Big 12 team to ever make it to the College Football Playoff and it allowed an average of 49.8 points per game in four appearances.

Michigan should have ample opportunity to move the ball efficiently down the field with Donovan Edwards Jr. and an offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award for the second year in a row. If J.J. McCarthy can continue the consistency he has shown all season and make big plays like he did against Ohio State, the Wolverines are going to be a really tough out in these playoffs.

But TCU is certainly capable of keeping up. This will be the second-best offense Michigan has faced this season behind the Buckeyes. Max Duggan finished second in the Heisman and has willed the Horned Frogs to several wins this season. There is no moment too big for him, and he truthfully never gives up in a game.

The weapons around him are just as dangerous. His favorite target, 6-foot-4 wideout Quentin Johnston, is one of the best deep ball receivers in college football. The matchup nightmare combines elite speed with his massive frame to be one of the best 50/50 ball catchers in the nation. Meanwhile, running back Kendre Miller ran for more than 1,000 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. That is Blake Corum-level production for the Horned Frogs' offense.

Michigan’s defense has been one of the best all season long and stepped up to stymie the Buckeyes to just three second-half points in Columbus. Jesse Minter has excelled in adjusting and remains one of the best assistant coaches in college football. He has been given a full month to prep for TCU and should come out with a strong game plan to slow this impressive offensive attack.

Michigan is a 7.5-point favorite and even without Corum, it feels like it is the better team. The Wolverines need to continue to play with a chip on their shoulder like they have all season. TCU is no slouch; if the Wolverines are sloppy on either end, the Horned Frogs will take advantage and win. We will need to see “Beat Ohio” levels of enthusiasm for Michigan to be victorious.

No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs vs No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Bowl: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: Sling TV
  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 31
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Weather: None (DOME)
  • DraftKings Odds: UGA -6.5, O/U: 62.5, ML: UGA-265, OSU +225
  • Best Bet (21-20): UGA -6.5

Again, I am taking the favorite in this game. While Georgia’s defense is not the all-time great group it was a season ago, the Bulldogs are still damn good, especially on the ground. They allowed just 77 rushing yards per game to opponents throughout the season.

Their secondary, however, is not playing to the level they did last year, and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is going to be the best they have seen for a full game in 2022.

Georgia operates in a very similar fashion to the Wolverines, who kicked the snot out of the Buckeyes on the ground in Ohio State’s last contest. Let’s not forget the Bulldogs’ offensive line was also in contention for the Joe Moore Award and they have a trio of stud running backs who have accounted for 1,923 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Steady Stetson Bennett also got an invite to New York for the Heisman Trophy despite plenty of scrutiny. He threw for 3,425 yards and 20 touchdowns to six interceptions this season. While he won’t be the guy that wins you a ballgame, he will undoubtedly take care of the football and keep your team in it. That’s all head coach Kirby Smart needed from Bennett last season to win Georgia the national title.

Perhaps the biggest concern for Ohio State? This game is being played in Atlanta, where there will be a bulk of Dawgs’ fans in the house. The Buckeyes were miserable in tough environments this season. They were late defensive touchdowns away from potentially losing to Penn State and Maryland, and nearly lost to an awful Northwestern squad in three of their four road games. Now they face that adversity in the College Football Playoff? It’s hard to like their chances against a Georgia squad that appears to be cut from a different cloth for the second year in a row.