Georgia Bulldogs win another National Championship
January 19, 2023
After losing fifteen players in the 2022 NFL draft, six of which went in the first round, it might have been difficult to imagine that the Georgia Bulldogs could repeat as the FBS national champions of college football. But if you play college football in the Southeastern Conference, commonly referred to as the SEC, you just reload with talent. And there is never a lack of talent in the SEC.
The Georgia Bulldog juggernaut finished off an undefeated 2022 season by crushing the TCU Horned Frogs, 65-7, in the College Football National Championship game. The game was played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The attendance for the game was 72,628 which was played on a cold and rainy Monday Night, January 9th and televised nationally on ESPN.
Georgia won the coin toss and everything else. They deferred to the second half and kicked off to give TCU the ball first. After three offensive plays that lost two yards, the Horned Frogs punted to Georgia. Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV drove the offense 57 yards in five plays, scoring on a 21-yard scamper for a touchdown. The Bulldogs never relinquished the lead.
TCU cut the lead to 10-7 on a 2-yard touchdown run with 4:45 left in the first quarter. From there, Georgia was never threatened defensively or offensively. By halftime, the Bulldogs led 38-7 and they were going to receive the 2nd half kickoff. They had scored on every offensive possession. The Bulldogs outscored the Horned Frogs 55-0 to finish the game. The Georgia offense held the TCU defense to 188 yards in the game, while the Georgia offense gained 589 yards in total offense.
Bennett completed 18 of 25 passes for 304 yards and he had four touchdown passes. He also ran for two touchdowns. Tight end Brock Bowers, who played his high school football at Napa high school in Napa, California, had seven catches for 152 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Ladd McConkey had five receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
After the game, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was asked why this win was so easy. “I don't have an answer for that,” Smart said. “I think preparation was really good. I'll be honest with you; I was a little concerned that we were tired. I had apprehension about a couple of the practices we had. I did have a feeling that our offense had a really good plan. If we execute this plan, we're going to attack these guys and we're going to be really aggressive.”
Smart also talked about his defense. “I was proud of the defense after two outings that we did not perform well. They have a first-round receiver. They got a Heisman Trophy quarterback that was one the finalists. And I thought our defense really performed well tonight with their backs against the wall.”
The question will come up as to whether TCU should have been in the national championship game. Some will think that they were a fraud. Because of the four-team playoff system that college football currently operates under, a college football playoff selection committee decides who the four best teams are in FBS college football.
TCU was a member of the Big 12 conference. They went 12-0 in the regular season but lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game. The playoff selection committee decided that the loss to Kansas State was not enough to keep them out of the four-team playoff. The playoff selection committee was picking teams based on won-loss record and no team with two losses had ever been selected to the four-team playoff system. Kansas State had three regular season losses.
Kansas State played in the Sugar Bowl and lost to Alabama, 45-20. Alabama is an SEC team. Alabama was 11-2 and was ranked 5th in the nation but had two last second losses to conference opponents that kept them out of the playoffs.
Had TCU played in the SEC, they would have not made the playoffs. There are just too many tough teams to beat in the SEC. The Big 12 was a parity conference in 2022. No great teams and no bad teams. As it was, TCU had several games in the Big 12 where they had to come-from-behind to win. Georgia played a 13-1 TCU team in the national championship game that was not a great team. This Georgia football team is a great team.
The four-team playoff issue will be resolved starting in the 2024 season, when college football moves to a 12-team playoff system, with the top six conference champions making the playoffs and the playoff selection committee selecting six at-large entrants. The 2023 season will be the last season of the four-team playoff.
Coach Smart was asked about the significance of this Georgia team going 15-0. “The significance is there's no blemish,” Smart said. “I had four national championships at Alabama (as a defensive coordinator), I don't think we had but one that was undefeated, and that one was really special. This team is special because they didn't have a flaw. This year's team was different. Like, they just had this eye of the tiger; they weren't going to lose.”