College Football Playoff preview: Top 10 gamers to observe

Get your popcorn prepared, faculty soccer followers.

All eyes will likely be on the College Football Playoff semifinals Saturday, as Michigan takes on TCU within the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m. ET), whereas Georgia battles Ohio State within the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (8 p.m. ET).

Each matchups are loaded with expertise. Three of the 4 beginning quarterbacks had been Heisman finalists, whereas the opposite, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, is anticipated to be among the many favorites to take house faculty soccer’s most prestigious particular person award subsequent season.

Whereas quarterbacks garner essentially the most consideration, there are many different standout gamers who will possible have a huge impact on the semifinals.

Listed below are 10 gamers to control within the College Football Playoff.

Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia

Bennett wasn’t a prized recruit like McCarthy or a projected first-round draft decide like C.J. Stroud, however the Georgia senior merely is aware of tips on how to win. He’ll look to be the primary quarterback to steer his crew to back-to-back nationwide championships since former Alabama QB A.J. McCarron did it in 2011-12. Bennett constantly performs his finest on the most important stage, as he was excellent in three wins over ranked opponents this season. Ohio State’s protection has been up and down in 2022, which implies Bennett may very well be in for a giant sport in opposition to the Buckeyes.

Peach Bowl preview: Can the Buckeyes pull off the upset?

Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Georgia has a balanced offensive assault, however in terms of the highest playmakers on this unit, nobody is healthier within the large second than Bowers. Standing 6-foot-4 and 230 kilos, Bowers has the dimensions of a prototypical tight finish, however strikes like a large receiver. He has glorious fingers and is an distinctive route runner. Ohio State held Notre Dame’s All-American tight finish Michael Mayer to only 5 catches for 32 yards earlier this season. Will probably be fascinating to see if Bowers can discover open passing lanes in opposition to this OSU protection.

Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

The stats don’t soar off the web page — 29 tackles and three sacks — however there isn’t a extra dominant defensive presence within the CFP than Carter. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman was injured for a big portion of the primary half of the 2022 season. Since returning to motion in opposition to Florida on Oct. 29, Carter has been an unstoppable pressure on one of many high defensive models within the nation. His capability to generate strain and wreak havoc on Ohio State’s high-powered offense will likely be fascinating to observe.

Max Duggan, QB, TCU

There isn’t a single participant within the CFP who’s extra necessary to his crew’s success than Duggan. He’s the straw that stirs the drink for the Horned Frogs. Along with throwing for greater than 3,300 yards and 30 touchdowns, Duggan additionally added 404 yards and 6 scores on the bottom. He was liable for 58% of TCU’s offensive touchdowns this season. Duggan faces a really robust check in opposition to a Michigan protection that has been excellent all season, rating third amongst FBS groups in yards allowed per sport (277.1) and fifth in factors allowed (13.4).

TCU’s Max Duggan wins Davey O’Brien Award

TCU's Max Duggan wins Davey O'Brien Award

Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio Sate

One of many high large receivers in faculty soccer will get an opportunity to point out off his big-play capability in opposition to the vaunted Georgia protection. Harrison has been nothing in need of excellent this season, hauling in 72 catches for 1,157 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’ll possible be matched up in opposition to Georgia’s lockdown nook, Kelee Ringo, which might in the end resolve who advances to the nationwide title sport.

J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

McCarthy is among the best quarterbacks within the nation, and far of that is because of his conservative fashion of play. The sophomore signal-caller threw for two,376 yards and 20 touchdowns with solely three interceptions this season. McCarthy is an elite-level athlete who will likely be requested to make use of his athleticism to make performs because the Wolverines attempt to hold tempo with a high-powered TCU offense that averages 40.3 factors per sport (sixth in FBS). Luckily for the Wolverines, McCarthy is enjoying his finest soccer of late. He has mixed for 424 yards and 7 whole touchdowns in his final two video games, which included a win over rival Ohio State within the crew’s regular-season finale and a victory over Purdue within the Large Ten Championship Recreation.

What’s at stake for Michigan and TCU?

What's at stake for Michigan and TCU?

Olusegun Oluwatimi, OL, Michigan

You wouldn’t anticipate an offensive lineman to be on this record, however Oluwatimi is an exception. A switch from Virginia, Oluwaitimi is excellent at each run and go blocking. He was named the winner of the Rimington Trophy, which is given to the perfect heart in faculty soccer, in addition to the Outland Trophy, which works to the perfect inside lineman. With Blake Corum unable to play as a consequence of harm, the Wolverines will rely on Oluwatimi to open some working gaps for Donovan Edwards, who has mixed to hurry for 401 yards and three touchdowns within the Wolverines’ final two video games.

Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

There are only a few cornerbacks throughout faculty soccer who possess each the pace and bodily stature to match up with Harrison Jr. Ringo, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound nook with 4.3 pace, is one in every of them. All eyes will likely be on this matchup as Ringo will likely be tasked with slowing down Harrison and the Buckeyes’ explosive offense. The proficient sophomore had a memorable 79-yard pick-six in final 12 months’s nationwide title sport that sealed the victory over SEC foe Alabama. Can historical past repeat itself?

C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud may not have a win over Michigan or a Large Ten title as a beginning QB on his résumé, however he does have the prospect to change into the primary Ohio State quarterback since 2014 to steer the Buckeyes to a nationwide title. Standing in his approach will likely be a nasty Georgia protection that has held opposing offenses to only 12.8 factors per sport this season, which ranks second amongst FBS groups. Stroud is nearly as good as anybody in faculty soccer in terms of making large performs along with his arm. He’s averaging 9.4 yards per completion, which ranks third within the nation, and has 37 landing passes, which is tied for fourth. After squeaking into the CFP following USC’s loss to Utah within the Pac-12 title sport, this can be a shot at redemption for Stroud and the Buckeyes, and an opportunity to show they belong amongst faculty soccer’s elite.

[Related: C.J. Stroud is still writing his Ohio State legacy]

Georgia and Ohio State face off in Peach Bowl

Georgia and Ohio State face off in Peach Bowl

Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU

Winner of the Jim Thorpe Award because the nation’s high defensive again, Hodges-Tomlinson could have the duty of shutting down a Michigan passing assault that torched the Buckeyes for 263 yards and three scores on Nov. 26. Hodges-Tomlinson isn’t a giant nook by any means — listed at 5-foot-9, 177 kilos — however he has loads of big-play capability and a knack for shutting down opposing crew’s high receivers.

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