Georgia and Michigan football took care of business in their respective conference championships on Saturday. Coupled with TCU’s OT loss in Saturday’s Big 12 title game and Southern Cal’s loss in Friday’s Pac-12 title game, that should give us a clear picture of the College Football Playoff semifinalists, which will be announced at noon Sunday on ESPN. Here’s a quick look at the final four, and how we think they’ll be seeded:
All averages entering Saturday’s games.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (13-0)
Offense: Scoring — 13th (38.3 points per game); Yards — 8th (488.8); Rushing yards — 22nd (203); Passing yards — 18th (285.8).
Defense: Scoring — 1st (11.3); Yards — 4th (270.6); Rushing yards — 2nd (79.5); Passing yards — 22nd (191.2).
Scouting report: King stay the king — Georgia hasn’t lost in the regular season since Nov. 7, 2020 — and the Wolverines are still having flashbacks to how they were manhandled by the Bulldogs in the Orange Bowl last December. Georgia lost a lot of that defense to the NFL … and still led the nation in fewest points allowed this season. Incredibly, no Bulldog reached 60 tackles, nine TFLs or four sacks during the regular season — but 15 had at least half a sack. On offense, you have to tip your hat to Stetson Bennett IV, who passed for 3,151 yards in the regular season, with 16 TDs and six interceptions, despite not having a receiver with 650 yards. (The Bulldogs spread it around, but Brock Bowers and Ladd McConkey are the major pass-catching threats.)
2. Michigan Wolverines (13-0)
Offense: Scoring — 8th (39.8); Yards — 24th (459.1); Rushing yards — 5th (244.5); Passing yards — 91st (214.6).
Defense: Scoring — 3rd (12.7); Yards — 2nd (262.2); Rushing yards — 3rd (84.8); Passing yards — 11th (177.3).
Scouting report: Jim Harbaugh’s squad doubled down on the ground-and-pound approach despite subbing in Blake Corum — and now Donovan Edwards after Corum’s season-ending knee surgery — for Hassan Haskins. So far, so good, even if the games haven’t exactly been thrilling — it’s like watching a snake eat an animal bigger than itself; once the jaw is unhinged, all that’s left is the digestion. Likewise, in nine games during the Big Ten season, the Wolverines allowed second-half touchdowns to just two opponents: Maryland on Sept. 24 and Illinois on Nov. 19. As much as the Corum injury drew attention this week, a more serious one could be defensive lineman Mike Morris, who missed the Big Ten title game with an injury suffered against Illinois.
3. TCU Horned Frogs (12-1)
Offense: Scoring — 3rd (41.3); Yards — 16th (473.3); Rushing yards — 27th (198.5); Passing yards — 25th (274.8).
Defense: Scoring — 53rd (24.5); Yards — 73rd (383.5); Rushing yards — 61st (144.8); Passing yards — 87th (238.7).
Scouting report: The Horned Frogs went from scrappy underdog on the outside to CFP lock to nervous observer over the past month. Their underlying stats — don’t stare too hard at the Frogs’ pass defenders or they’ll burst into flames — aren’t spectacular, and they only have two wins over teams in the most recent CFP rankings: No. 20 Texas and No. 10 Kansas State, which got its revenge with a 31-28 OT victory in the Big 12 title game. Nonconference wins over Colorado — potentially the worst Power Five school in the country — and FCS-level Tarleton State aren’t great, but at least TCU held off bowl-eligible SMU in September. Gulp. But an undefeated regular season has to mean something, right?
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)
Offense: Scoring — 2nd (44.5); Yards — 6th (492.7); Rushing yards — 27th (198.5); Passing yards — 15th (294.2).
Defense: Scoring — 13th (19.3); Yards — 11th (303.9); Rushing yards — 23rd (119.9); Passing yards — 15th (184).
Scouting report: Yeah, we know — we thought they were done, too, after turtling against the Wolverines harder than Claude Lemieux at The Joe. But here they are, thanks to a season-opening win over Notre Dame, which was still ranked No. 21 by the CFP committee on Tuesday, somehow. (The Irish finished 8-4 with losses to Marshall and Stanford — ugh.) The Buckeyes have struggled to stay healthy, with stars Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson missing big chunks of the season. But Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. have stepped up as sophomores, allowing QB C.J. Stroud to shine once more. OSU’s one loss is probably better than TCU’s one loss — but does the committee really want an OSU/U-M rematch in a semifinal?
Waiting in the wings: Alabama Crimson Tide
Offense: Scoring — 5th (40.8); Yards — 14th (475.7); Rushing yards — 29th (197.4); Passing yards — 23rd (278.3).
Defense: Scoring — 10th (18); Yards — 15th (311.3); Rushing yards — 30th (125.8); Passing yards — 17th (186).
Scouting report: Yeah, we know — we thought they were done, too, after coming up short in overtime against LSU, which wound up with four losses after Saturday’s rout by Georgia. But Nick Saban’s squad is like Michael Myers in "Halloween"; until you see the Crimson Tide actually take a snap in the Sugar Bowl, they’re ALWAYS a CFP candidate. The stars are still there in Tuscaloosa — QB Bryce Young will be a top-three pick in the NFL draft, and LB Will Anderson Jr. (with 58½ TFLs and 34½ sacks over 40 games) oughta be — but the Tide has missed that killer threat from years past, even as RB Jahmyr Gibbs has put up 1,228 yards from scrimmage, with 136 carried and 42 receptions.
This story was corrected to reflect Georgia's loss to Alabama in the 2021 SEC championship game.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football in College Football Playoff: Who will join them?