TCU-Georgia: Can Frogs give ’Dogs hell? After the best semis ever, don’t doubt it


Sonny Dykes and TCU are ready to rock and roll in the title game against Georgia.

Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Believe it or not?

That’s the question.

I want to believe TCU can give Georgia hell Monday in the college football title game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

I want to believe the Horned Frogs (13-1) — 12½-point underdogs, the largest spread for the season finale in nine years of the playoff — can stagger the Bulldogs (14-0) with big plays like they did against Michigan in a semifinal for the ages.

I want to believe the same Georgia pass defense that gave up over 500 yards to LSU in the SEC championship game, and then 348 yards and four touchdowns to Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud in a 42-41 semifinal shootout, won’t be able to stop TCU’s Max Duggan from matching Bulldogs counterpart Stetson Bennett touchdown drive for touchdown drive.

Really, after those spectacular semis, I just want more of the same.

It’s still an incredible story that TCU has been so good. How does a team go from 5-7 in 2021 to the mountaintop a year later? How does Duggan go from non-starter coming out of training camp to the clutchest quarterback in the land? There hasn’t been a team since Michigan State in 1962 that followed up a losing season by winning it all. TCU hasn’t won a title since 1938, when the great Davey O’Brien was under center.

Alabama has reached the championship game six times, Clemson four times, Georgia three times and Ohio State twice. The one-timers — Oregon, LSU and now TCU — are like interlopers. Is this real? Will it last? But it doesn’t matter. The Frogs are here with no apologies.

“We have all the pieces,” coach Sonny Dykes said. “We just have to put them all together, and we’ve got to do things the right way. We have to be willing to pay the price. And those guys believe that. They’ve believed it from Day One.”

But do I believe it? Georgia 49, Oregon 3 in the season opener — still the best any team has looked all season — is replaying in my mind. Georgia held Tennessee’s No. 1-ranked offense to 13 points, another reminder of how great the defending champs, who are going for a school-record-tying 17th win in a row, can be.

Final score: ’Dogs 52, Frogs 38.

Georgia pulls off the first back-to-back since Alabama did it in 2011 and 2012.


Georgia coach Kirby Smart isn’t about to acknowledge the perceived talent gap between these teams. One roster is packed with five- and four-star recruits and the other, well, not by a longshot.

“You got what you got,” Smart said, “and what you do with what you have is what makes you a coach.”

But Dykes getting here in Year 1 at TCU is legendary stuff. Smart is shouldering all the pressure. …

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh takes in the semifinal loss to TCU.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Did you catch Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s statement released late in the week in response to NFL coaching rumors?

“While no one knows what the future holds,” he said, “I expect that I will be enthusiastically coaching Michigan in 2023.”

But Harbaugh and the program are under NCAA investigation for rules violations, most of them minor. The most serious — or Level I — allegation is that Harbaugh failed to cooperate with investigators.

“Captain Comeback” isn’t going to have a whole lot of patience for punishment. …

Five teams — Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Rutgers and Michigan — sit atop the Big Ten basketball standings at 3-1. Is anybody really betting on a team not on that list to finish first in the conference? Even with a long way to go, that’s a whole lot of hurdling. …

Watching Zach LaVine bury 11 threes and drop 41 points on the 76ers on Friday sure wasn’t bad. Not to tell Bulls coach Billy Donovan how to do his job, but maybe he should dial up the ol’ everything-Zach-throws-up-goes-in strategy a bit more often. …

Prediction: Vikings 4, Bears 3.

In case it wasn’t clear, that’s four Vikings interceptions to three Bears points on Sunday.

It’s going to be ugly.


CFB: TCU vs. Georgia (Monday, 6:30 p.m., ESPN): What, giving you the final score wasn’t enough?

CBB: Villanova at DePaul (Tuesday, 8 p.m., CBSSN): The Blue Demons have lost 20 straight in this series, which kind of says it all. But the Wildcats are a run-of-the-mill 8-8 this season, so … maybe?

Jayson Tatum: scoring machine.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Celtics at Nets (Thursday, 6:30 p.m., TNT): The top two squads in the East? Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant each clocking in with over 30 points per game? Sounds like a plan.


Nathan Peterman: The Bears’ backup, who will start Sunday, has thrown three TD passes and 13 INTs in his career. Buckle in for three painfully long hours of the Peterman Reality Tour.

Chase Claypool: OK, so we still don’t really know if the Bears wide receiver can catch the football. But can he tackle an opposing defender who catches the football?

Patrick Mahomes: OK, so he has the most total yards in NFL single-season history and is a shoo-in for league MVP. But he still can’t act a lick in those dang commercials.

Seth Jones: It’s not like the Blackhawks have to worry about Jones embarrassing them with his play at the All-Star Game. Though it might be embarrassing for Jones if word gets out about which NHL team he plays for.

Nick Saban: The College Football Playoff keeps going on without him. There’s gonna be hell to pay.

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