Cinderella runs in college football do not happen very often. In fact, teams competing for the national championship tend to be the same. Whether it is Alabama, Georgia, or even Ohio State, they’re all consistent competitors. However, the 2022 season has an underdog team that has managed to make it all the way to the national championship.
The TCU Horned Frogs find themselves just four quarters away from their program’s first national title in the CFP era (2014) and their second in the poll era (1938). The only thing standing in their way? The defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs. Can the cinderella run for TCU end in a title? Let’s discuss this.
Reason One: Max Duggan
Having a Heisman finalist quarterback is always helpful. Duggan is the heart and soul of the TCU offense. It can be argued that Duggan is the sole reason this team is in the national title. Against Michigan, Duggan was nothing spectacular, but he made the necessary plays.
His final stat line was 14 for 29, 225 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Every time Duggan made a mistake, he would rebound the next drive and produce points. Duggan made the throws and his favorite receiver turned it into points. Quentin Johnson caught six passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. Johnson is going to be a first-round pick but he can thank Duggan for making some crucial plays to get him the ball in space.
Max Duggan might not have won the Heisman but he has definitely shown why he was a finalist. Duggan has one final test against the defending champs but it will be the toughest test of the season. Duggan has the tools to turn this game into a showcase for why he is a superstar this year for the cinderella Horned Frogs.
If the Frogs are going to win and complete this cinderella run, Duggan is the guy who has to lead the charge. Protect him on the line, give him time to find his receivers and the Frogs can win it.
Reason Two: Defense Will Be Key
As much as TCU wants Duggan to be the sole reason they win, their defense is also going to be key. They forced two interceptions and recovered a fumble which was vital to their win over Michigan. They managed to force JJ McCarthy into mistakes but Stetson Bennett is the seasoned veteran and does not mess up often.
The ideal situation is that TCU wins in the trenches and pressures Bennett. Georgia also put up 40-plus in their own bowl game. Stopping Bennett and company from making their own big plays is priority number one now. Whether that is forcing turnovers or simply forcing Georgia to punt, TCU has to take their Fiesta Bowl performance and double it.
Reason Three: Big Play Ability
Georgia has shown the ability to make big plays but TCU is the best team in the country when it comes to big plays. Duggan and Johnson have made a killing this season on huge plays that are anywhere between 50-70 yards. TCU’s longest play of the season is 80 yards and they even had a 76-yard touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl. Their big play ability has kept them in games all season long.
Like I said before, Georgia has big play ability as well. Their longest of the season is 83 yards including their own 76-yard play in the Peach Bowl. The big difference here is that TCU has been successful all season with big plays whereas Georgia rarely needs them. If this TCU offense can put together another game full of big plays, this cinderella run will end with a title.
Final Thoughts/Prediction On TCU’s Cinderella Run
TCU has all the pieces to win this game and people see that now. The only piece they are missing? Experience in the big show/the title game. The Big 12 title is nothing compared to the national championship. To be the best in college football, you have to beat the best and Georgia is the best and more.
This run by Duggan and company is like Joe Burrow and LSU. This is the kind of run that skyrockets a player on draft boards. Cementing your legacy as a team to go from unranked to national champion is the perfect way to go out.
However, TCU does not have the experience needed folks. Georgia will win this game in the trenches and tire out TCU. The Frogs might have found a way against Michigan but Georgia is the best of the best. The Bulldogs will beat them outright and show why they are the only team worthy of the title this season.
Sorry TCU fans, this entire article sounds like I have TCU winning, but that is false.
Final score prediction: Georgia 38, TCU 28