College Football Playoff: 2022-2023 Schedule and Season Highlights
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- Four teams — Georgia, Michigan, Texas Christian University (TCU), and Ohio State — faced off in the semifinal championship games on New Year's Eve.
- Georgia, last year's national champion, beat out Ohio State, and TCU won against Michigan.
- On Jan. 9, Georgia became the 2023 college football national champion team, beating out TCU in a historic 65-7 win.
A national championship is one of the highest honors a team can earn in college sports. Four college football teams competed in a postseason playoff to see who would win the three-foot, 24-karat-gold, bronze, and stainless steel trophy — and bragging rights, of course.
To start the 2023 National Championship game, Coach Kirby Smart for Georgia emphasized one objective for the Bulldogs: aggression. And that they delivered. The Georgia Bulldogs ultimately won the championship by an unprecedented margin, beating the TCU Horned Frogs by 58 points.
It all started on New Year's Eve, when Georgia played Ohio State at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and Michigan took on TCU at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Ranked No. 1
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ranked No. 4
With just under a minute left in the game, Georgia's Stetson Bennett threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to surpass Ohio State by a single point. According to ESPN, the Bulldogs completed the largest fourth-quarter comeback in College Football Playoff history.
Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Ranked No. 3
Ranked No. 2
Underdogs Texas Christian struck down Big 10 powerhouse Michigan in the highest-scoring Fiesta Bowl of all time, according to ESPN.
2023 College Football Playoff National Championship
Ranked No. 1
Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Ranked No. 3
Georgia had an undefeated record of 13-0 in the regular season. TCU ended 12-1, their only loss being to Kansas State.
On Jan. 9, at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California, Georgia pummeled TCU by the largest score margin in the history of college football title games. They also became the first team to receive back-to-back honors in the College Football Playoff era.
The Horned Frogs, led by Heisman-finalist quarterback Max Duggan, only accounted for one touchdown in the first half, and after, they did not answer 55 consecutive Georgia points.
What to Know About the Teams in the Playoff
All four programs that made the playoff have earned at least one national championship since the Associated Press Poll era began in 1936.
The Bulldogs took home their second consecutive win, adding a tally to their number of championships since 1936. If TCU had won, it would have been their first national championship since 1938.
|School||Number of Championships Since 1936||Last Year Won|
Michigan, the team that entered the playoff with the most national championships, hasn't taken home the title since 1997. Meanwhile, Ohio State has played in five of the last nine college football semifinals — and made it to two national championships.
Before New Year's Eve, all four teams in the semifinal matchups were facing each other for the first time in years — maybe ever.
- Georgia and Ohio State had only played each other one time — in 1993. Georgia won the game by a touchdown in Columbus, Ohio.
- Michigan and TCU were facing each other for the first time in their programs' history during the Fiesta Bowl.
The top-four teams all made their mark in postseason awards this year.
Each had a player who earned Heisman Trophy votes: Stetson Bennett from Georgia, C.J. Stroud from Ohio State, Max Duggan from TCU, and Blake Corum from Michigan.
Additionally, three of the four coaches were finalists for the 2022 Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award: Sonny Dykes of TCU, Kirby Smart of Georgia, and Jim Harbaugh of Michigan.
2022-2023 Football Season Highlights, Rankings, and Records
The four playoff teams were not always at the top. Ohio State and Georgia started the season in the top four and fought to stay up until Week 15, but TCU and Michigan battled their way to the top.
Georgia has kept the Southeastern Conference (SEC) name alive in the playoff, rising from third to first. Ohio State dropped slightly from the preseason to Week 15, following their loss to Michigan in the final weeks of the season. Meanwhile, Michigan rose from eighth to second after earning a perfect record.
Remarkably, TCU shocked everyone, rising from an unranked position to third in the country in a matter of weeks.
|Ranking||Preseason||Week 7||Week 15|
|2||Ohio State||Ohio State||Michigan|
|7||Utah||University of Southern California||Utah|
|8||Michigan||Oklahoma State||University of Southern California|
|9||Oklahoma||Ole Miss||Penn State|
Other teams have had significant journeys this season — for better or for worse. According to ESPN:
- Alabama, a powerhouse in the SEC, dropped from the top preseason ranking to fifth in the span of 15 weeks. The Crimson Tide recently beat Kansas State, the only team to beat TCU this season, in the Sugar Bowl by 25 points.
- TCU, Tennessee, the University of Southern California, and Penn State all ended up in the Top 10 rankings from an unranked position in the preseason.
- At the same time, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Baylor fell off the ranking wagon by Week 15.
- Clemson, a top four contender through Week 7, dropped to 10th place in the back half of the season.
- The University of Southern California's Caleb Williams took home the season's Heisman Trophy.
Even though none of these players or teams ended up in the playoff, they still provided plenty of highlights this season. As of Jan. 9, these were the players and teams that held offensive and defensive records, per NCAA College Football Statistics.
- Austin Reed from Western Kentucky passed for 4,746 yards, placing him in the lead spot by 105 yards.
- Brad Roberts from the Air Force, rushed for 1,728 yards, putting him in the top spot for rushing yards.
- The Tennessee Volunteers had the highest-scoring offense overall, with 46.1 points per game on average.
- Illinois allowed only 12.77 points per game on average, ranking them first in scoring defenses.
What Made This Season Special?
Additionally, some of this season's best storylines came from the top four teams.
TCU Proved Everyone Wrong, Regardless of the Championship Outcome
Coming off a 5-7 season last year, TCU hired a new coach, Sonny Dykes, the Big 12 Coach of the Year. Dykes led his team to not only a winning season but nearly an undefeated one. Coming off their only loss of the season against Kansas State for the Big 12 championship, this underdog team won the rest of their games to make their way onto the biggest stage in college football.
Is Georgia the Next Alabama?
The Alabama Crimson Tide dominated the college football scene for the past two decades, winning six national championships since 2009. But some fans think Georgia's dynasty is here to stay, and it might outrun the Tide. Especially after Georgia won the SEC championship handily by 20 points, and of course, became national champions for a second year in a row in 2023.
Do Ohio State and Michigan Have the Best Rivalry?
The two powerhouse programs in the Big Ten have developed one of the most recognized rivalries in college football. In fact, some Big Ten fans even deem their annual matchup "The Game."
Prior to 2021, Ohio State had been the clear victor, dominating eight years in a row, according to the NCAA. But Michigan has won for the last two years.