Playoff field set: Georgia vs. Ohio State; Michigan vs. TCU

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Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Ohio State were chosen Sunday to play in the College Football Playoff, giving the Big Ten multiple teams in the four-team field for the first time.

The defending national champion and top-ranked Bulldogs and fourth-seeded Buckeyes will meet Dec. 31 at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The second-seeded Wolverines and third-ranked Horned Frogs, the lone first-timer in the final four, will play at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, the same day.

The national championship game is scheduled for Jan. 10 at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California, and it could a rematch of Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Michigan. The rivalry dates to 1902, but the Buckeyes and Wolverines have never played outside of their annual regular-season game.

With some drama, but not much controversy, the CFP selection committee’s top four fell into place over the championship weekend. The most interesting part of the unveiling was whether the committee would pair Michigan and Ohio State in the semifinals and if Alabama might be able to slip in as the first two-loss playoff team.

In the end, the committee sprung no surprises.

Georgia (13-0) won the Southeastern Conference championship game in a rout and coach Michigan (13-0) similar took the the Big Ten title.

TCU (12-1) suffered is first loss of the season in the Big 12 championship, falling in overtime to Kansas State. The loss made it an uneasy night for Heisman Trophy contender Max Duggan and the Horned Frogs, but in the end they had already built enough equity during their improbable season to stay in the top four.

Ohio State (11-1) was given a second life in the playoff race when Southern California lost the Pac-12 championship game Friday night. A week after star quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes lost at home to coach Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, they slipped into the final playoff spot, the best of a flawed batch of contenders.

Alabama (10-2) was fifth in the committee rankings, missing the CFP for just the second time in its nine-year history. The Crimson Tide, with a little lobbying from coach Nick Saban, were hoping to become the first team to lose two games and make the playoff.

The committee instead simply moved Ohio State from fifth last week to fourth this week, setting up just the second matchup ever between the Bulldogs and Buckeyes. The only time Georgia and Ohio State have played was in the 1992 Citrus Bowl, a Buckeyes’ victory.

For Georgia, it is the second straight CFP appearance and third overall. This time, though, coach Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs enter as the No. 1 team and clear favorite after following up last season’s national title with a perfect season.

Stetson Bennett and the ’Dawgs will try to become the first team to repeat as College Football Playoff champions.

Ohio State is making its fifth playoff appearance. The last time the Buckeyes were the fourth seed was 2014, when they won their last national title.

Michigan is in for the second time, again as the second seed after losing to Georgia in the Orange Bowl last season.

TCU becomes just the 13th different school make the field in nine years. That lack of variety is one of the main reasons the CFP will be expanding to 12 teams in the 2024 season.

The Horned Frogs, whose only national title came in 1938, have never played Michigan.

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

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INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.

THE TAKEAWAY

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.

DIALING UP TRICKERY

Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

QB Cade McNamara leaving Michigan, transferring to Iowa

Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Cade McNamara, the backup quarterback at Michigan this season, has announced he’ll transfer to Iowa.

McNamara tweeted “New Beginning” with a picture of him in an Iowa uniform Thursday night. He presumably will go into next season as the front-runner for the starting job and have two seasons of eligibility.

McNamara started every game for the Wolverines in 2021 but lost the job to J.J. McCarthy after the opener. McNamara appeared in the second and third games, taking a total of 16 snaps, and didn’t play again.

The Hawkeyes (7-5) finished the regular season 130th out of 131 Bowl Subdivision teams in total offense and averaged just 17.4 points per game.

Spencer Petras struggled most of the season as Iowa’s starter and missed most of last week’s game against Nebraska with an upper body injury. He has one year of eligibility, if he decides to use the waiver granted because of the COVID-19 season in 2020.

Alex Padilla, who backed up Petras, is in the transfer portal. Joe Labas also is on the roster.