TCU vs Georgia CFP National Championship Game X-Factors: Barber May Benefit Most From Bulldogs' Game Plan

With star Bulldogs corner Kelee Ringo matched up against Quinton Johnston, Taye Barber could see the most volume from Max Duggan on Monday night in Inglewood. Find out more in our National Championship Game X-factors for TCU vs. Georgia.

Last Updated: Jan 9, 2023 4:50 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Taye Barber TCU Horned Frogs NCAAF
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The College Football Playoff National Championship game is upon us, and it’s one of the most intriguing matchups in years as the TCU Horned Frogs face the Georgia Bulldogs.

National Championship odds have the Bulldogs listed as a nearly two-touchdown favorite in this title game, but no matter who wins, the story will be incredible. Georgia could achieve the rare feat of defending its national title, or TCU could cap off one of the most magical runs in college football history.

How that winner is determined could come down to a few key factors. I highlight a couple for both the Horned Frogs and the Dawgs and give you college football player props to pair with each.

Be sure to also check out our full TCU vs. Georgia picks, as well as our favorite National Championship game props before kickoff. 

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CFP National Championship Game X-factors

Max Duggan's legs

TCU quarterback Max Duggan is a gamer. Of course, he has a solid arm and is looking to beat you downfield with a stellar wide receiver corps. However, he is also more than willing to make some plays happen with his legs.

Duggan has rumbled for 461 yards this season and totaled more than 40 yards rushing in seven of TCU’s 14 games this season. If the Horned Frogs want to pull off the shocking upset, they will not only need a big game from Duggan’s arm, but him to produce on the ground as well.

Duggan and the Horned Frogs have been able to study how Ohio State moved the pocket in the Peach Bowl to not only negate some of the Georgia pass rush, but also give CJ Stroud more time to find his receivers down the field.

But while Stroud likes to work his progressions, Duggan is more likely to tuck it run. Take the Over on his rushing total in the big game. 

Prop: Max Duggan Over 31.5 rushing yards (-115 at bet365)

Ball-hawking Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs would love nothing more than to cap this magical season with a stunning upset in the national championship. In that case, they are going to have to force the Bulldogs into some turnovers, just like they did against Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl, recording two pick-sixes.

Now, TCU doesn’t necessarily need to get multiple pick-sixes to pull off the upset. But turnovers, and more importantly, scoring points off them, is a must. This Horned Frogs team is used to that, ranking 16th in the country in takeaways per game.

So, what’s the best prop for backing the ball-hawking? That’s got to be by taking Stetson Bennett to go Over his interception total. Luckily, it’s set at 0.5 and is paying out at close to even money.

While Bennett has only thrown seven picks all season, one came in the Peach Bowl against Ohio State, and two came against Mississippi State (which runs a similar 3-3-5 defense).

Bennett’s gunslinger mentality gives him confidence but also means he’ll try to fit some balls into some windows that aren’t very big.

Prop: Stetson Bennett Over 0.5 interceptions (-110 at bet365)

Ringo star

The national championship could very much be decided by the play of star Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo. The Bulldogs' defensive back has been talked about as the potential top corner to go in the next NFL Draft. 

We’ve also seen Ringo struggle in recent games against LSU and Ohio State. Now he’ll spend the title game matched up against star TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston, who is likely to be the first wideout selected in the draft.

Johnston is a monster and Duggan’s favorite target by a wide margin. He’s big, athletic, and fast. But so too is Ringo, and he is one of the few corners in the nation that can match up with Johnston. While Ringo has looked a little shaky the last couple of games, I don’t hate this matchup for him.

Ringo has struggled with receivers who are quick and shifty, making multiple cuts. Luckily, Johnston is more of a one-cut-and-go kind of guy. Ringo could bounce back on the biggest stage and force Duggan to look somewhere else.

In this case, Taye Barber could benefit most from Ringo locking down one side of the field. 

Prop: Taye Barber Over 36.5 receiving yards (-115 at bet365)

New dawgs, new tricks

Anyone who has followed Georgia football in recent years knows the Bulldogs play defense and run the football at an elite level. 

But with the emergence of Bennett and his gunslinger mentality, the Dawgs have learned how to move the ball through the air.

With the likes of Brock Bowers and Ladd McConkey leading the way, Georgia ranked seventh in the nation when it came to yards per pass attempt. Bennett also got another new toy for the Peach Bowl when former four-star recruit Adonai Mitchell (who missed most of the season) returned to the Bulldogs lineup.

All Mitchell did was catch three balls for 43 yards and what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. 

On Monday, Bennett and his multitude of weapons go against a Horned Frogs secondary that loves to ball hawk. That might cost them as they have allowed the sixth-most passing plays of 20-plus yards in the entire country.

The somewhat forgotten Mitchell may be a big difference-maker in the Bulldogs’ quest to repeat as national champs.

Prop: Adonai Mitchell Over 35.5 receiving yards (-125 at DraftKings)


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