Georgia football earns No. 1 seed in College Football Playoff, to play Ohio State

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Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart celebrates their 50-30 win against the LSU Tigers during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Saturday, December 3, 2022, in Atlanta. Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

For the third time in program history, Georgia will participate in the College Football Playoff. This time around, Georgia is the No. 1 seed and will play Ohio State. The other matchup will see No. 2 Michigan take on TCU.

Georgia football will play Ohio State at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 31 in Atlanta. The Michigan Wolverines will take on TCU in Glendale, Az.

The semifinals take place on Dec. 31. The championship game is set for Jan. 9 in Los Angeles.

The Bulldogs marched through the regular season, going 13-0 on their way to an SEC championship. Only one of their games was decided by single digits, a 26-22 road win over Missouri back on Oct. 1.

Georgia won the SEC championship on Saturday with a 50-30 win over LSU. It marks the second time under Kirby Smart that the Bulldogs have won the SEC.

Smart wasn’t too worried about possible playoff matchups when speaking with reporters on Saturday after the win over LSU.

“I tried not to pay attention to any of it. I didn’t have any games on or anything. I haven’t heard anything to even know what’s going on. It didn’t matter,” Smart said. “To me, that’s so far away that, like, we don’t control it. Number two, so far away you got time to prepare for it. My focus has been on this because I told those kids, I don’t want one kid to walk out of our program without an SEC championship ring for their career. That was about to happen if we didn’t get that one. They said enough was enough tonight. They got ‘em one.”

Stetson Bennett won offensive MVP honors, as he threw for four touchdowns in the win. Chris Smith won the defensive MVP award, as he came down with an interception and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown.

This is the second-straight season the Bulldogs have made the College Football Playoff. Last season saw Georgia enter as the No. 3 seed. The Bulldogs beat Michigan in the semifinals before taking down Alabama in the championship game.

No team has gone back-to-back in the College Football Playoff era, something the Bulldogs will be attempting.

“For me and Chris, it took us a while to get here, right,” Bennett said. “Really no option but to play well now, right? When things start going bad, what are you going to do? Stop? Like no. We knew how hard it was to play for the University of Georgia, right? So now we’ll do almost anything to win. I think we have a lot of older guys like that.”

Georgia football also made the College Football Playoff in 2017. Having now made it three times, only Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State have more appearances than the Bulldogs.

Smart will speak with reporters later this afternoon to offer his initial thoughts on the matchup. But the College Football Playoff won’t be the only thing on Smart’s mind, as recruiting and the transfer portal will also force Smart to consider the future of his roster. The early signing period begins on Dec. 21.

As for the players, they will enjoy the SEC championship, knowing it has another big goal to possibly attain.

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