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college soccer The season reaches its climax on Monday as the Herald Georgia Bulldogs attempt to defend their title against the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University (TCU).
For many players, this will be their last shot at collegiate glory before starting their professional careers.
Georgia heads to the SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, having remained unbeaten so far this season with history in their sights as the defending champions.
No team has won consecutive national titles since Alabama in 2011 and 2012, and none since the advent of the reformed College Football Playoff in 2014.
Meanwhile, TCU entered the season outside the nation’s top 25 programs and with a rookie coach in Sonny Dykes—no coach of such inexperience has ever reached, let alone won, the College Football Playoff championship game.
To describe their season as an underdog story would be an understatement, with an unexpected 51-45 win over previously unbeaten Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl last weekend the latest in a string of remarkable results.
The quarterbacks on both teams will look to boost their stocks ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Georgia’s Stetson Bennett is already 25, but it will be hard for teams to overlook the back-to-back national championship signal-caller even if he were to be selected in the later rounds.
Bennett’s calling card is his ability to stay calm late in games, which was demonstrated by his composure in the comeback victory over Ohio State last week. According to the NCAA, his third touchdown pass of the game, with only 54 seconds remaining, made the Bulldogs the first team in College Football Playoff history to come back from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit.
The Horned Frogs’ Max Duggan finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting for his central role in this Cinderella story of a season — but is also likely to find himself drafted in a later round instead of at the top of the board. .
Outside the quarterback position, Bulldogs’ cornerback Kelly Ringo has impressed all season, as has left tackle Broderick Jones.
Georgia fans will have fond memories of Ringo in the championship games, considering it was his pick-six that affected the game against Alabama in 2022.
Player health will surely be in the spotlight after one of the darkest weeks in NFL and football history with the on-field collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin sent shockwaves through the game and beyond.
With many people involved in the sport either moving to professional leagues or with aspirations of doing so, the events of last Monday were a stark reminder of the mortality of players ahead of a match often described as a shot at sustainability. Is. Sports Science.
That said, if TCU manages to defeat one of college football’s modern powerhouses, it would be hard to overstate the scale of their achievement. The Horned Dogs have not won a national title since 1938, and no team from the Big 12 Conference has won the national title since 2005.
After a week where results rightfully took a back seat, Monday’s fixture will provide a welcome return to the ebb and flow of high-stakes college sporting theater.