College football: Georgia welcomes Ohio State for the Peach Bowl
Atlanta, Georgia - Will Georgia defeat Ohio State to garner the Bulldogs' second appearance in the College Football Playoff National Championship, or will the Buckeyes pull off one of the biggest upsets of the season?
The reigning national champions will take on The Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff Peach Bowl semifinal on New Year's Eve in Atlanta.
The Bulldogs are coming off of championship weekend with its first SEC title win since 2017, and will enter what's likely to feel like home game with Georgia as the betting favorites.
Led by an unexpected Heisman finalist Stetson Bennett, the Bulldogs have been in great shape this season and nearly resemble a better version of Michigan on the field, who were the only team to defeat the Buckeyes this season.
Georgia arguably has the most well-rounded team, with both the offense and defense dominating play after play.
To add more weight to the heavy load the Buckeyes are carrying into the showdown, Georgia will likely have some sort of home field advantage, as the bowl game is set to take place in Atlanta.
Still, the one team in college football that can hang player for player with Georgia is the Buckeyes!
If Ohio State gets enough healthy players back, the Buckeyes might have the Bulldogs whimpering, and not playing in the Big Ten Championship serves as extra time for this wounded team to heal.
The Buckeyes will land in Atlanta without a star player and offensive coordinator
Just days following the news that the Buckeyes' made it into the CFP, the team was hit with rough news.
Smith-Njigba entered the season as one of the most decorated players in college football and the nation's top wide receiver draft prospect, but a lingering hamstring injury has kept the star athlete sidelined all year.
Last year, the wideout broke the Big Ten record with 1,606 receiving yards that included his historic Rose Bowl performance where he caught 15 passes for 347 yards – the most in a bowl game in FBS history – and secured three touchdowns.
In the same day that Smith-Njigba revealed his playoff absence, Ohio State's offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson announced his departure from the team to become Tulsa's next head coach.
While it is typical for a coach whose team made it to the semifinal to depart following the big game, Wilson has already left the Buckeyes' program.
The Ohio State football team has yet to reveal who will replace Wilson as offensive coordinator. Current wide receivers coach Brian Hartline mat just be the next best candidate in line with a short preparation time ahead of the New Year's Eve Peach bowl.
The Ohio State will take on Georgia in the Peach Bowl on December 31 at 8 PM EST on ESPN.
Cover photo: Collage: TODD KIRKLAND / BEN JACKSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP