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CFP National Championship Preview: What’s at Stake

The Horned Frogs are seeking their first national title since 1938. Georgia looks to repeat as back-to-back winners.

Syndication: Arizona Republic Joe Rondone / USA TODAY NETWORK

Monday evening’s College Football Playoff National Championship between No. 3 TCU and No. 1 Georgia will feature different stakes for both programs. The Horned Frogs enter uncharted territory as they seek their first national title since 1938, while the Bulldogs return to familiar grounds in an attempt to claim consecutive national championships. The Big 12 hasn’t won a national championship since 2005 (Texas), while the SEC has claimed three straight titles as well as 12 of the last 16 titles since the Longhorns earned the crown.

Georgia has made three College Football Playoff appearances since the four-team bracket’s inception, reaching the finals all three times and finishing with a 1-1 record over the first two games. In it’s first-ever appearance, TCU became the first Big 12 school to win a College Football Playoff game. Oklahoma has been the only other Big 12 program to reach the College Football Playoff, making four appearances and losing in the semifinals all four times. The Horned Frogs are 5-2 in postseason games since entering the Big 12 Conference and are currently riding a three-game winning streak that includes the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl victory against California and the 2017 Alamo Bowl victory against Stanford.

TCU and Georgia last met in the 2016 Liberty Bowl, where the Bulldogs held off the Horned Frogs for a 31-23 victory. It’s the last time the Horned Frogs have lost a postseason game. Georgia has slowly climbed to the top of the college football world since Kirby Smart took over as head coach of the Bulldogs, stringing together a 80-15 record as well as a 48-9 record in the SEC. Georgia has won at least 11 games in five of the last six seasons and the Bulldogs secured consecutive 14-win seasons after beating Ohio State in the Peach Bowl.

Georgia has lost only two postseason games under Smart, falling against Texas 28-21 in the 2019 Sugar Bowl. In the College Football Playoff era, defending champions are 0-4 in the national championship. Georgia has also emerged as a betting favorite, currently holding a double-digit spread over the Horned Frogs, who are undefeated this season as underdogs. A win in the national title would be the first for a Big 12 team in the College Football Playoff era and a record-setting season for the Horned Frogs, who tied a program record with 13 victories after upsetting Michigan 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday afternoon.