The NFL regular season ended yesterday, which means today is the day coaches get fired. Or Sunday night if you're Lovie Smith. Lovie -- who further cemented himself as the greatest Chicago Bears coach of my lifetime by beating the Colts. He was joined by Arizona's Kliff Kingsbury Monday.
Kingsbury isn't the only change in the desert, as general manager Steve Keim is stepping down from his role to "focus on his health." Both received contract extensions before the season, and now the Cardinals are starting over. Elsewhere, it doesn't look like the Patriots will be doing the same. Bill Belichick confirmed he has no plans to leave New England and plans to return for his 24th season in 2023.
In non-NFL coaching news:
- The Chargers and Giants are the NFL's true wild cards this postseason.
- Jalen Hurts was "hurting bad" yesterday.
- Ryan Wilson has released his first mock since the Bears secured the No. 1 pick.
- There's a pretty big game at SoFi Stadium tonight.
OK, let's make some money.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 3 TCU, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
- Key Trend: The over is 4-1 in Georgia's last five games.
- The Pick: Over 63 (-110)
Tonight will be somewhat bittersweet. I'm excited about watching a national title game and finding out whether Georgia will establish itself as the premier program in the country or if TCU can finish the biggest Cinderella story in modern college football history. That said, I can't escape the fact that this is the final game of the college football season.
While I enjoy many different sports, there is no season I enjoy as thoroughly as the college football season. That includes the games themselves and all the dumb arguments surrounding them. After tonight, it'll be a long wait until we begin them again.
For now, let's try to figure out what's going to happen in the game. As I write this, Georgia is a 13-point favorite, and that line feels a bit too right. So, I think the total seems like a much sharper play. While having an elite defense often separates the good teams from the truly great, it's offense that wins national titles. The last two years, Georgia's defense has overshadowed an offense that is written off too easily. Stetson Bennett isn't going to be a first-round draft pick, but he's been brilliant for Georgia when they need him.
Plus, we've had eight CFP title games, and they've averaged 64.5 points. Only two have finished below 60 points, and while Georgia played in both those games, last year's game was trending in the over direction until Alabama's Jameson Williams went down with a torn ACL. Georgia's defense is not the unit we saw last season. Good offenses have been able to move the ball on it, and TCU has an explosive offense. On the other side, TCU's defense is better than most give it credit for, but it's not one of the best in the country and hasn't been all season.
Georgia should move the ball effectively tonight, and TCU will move it as well.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's Josh Nagel is 12-3 in his last 15 ATS picks involving the Georgia Bulldogs, and he's got a play available for tonight's national title game.
💰 More CFP National Championship picks
The Pick: Taye Barber Over 35.5 yards receiving (-104) -- This is a prop offering some excellent value tonight. Georgia has one of the most talented corners in the country in Kelee Ringo, and I'm confident he'll be tasked with stopping TCU's Quentin Johnston. Johnston is the focal point of TCU's passing attack. He was targeted 94 times this season, which is 36 more targets than any other player on the team received (Derius Davis with 58).
Georgia will want to remove him from the picture as much as possible and force the team's other receivers to beat them.
Well, Taye Barber and Derius Davis might not be Quentin Johnston, but they're both good players, and Taye Barber may benefit the most. Barber is second to Johnston in yards per reception at 16.81 and averages over 10.2 air yards per target. He's either catching the ball behind the line of scrimmage on a screen or getting vertical. Barber may hit this over on one play.
The Pick: Stetson Bennett Over 0.5 Interceptions (+104) -- While I wasn't one of the voters to include Stetson Bennett on my Heisman ballot this season, I've long been a defender of the Georgia QB. Listen, Bennett is not the prototype, but he's effective and has beaten Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud in playoff games. He could beat another Heisman finalist in Max Duggan tonight.
Yet here I am, taking the interception prop! You see, Bennett's numbers have dropped off in some key areas this season, but he's improved his interception rate. It was 2.4% last year, and it's down to 1.6% this year. However, Bennett threw two interceptions against Mississippi State earlier this season. Why does that matter? Mississippi State runs a similar 3-3-5 defense to the one TCU deploys. It was the only time Bennett has seen one all season, and it gave him problems. Don't be shocked if it baits him into another mistake tonight.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Projection Model and analyst Eric Cohen have shared all their favorite plays and parlays for tonight's title game.