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Georgia and Ohio State Know All About No. 4 Seeds Making Title Runs

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Besides, he added, the seedings at this point aren’t any greater than “two numbers in front of any individual’s name.”

On paper and within the pregame judgments of oddsmakers, at the very least, the Bulldogs, who’re 13-0 and won the Southeastern Conference title with ease, face an especially formidable obstacle to achieve the Jan. 9 championship game against No. 2 Michigan or No. 3 Texas Christian, who will joust in Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State, the primary program to vault from No. 4 seed to national champion within the playoff era, arrived in Atlanta with an 11-1 record, its Michigan-induced scar an awfully big one. (“Every game you play at Ohio State has got huge magnitude,” Coach Ryan Day said, “and should you don’t think so, try losing a game.”)

However the Buckeyes, just like the Bulldogs, have fairly often shined.

Ohio State averaged 492.7 yards per game this season; Georgia had 491.9. Georgia’s defense, the perfect within the Football Bowl Subdivision at stopping rushers, is way more vulnerable through the air, where Ohio State led the Big Ten Conference. The Bulldogs surrendered about 292 total yards a game, the Buckeyes allowed about 304, and each defenses proved expert on third downs.

“Those guys are great,” Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia’s starting center for this season and last yr’s championship run, said with a measure of awe as he freehanded a drawing of his university’s mascot. Overconfidence, he suggested, was not endemic in Georgia’s locker room since the Bulldogs knew it will be detrimental against a team as fast and physical as Ohio State.

The playoff’s top spot shouldn’t be necessarily a present. More No. 2 seeds have won championships than No. 1 teams, and teams ranked fourth have captured just as many titles as those seeded at the highest. Still, teams ranked No. 1 have been thrice as more likely to reach title showdowns. Their margins of victory in semifinals have averaged about 20 points.

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