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Posted at 3:05 AM, Dec 05, 2022
and last updated 2023-02-15 15:59:15-05

The race to the College Football Playoff Championship is officially underway.

Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Ohio State were selected Sunday for the playoff, giving the Big Ten multiple programs in the four-team field for the first time.

Georgia will be heading back to its home away from home for the College Football Playoff.

The No. 1 Bulldogs (13-0) received the top seed from the selection committee Sunday, earning a spot in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

The reigning national champions will be in a familiar place for their semifinal showdown against No. 4 Ohio State (11-1, No. 4 CFP).

Georgia will be making its third appearance of the season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, about 75 miles from its Athens campus. The Bulldogs opened with a 49-3 demolition of Oregon in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, and they claimed their first Southeastern Conference title since 2017 with a 50-30 rout of LSU on Saturday.

'"We like this place," Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett said with a grin. “We play pretty good here.”

Georgia is trying to become the first team since Alabama in 2011-12 to win back-to-back national titles.

The Bulldogs should have a home-field advantage when they face the Buckeyes, even though Ohio State's fervent fan base figures to be well represented in Atlanta.

“It's like our second home,” Georgia right end Brock Bowers said. “It makes everything a lot easier”

Georgia certainly had a huge crowd advantage in the SEC title game, where the stands were dominated by red and black.

Ohio State didn't even reach the Big Ten championship game. After winning their first 11 games, the Buckeyes were manhandled at home by rival Michigan 45-23 in the regular-season finale.

But Ohio State, which was ranked No. 5 by the CFP a week ago, climbed into the field without playing when then-No. 4 Southern Cal was routed by Utah in the Pac-12 title game.

If Ohio State and Michigan win their semifinal games, their storied rivalry could play out on a postseason stage for the first time.

Coach Ryan Day wasn't thinking that far ahead.

Certainly not with Georgia lurking in a de facto home game for the Bulldogs.

“You’re playing the defending national championships in their backyard, so it’s gonna take everything we have to go on the road and go win this game,” Day said. “I just think we wanted to be in this situation: the CFP at the end of the year. Took a different road to get here, but we’re here.”

Meanwhile, TCU has reached the College Football Playoff for the first time. The rapid rise under first-year coach Sonny Dykes means the Horned Frogs will play Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Eve.

There will be a spot in the CFP title game on the line. Michigan left no doubt about its spot in the CFP, beating Purdue 43-22 to win consecutive Big Ten titles for the first time since 2003-04.

College football’s winningest program now has its first 13-win season, finishing No. 2 in the AP Top 25 and CFP standings.