Photo courtesy of Tony Walsh/Georgia athletics
We’ve created a 130-team bracket using ESPN’s FPI as our ranking system.
“But, anyone can create a bracket, how will the games be simulated?” Great question; NCAA Game Sim was used.
For each game on the bracket, the matchup was simulated once and every day a write-up will be done.
For the matchup, player statistics will be simulated and included in the write-ups.
Finally, thanks to the NCAA Game Sim premium membership, we’ll show the results of doing 100 simulations all at once. This is to see if a given result was more towards the expected side or if a given result was more towards the upset or luckier side.
All of the results have been simulated and tabulated, so at the time of writing the introduction, the results are already in.
This is designed to be fun, so please enjoy.
From Georgia to Massachusetts, here’s the 130-team bracket:
After having an article published for 128 consecutive days, there were two main things learned along the way.
First: “This seems like an interesting idea,” may not be the best reason to lock oneself into a four-month commitment.
Second: I’m so blessed to have found Fifth Quarter and to have this opportunity. Locking myself into a four-month commitment also locked my great editor, Mike Ferguson, into a four-month commitment.
Even though dozens of articles were written in a given day, he still had to make sure that they were scheduled to be published daily. A huge thank you to him for embracing my wild and weird idea, and ensuring that an article was never late.
With that being said, it is time.
(1) Georgia vs. (4) Tennessee
How Georgia Got Here: 34-16 win over (16) Akron, 34-23 win over (9) Toledo, 33-13 win over (4) Iowa, 27-20 win over (3) Penn State, 37-9 win over (3) Texas, 34-7 win over (1) Michigan
How Tennessee Got Here: 31-10 win over (13) Ball State, 23-21 win over (5) Arizona State, 54-17 win over (1) Oklahoma State, 43-13 win over (2) Cincinnati, 30-21 win over (8) Maryland, 30-28 win over (2) Utah
Here it is, the 128 Team National Championship presented by Fifth Quarter:
The stories for each of Georgia and Tennessee so far has been the meteoric rise of Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker and the efficiency of Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett.
As far as the quarterback battle was concerned, Bennett finished 15-for-28 with 233 yards, a touchdown, and an opening drive interception. Hooker finished 20-for-32 with 219 yards and two touchdowns with both coming on the first two drives.
An Early Lead
After jumping out to an early 14-0 lead, Hooker was 8-for-9 with 133 yards and two touchdowns.
Receivers Velus Jones Jr. and Cedric Tillman combined for five receptions, 83 yards, and each scored a touchdown.
Tillman finished with six catches for 32 yards and a touchdown. Jones Jr. finished with three catches for a game-high 62 yards and a touchdown.
It looked like the Volunteers and Hooker were en route to a rout.
But like any good National Championship, Georgia did not lie down and die.
Georgia Fights Back
A 54-yard rush from Stetson Bennett, of all ball carriers, put the Bulldogs in the red zone before a five-yard James Cook rush gave Georgia its first score of the game.
Cook finished with a game-high 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Bennett finished with 79 rushing yards on five carries.
Running back Zamir White also finished with 58 yards on 13 carries. Even though Bennett only posted a 53.6% completion percentage, the 6.9 yards per carry that Georgia was able to grind out would prove critical.
Georgia’s Run Defense was Made of Brick
With the game tied at 14 and only five minutes remaining in the second quarter, Tennessee tried to control the rest of the half on the ground. This would prove to be a major mistake.
Running backs Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small found little breathing room. Combined, the running backs finished with 50 yards on 16 carries. That’s good for just 3.1 yards per carry.
Volunteer quarterback Joe Milton did come in for a trick play in the middle of the third quarter. Down 28-14 and on the Georgia 4-yard-line, Tennessee was well aware that finding those last four yards would be tricky. Cutting the lead back to one score, Milton scored on a double reverse where he faked a throw and found the corner of the end zone.
Bennett Puts the Game on Ice
At midfield, with five minutes, and a 28-24 lead, Georgia faced a critical 3rd-and-5.
Bennett was able to fire an absolute strike to receiver Darnell Washington, who brought the ball down to the Tennessee 7-yard-line.
Washington finished with three catches, 60 yards, and a touchdown.
Two plays later, Bennett found tight end Brock Bowers in the back of the end zone to give Georgia an 11-point lead.
Bowers finished with four catches, 44 yards, and a touchdown.
Georgia’s Defense Shuts the Door
With just over three minutes to go and a 35-24 deficit, Tennessee needed a quick score to stay in this game. It would not find one.
Instead, Hooker was strip-sacked by Nakobe Dean, which was recovered by Travon Walker.
Add in a late field goal for good measure, and the next time Tennessee touched the ball, it was down 38-24 with just over a minute.
After a slow start, Georgia becomes the first winner of the 128 Team Playoff and 128 Team National Championship presented by Fifth Quarter. The Bulldogs win in real life and in the simulation — this time by a final score of 38-24.
In 100 simulations, Georgia won 73 of them by an average margin of 33.8-23.1. From start to finish, Georgia dominated this tournament. Much like during the 2021 season, this is a fitting end for a stifling defense and an efficient offense.
Winner’s Next Matchup: Georgia opens with Oregon — in real life — on Sept. 3.
Tomorrow’s Next Matchup: In the words of the great Ferris Bueller: “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.”
Teams Lost, In Order:
Akron, New Mexico State, Florida International, Temple, New Mexico, Bowling Green, Rice, Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, Arkansas State, Charlotte, Southern Mississippi, Ohio, Kansas, Duke, UNLV, Georgia Southern, UTEP, South Alabama, San Jose State, South Florida, Arizona, Old Dominion, Louisiana Tech, Ball State, Minnesota, Navy, Nebraska, Buffalo, Troy, Colorado State, North Texas, Eastern Michigan, Northwestern, Northern Illinois, Florida Atlantic, Stanford, Tulane, Colorado, Wyoming, Middle Tennessee, Rutgers, Miami University, Indiana, Louisville, Georgia Tech, East Carolina, West Virginia, Central Michigan, Missouri, Syracuse, Tulsa, Western Michigan, Utah State, Liberty, UTSA, Boston College, Nevada, South Carolina, Army, Washington, Air Force, Virginia Tech
Toledo, Alabama, Illinois, TCU, UAB, Marshall, USC, San Diego State, California, UCF, Washington State, Pittsburgh, Oregon State, Florida State, Baylor, NC State, Louisiana, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Auburn, SMU, Wake Forest, Miami, Western Kentucky, Purdue, Arizona State, Hawaii, Kentucky, Kent State, Kansas State, UCLA, Appalachian State
Iowa, Florida, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Houston, Boise State, Oklahoma State, BYU, Iowa State, LSU, North Carolina, Fresno State, Wisconsin, Georgia State, Virginia, Memphis
Penn State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Coastal Carolina, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Clemson
Texas, Maryland, Oregon, Oklahoma
REMAINING TEAMS BY CONFERENCE:
American: 0/11 (last remaining was No. 2 Cincinnati, eliminated Day 120)
ACC: 0/14 (last remaining was No. 1 Clemson, eliminated Day 121)
Big 12: 0/10 (last remaining was No. 1 Oklahoma, eliminated Day 125)
Big Ten: 0/14 (last remaining was No. 1 Michigan, eliminated Day 126)
Conference USA: 0/14 (last remaining was No. 6 Western Kentucky, eliminated Day 89)
Independents: 0/7 (last remaining was No. 1 Notre Dame, eliminated Day 119)
MAC: 0/12 (last remaining was No. 13 Kent State, eliminated Day 94)
Mountain West: 0/12 (last remaining was No. 7 Fresno State, eliminated Day 109)
Pac-12: 0/12 (last remaining was No. 2 Utah, eliminated Day 127)
SEC: 1/14 (highest remaining: 1. Georgia, second-place was No. 4 Tennessee, eliminated Day 128)
Sun Belt: 0/10 (last remaining was No. 6 Coastal Carolina, eliminated Day 117)