The College Football Playoff is finally set, and after much speculation and anticipation, we have the four teams that will be representing their respective universities.
The Clemson Tigers are ranked first in the nation. Following them are the Oklahoma Sooners, who have had an amazing season behind their star quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield. The third seed is a surprise to some fans, as college football experts didn’t even predict that they would be anywhere near the top five: the Georgia Bulldogs. Last but certainly not least is the Evil Empire themselves led by Nick Saban, who always has his Alabama Crimson Tide performing at the highest level of football possible.
Despite being the fourth seed and barely squeaking in the Playoff, Alabama is favored over the first- seeded Tigers in their Sugar Bowl matchup.
Let’s start with the Rose Bowl matchup in Pasadena, California. Oklahoma is averaging 44.9 points per game, which is the fourth best offense in the nation. Georgia’s win in the SEC Championship Game put a stamp on their regular season as they marched onto the playoff. Their defense is nearly impenetrable, with their opponents only averaging 13.2 points per game.
This will be a tough game with a lot of explosive plays and big time defensive performances. If it becomes a shootout, I feel that Georgia will not have the fire power to combat the Sooners top- ranked offense.
But if Georgia can control the clock, play outstanding defense and force the Heisman winner to turn the ball over, then Georgia will win easily. However, my prediction is that Oklahoma will win in a surprisingly defensive battle against the Bulldogs and squeak out a 27-17 victory.
Next is the “Three-Match” with the Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama is looking for revenge against Clemson after last year’s last-second defeat at the hands of now -Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson. Alabama’s opponents are averaging only 11.5 points per game. Alabama always has a top-tier defense, and this year, its opponents aren’t even scoring two touchdowns against them. They will have a tough time containing the athletic ability and explosiveness of the Tigers’ offense though, as they are averaging about 35 points per game, which is top 25 in the nation.
This game will be a high- scoring affair, and as the previous matchups have shown, it will come down to the last-minute efforts of both teams to determine the winner of this semifinal matchup. The best part about this matchup is that it is a semifinal game and not the championship, so the level of play between the two teams will be even more heightened on top of the fact that they already split the previous two games by very slim margins.
I feel the Crimson Tide will come out on top of the Tigers because of the championship pedigree of Saban and company. Even when the BCS was the format for determining the championship, Alabama has been dominant and can even be argued as one of the greatest teams in the modern era. With that being said, I pick Alabama winning a close one to advance to the championship game with a 42-35 victory.
The championship game will be a spectacular test of will and skill and will feature two of the premiere programs in college football history. The Sooners will come ready to play, and their fiery leader, Mayfield, will be sensational. But Alabama is constantly pushing out NFL caliber talent and seemingly win the championship every year. They will eventually be too much for the Sooners and pull away in a hard-fought contest and eventually come out on top of the college football world with a 35-21 win over Oklahoma.
Alabama has not been a four seed in the College Football Playoff prior to this season. Despite this not being their best team in recent memory and barely squeaking by the other contenders for the fourth seed, I still expect their dominance to continue this year.