-Alex Fry (‘19)
After two weeks of upsets, close games and broken dreams to close this year’s college football regular season, one thing was certainly clear to the College Football Playoff Committee: the Big Ten is not capable of having a worthy team for the playoffs. With Wisconsin losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, ruining their perfect season, the Big Ten had no teams with a very attractive resume. Therefore, the highly-coveted last playoff spot was opened back up to Alabama. Along with Alabama, Clemson acquired the No. 1 slot, Oklahoma the No. 2 and Georgia the No. 3. Here, we will be predicting how the playoffs will pan out.
Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Clemson vs No. 4 Alabama
Getting ahold of the final playoff spot was the Alabama Crimson Tide over the Ohio State Buckeyes. Despite the Buckeyes’ success in dismantling Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, their resume- which included a thirty point blowout to Iowa and a loss to Oklahoma- was just too dubious for them to get in. Although Alabama did not even make an appearance in their respective conference championship, they only had one loss on their resume, and being a well-known powerhouse throughout the league was enough for the playoff committee to let them through. As a result, fans will get a semifinal matchup of the two championship winners of the past two seasons. In their victory over Alabama last year in the national championship game, the Clemson Tigers rode an incredible performance from quarterback Deshaun Watson. Unfortunately, he is gone now. And his predecessor, Kelly Bryant, is average at best with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. The Tigers’ lack of playmakers will be their ultimate downfall against a usually consistent and talented Alabama team.
Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oklahoma vs No. 3 Georgia
Replacing Auburn in the No .2 slot are the Oklahoma Sooners, who demolished TCU 41-17 in the Big 12 Championship. They have only lost one game in the talented Big 12 conference and have a potential Heisman winner in Baker Mayfield. Following the Sooners in the No. 3 slot are the Georgia Bulldogs, who similarly dominated their opponent in their conference championship, defeating Auburn 28-7. Oklahoma should be able to best Georgia’s stout defense through the play of Baker Mayfield and cruise their way to a victory.
National Championship Game: No. 2 Oklahoma vs No. 4 Alabama
If there is one thing to know as a college football fan, it is to never doubt Alabama. Alabama will come into their third straight championship game with vengeful and vigorous play. Their fifth-ranked defense will be able to contain Baker Mayfield just enough to win, and Alabama will pound the ball through the Sooners with their excellent run-game. In the end, this game will be all about which team’s defense can make the big stops, which will ultimately be Alabama’s.