The Gators may be on the outside looking in this bowl season (or Ohio State and Michigan if you’re the WeLikeSports guys) but with the end of the college football season here and the dark days of the offseason around the corner, we’ll take all the football we can get. The Chomp and Cheer crew and our affiliates made their predictions for the upcoming Playoff games:
While the college football playoff has matured from a toddler to a pre schooler, (if we use baby terms to judge these things) we can still certainly look at a few developing trends to predict the outcome of this year’s slate of games. While both college and pro football have moved towards the no huddle, dink and dunk offenses more commonly known as the big 12, the college football playoff has stayed true to football’s roots where a running game and a defense dictate the winners and losers.
In 2014, Cardale Jones was the story, but Ezekiel Elliott was the best player. The 2015 Bama team was stacked on defense and Derrick Henry and Kenyan drake let them dominate the ball. Last year’s Clemson team had Deshaun Watson, who was clearly the best player in the country. There is a single outlier from this theory in the 2014 Oregon defeat of Florida State, but Mariota was a great college player and the Seminoles didn’t really show up ready to play. From this analysis, I hypothesize that the front seven and running game of Georgia will be too much for baker Mayfield resulting in a Georgia Rose Bowl victory. For the Sugar Bowl, I hypothesize that while Clemson has a great running attack, Nick Saban rarely loses to revenge games and his defense will force key turnovers by making Kelly Bryant uncomfortable leading to another big win for the Tide.
My picks: GEORGIA over Oklahoma, 31-21 and ALABAMA over Clemson, 28-24
I just can’t do it, for one. Picking Georgia to win anything is like being asked to choose salad over chicken wings. The worst. That being said, I still think that Mayfield has the Sooners fired up and is ready to prove the doubters wrong this week. Georgia’s defense won’t make things easy, but Baker should be up to the task. I just can’t see the Bulldog’s offense getting enough going early to really pull ahead. Oklahoma 30, Georgia 24
This one was tough… Alabama looked like one of the best teams of all time to start the season, then kind of stumbled heading into the finish line. I could honestly see Clemson just absolutely wrecking the Tide from the start to finish, but Nick Saban will have lit a fire under their assess after losing to Auburn. Bama is going to get revenge this time. Alabama 28, Clemson 24
Oklahoma 34, Georgia 27 : UGA has great RBs but I’m curious to see how a true freshman (Fromm) responds in this situation. Mayfield has been in control all season. I think he is a Manziel like presence with the ability run and throw on a whim. I think Georgia can stop the run but they’ve never seen a spread like this. I am concerned about Oklahoma up front stopping the run but I think UGA will be in a position to have to pass to come from behind.
Clemson 27, Alabama 24 : Clemson’s D is the real deal. I think it’s a bad matchup for Alabama’s running game. The tide use the run to setup the pass. But Clemson will stop the run early forcing Hurts to throw to setup the run. On the other side of the ball. Kelly Bryant has been lights out all year. I think he takes advantage of Alabama’s injuries. Will be an awesome game.
Georgia 30, Oklahoma 21 – The Big 12 doesn’t play defense. Georgia has a great defense that will shell shock them. They also have a great running game with nick Chubb averaging over 6 yards per carry. Oklahoma is going to be shell shocked when they have to play a physical grinding game and I don’t think they will be able to contend with that kind of play.
Clemson 21 Alabama 20 – If there is one weakness in Alabama’s dominant defense throughout the past few years it’s that it has suffered against mobile qbs. Deshaun Watson tore them up last year and Bryant is in the same mold as Watson. Not to mention, Renfrow has torched Alabama the past couple times they played. This year Clemson’s defense is great especially against the run which matches up well vs Alabama’s dominant run game. It will compensate for Bryant’s inexperience and lead them to victory in a tight game.
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