College Football Playoffs Breakdown: Preview and Picks
The College Football Playoffs are set, and there have been some disagreements with the committee’s decision to keep Notre Dame and Ohio State in and leave out teams like Cincinnati and Texas A&M. Notre Dame defeated Clemson earlier in the season in overtime, all other opponents they faced, and then fell way short to Clemson the second time around in the ACC championship 34-10. Ohio State only played 6 game, including the Big Ten Championship’s narrow win.
A tweet from Pete Thamel shows the argument for Cincinnati…
I really feel for Cincinnati. They went 9-0, won a league title and beat three ranked teams. They blew out seven of nine teams on their schedule and finished No. 7 in scoring defense. CFP is becoming like the NCAA Tournament committee, a cabal that annually blocks out mid-majors.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 20, 2020
For Texas A&M, QB Kellen Mond took to twitter and gave his frustration…
“Texas A&M has no quality wins.”— K M o n d (@TheKellenMond) December 20, 2020
All of these SEC teams that are “MEDIOCRE” in the media’s eyes would run the table in some of these other leagues. Only a few teams out of the SEC can really play in the SEC.
However, every year there are some complications and upset fans. If Notre Dame was left out, a very decent argument can be made that their only lost game came from a split series against a top 2 team in the country. Ohio State could have argued that they did not lose a game at all, and people consider the Big Ten to be a great conference.
And for a team like Texas A&M, it did not help that they lost by 28 to Alabama, considering worse ranked teams like Florida and Georgia lost by a combined 23. And finally, for a team like Cincinnati, although undefeated, having 3-point wins over Tulsa and UCF do not help your case.
Semis Predictions (#1 Alabama vs. #4 Notre Dame)
Opening Line: Alabama -17.5
Overall, the committee makes mistakes a lot, but this year they made the best decision, and here is the breakdown. Alabama has 2 of the top 3 Heisman candidates playing on New Years against Notre Dame. Mac Jones has 3,739 yards in the air this season, 32 Touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions. Wide Receiver DeVonta Smith has 98 receptions, 17 touchdowns, and 1,511 receiving yards which is the most of any receiver in the country by over 300 yards.
Notre Dame will be leaning heavily on its top offensive line and pray that Ian Book can have one of his flashy games that he occasionally does. They will also use that line to help add freshman superstar Kyren Williams who has rushed for 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 195 carries. But its defense will get burned by the Alabama wideouts even if they stop the run of Najee Harris.
Notre Dame has this overall series at 5-2 all time.
Prediction: Bama 49 ND 31
Semis Predictions (#2 Clemson vs. #3 Ohio State)
Opening Line: Clemson -7
The remaining Heisman hopeful of the 3 mentioned earlier is Trevor Lawrence.
And here we go again, Clemson vs. Ohio State: Take 2. Last year, Clemson came back from being down 16-0 to come back and win with a 34-tard Travis Etienne TD Reception. This year, Ohio State has play 50% of the games that Clemson has played, and both teams in FULL form, have not lost. Clemson lost its lone game to Notre Dame without its start quarterback and running back.
Trevor Lawrence has a 69.2% of his passes this year and is simply a winner. Clemson will also look to pro-ready running back Etienne to lay some of the pressure off Lawrence. Travis Etienne just came off a 124 yard rushing game on just 10 carries against Notre Dame.
For Ohio State, the obvious player to look at is Justin Fields. He has made some mistakes this year as well as last here with interceptions, including a game ending interception last year against Clemson in the Semifinals. Another key factor will be Ohio State’s Offensive line against the phenomenal pass rush of Clemson. Ohio State has the best rushing attack in the Big Ten and that will need to be solidified to take more pressure away from Justin Fields.
Clemson all-time is 4-0 against Ohio State. Is this the Buckeyes time?
Prediction: Clemson 42 Ohio State 35