College Football Playoff Preview and Predictions
Tomorrow is the big day. For any normal person, it's New Years Day, a celebration of the turn of the calendar. But for sports fans, its more than that. Its the day of the College Football Playoff - 4 teams, 2 games, and 8 hours of football. Let's dive into the slate!
Rose Bowl: No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Despite all of the craziness and unpredictability of 2020, there was still one constant: Alabama football. As a staple of the College Football Playoff, Alabama is no stranger to the biggest stage in the College Football. This year, they come prepared with a prolific offense powered by Mac Jones, Najee Harris, and DeVonta Smith. Over the course of the season, Alabama is averaging 49.73 points and 543.9 yards per game! No defense has yet to solve this elaborate puzzle constructed by Nick Saban, and I don't suspect that Notre Dome will be the team to change that fact on Friday.
It will be more interesting to see how Notre Dame plays on the offensive side of the football. Clearly, they will need to light up the scoreboard to keep up with the Crimson Tide. They will need Ian Book to create plays with his legs by escaping the pocket and stretching the field to compliment Kyren Williams and the ground game. This was the offensive recipe that the Irish employed in their upset win over Clemson back in early November. However, I am afraid that they're gonna need more than just that recipe to overcome the Tide in the Semifinals. They will need to utilize the play action passing attack and activate their elite Tight End, Michael Mayer, in order to keep Alabama's defense guessing.
FTS Crew Rose Bowl predictions:
Devin: Alabama 49 - Notre Dame 27
Chad: Alabama 41 - Notre Dame 24
Josh: Alabama 38 - Notre Dame 21
Noah: Alabama 41 - Notre Dame 24
Sugar Bowl: No. 2 Clemson Tigers vs. No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Sugar Bowl is the game that will garner all of the attention come Friday. Two highly touted quarterbacks in Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields will battle each other to advance to the Championship Game. Ultimately, this game will come down to one key question- is Ohio State a fraud or legit? Due to game cancellations all season, Ohio State only played six games to reach the Playoff. Their reduced sample size has many people skeptical that they are elite enough to compete with Clemson. While I don't necessarily subscribe to that line of thinking, I do think Clemson has an experience and chemistry edge over the Buckeyes.
The main aspect of this game to keep an eye on is how Justin Fields handles pressure from Clemson's Defensive Line. When Fields has time to throw in the pocket, he has an 81% completion rate and a 94.7 QBR that ranks third in FBS. Contrast that to when he is under duress in the pocket and he only has a 42% completion rate and a 2.4 QBR (113th in FBS). Hence, Ohio State will need to protect Justin Fields in the pocket and give him time to dissect the secondary if the Buckeyes want to have any shot at defeating the Tigers.
FTS Crew Sugar Bowl predictions:
Devin: Clemson 35 - Ohio State 28
Chad: Clemson 38 - Ohio State 28
Josh: Clemson 31 - Ohio State 24
Noah: Clemson 31 - Ohio State 28