The experts claim this is the most wide-open National Semifinalist field since the playoff format inception. A trilogy in the semis between Clemson and Alabama, while the other playoff eliminator pairs a streaking-hot Oklahoma squad versus one-loss Georgia. Will we get another All-SEC title game or will the SEC not have qualified for the National Championship, something that hasn’t happened in ages?
#1 Clemson vs. #4 Alabama: It’s a tall order to expect this National Semifinals matchup to play out similar to the last two meetings. For the last two years, these powerhouse programs have engaged in epic battles. The stakes are equally as high, facing a ‘win or go home’ scenario. Alabama’s reputation has Las Vegas leaning towards the Crimson Tide to be the last team standing. During the break, ‘Bama got a chance to lick its injury wounds, mainly at linebacker. Will that be enough to slow the attack on both sides of the ball from Clemson? Usually the shoe is on the other foot when it comes to defensive lines but that’s where Clemson is the strongest in the nation.
The Pick: Clemson 23 Alabama 20
#2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Georgia: The Sooners closed the season as one of the hottest teams around, storm-trooping their way through the Big-12. Most importantly, Oklahoma’s defense has improved a fair amount after an embarrassing effort earlier. Can the Sooners ‘D’ compete hard enough to contain the best rushing attack in the Semifinals? The Bulldogs look to run the ball and play sound defense. Georgia likely gained confidence, showing bounce-back ability in the SEC title rematch against Auburn. The Bulldogs better not let Oklahoma start fast because they may get left in the dust. Georgia’s ground game keeps them in it deep into the fourth quarter.
The Pick: Oklahoma 31 Georgia 30
#5 Ohio State vs. #8 USC: Two of the most recognizable programs in the country lock horns in a Rose bowl throwback PAC-12 vs. Big Ten matchup, except this time in the Cotton Bowl. Both offenses are known for putting points on the scoreboard. There is plenty of defensive talent on these rosters but inconsistencies kept them from being dominate. The standout position group is the Buckeyes defensive line, which is capable of troubling the Trojans potent run game. Slowing the run allows more pressure on USC QB Sam Darnold, the likely recipe for an Ohio State victory.
The Pick: Ohio State 34 USC 30
#10 Miami will snake-bite #6 Wisconsin by a last-second field goal, giving the Badgers their 2nd loss in as many games.
#9 Penn State versus #11 Washington: Neither team lived up to their preseason hype but both remain hungry to finish the year on a high-note. Loads of talented skilled-players to keep an eye on as well.
It’s probably worthwhile to put out a flyer on both Miami (6-pt.) & USC (7.5 pt.) as live-dogs against the favorites in Wisconsin & Ohio State.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The College Ball Show Podcast Available on Apple Podcast (ITunes), Player.FM, Stitcher, Tunein, www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Net Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio
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