College Football Playoffs

Ben Dawson

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The most exciting time in all of college football has arrived. The regular season has come to an end, and bowl season is upon us. Every university that qualified for a bowl game, by winning 6 or more games, will end their season by competing in their respective bowls. The top four teams in the country however, will be competing for something much more important: the College Football Championship.

 

Throughout the course of the year, the CFB Playoff Committee carefully watched each and every game and published a weekly poll that ranks the “Top 25” teams in the nation. This past Sunday, the Committee released their final rankings, and the top four teams made it to the College Football Playoffs. The four teams will compete in a bracket-style series, with the 1 seed playing the 4 seed, and the 2 seed playing the 3 seed. The two winners then play to determine who will be taking home the CFB Trophy. When the dust finally settled, the Top four teams were as followed:

 

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Clemson Tigers
  3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  4. Oklahoma Sooners

 

To catch you up before the two semi-final matchups take place on December 27th, here is a recap of each of the contenders campaign’s and their possibility of hoisting the trophy.

 

No.1 Alabama Crimson Tide

(Season Record: 13-0)

 

(Photo: SportingNews.com)

Was there any doubt that Alabama would be here? The Crimson Tide have been the most dominant team of this decade, spending a record 106 total weeks ranked atop the weekly polls. In 11 straight seasons, Alabama has been ranked number one at least once.

 

This season is no different for coach Nick Saban and his squad. They came into the year ranked number one in the preseason poll, and never looked back, keeping the spot for the entirety of the year.

 

In their first 6 games, the Tide averaged a ridiculous 56 points a game. Alabama’s biggest win came against LSU, who was ranked third in the country at the time. A close game was expected, but Alabama had other ideas, shutting out the Tigers 29-0.

 

The defending champions were led by Heisman candidate Tua Tagovailoa. The sophomore quarterback broke onto the scene in last year’s national championship game, coming off the bench and throwing the game winning touchdown. The Hawaiian sensation took off this year, positioning Alabama as the second highest scoring offense in the country.

 

Unfortunately, Tagovailoa suffered a serious leg injury in the SEC Championship game on December 1st, but backup Jalen Hurts (above) was outstanding and led the Tide past Georgia. Hurts will now be tasked with leading his team in the playoffs , with the semi- final game being against…

 

No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners

(Record: 12-1)

(Photo: USATodayFTW.com)

 

Remember how Alabama was the second highest scoring offense in the country? Meet the only team ranked above them. Oklahoma has been the most explosive team in the country, scoring over 30 points in all but one game.

 

Oklahoma is by far the most controversial team in the playoffs, with many believe there were teams more deserving of the final spot. The aforementioned Georgia Bulldogs played a much tougher schedule and took Alabama to their limit, while Central Florida went undefeated for the second year on a row and once again won the AAC.

 

The committee gave the nod to the Sooners, however, after they narrowly escaped with a victory against West Virginia and then won the Big 12 championship game by beating Texas. Oklahoma’s only loss of the season came against the Longhorns earlier in the season, so the title win provided the team with a bit of revenge.

 

Oklahoma is captained by superstar freshman Kyler Murray (freshman). The young quarterback is the frontrunner to win the Heisman, with his 40 passing touchdowns coming in at second in the nation. Murray is also third in the country in passing yards, and is also a threat to run with his trademark speed.

 

This game is likely to be a nightmare for anyone who enjoys defense. Oklahoma’s defense has been lackluster, giving up over 700 yards of offense to West Virginia and allowing over 40 points in four of their last five games. The pure talent of Alabama’s offensive weapons, combined with the electricity of the Sooners should provide an outstanding game with an over/under teetering towards 100.

 

And for the other semi-final game:

 

No. 2 Clemson Tigers

(Record: 13-0)

(Photo: RubbingTheRock.com)

 

Clemson continued their dominance of the ACC this year, and are back in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. After winning the championship in 2017, Clemson fell to Alabama in the semifinals last year. Now, Clemson will square off against Notre Dame in hopes of returning the the title game.

 

The Tigers went into the season thinking that quarterback Kelly Bryant would be leading them to the promise-land. But when Bryant was forced out of the season opener with an injury, true freshman Trevor Lawrence (above right) was forced to step. Lawrence excelled, and kept the starting job despite Bryant returning to full health.

 

Clemson’s offense has flourished under Lawrence’s control, scoring a whooping 77 points against Louisville and 63 against Wake Forest. They have yet to face a defense, however, that has been as dominant as…

 

No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

(Record: 12-0)

(Photo: 1070TheFan.com)

 

The Fighting Irish started this season’s campaign with a statement win against the top-ten ranked Michigan, and kept the momentum throughout the year.

 

Under coach Brian Kelley, Notre Dame has torched the opposition using a paired approach at quarterback, using both Brian Wimbush and Ian Book under center on their way to an undefeated record.

 

Perhaps the strength of the Irish is their defense. They have yet to give up more than 27 points in a game, and gave up just 3 points to 17th ranked Syracuse.

 

This game is shaping up to be a nail-biter, with the Tigers and the Fighting Irish appearing to be matching one another seemingly stride-for stride.

 

The winners of these two semi-final match-ups will square off on Monday, January 7th for the right to call themselves champions of College Football!

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College Football Playoffs