Press Box Perspective: College Football Playoff

By Seth Rivello

The final four teams in the College Football Playoffs are locked in. The No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers will face the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners will face the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl.

There were deep talks about which team should have been in the final fourth spot until the committee made up their minds and took the Crimson Tide.

It was a tossup between Alabama and the Ohio State Buckeyes, and a slight whisper about the University of Southern California. Ohio State’s 11-2 record must have turned off the playoff committee. It dropped the Buckeyes to fifth even with a conference championship win. USC also with an 11-2 record plus a conference championship was dropped to the eight spot and will take on Ohio State in the Goodyear Cotton bowl.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl can go a couple different ways. It will either be a defensive showdown, or Alabama will completely blow Clemson out of the water.

Kelly Bryant isn’t the same as Deshaun Watson and that’s clear. Bryant isn’t a great passer but he can take off and run. Clemson will have to get rolling on the ground with Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster if it hopes to get anything started. The Tigers don’t lack defensive talent either, as it has one of the top defenses in the NCAA. It has beef on the defensive line that will disrupt Alabama’s backfield. Clemson’s two powerful defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant have combined for 16 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss.

Alabama, just like Clemson, isn’t that exciting when it comes to passing the ball. Jalen Hurts has only thrown 15 touchdowns this season but provided another eight on the ground. Bama’s backfield is impressive with Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough, two different types of running back. Harris who is averaging eight yards per carry is elusive and shifty while Scarbrough will seek out contact and run a defender over.

Alabama has a variety of defenders that can ruin your night or pick you off. In total, Bama has 48 sacks, 15 interceptions, and 78.5 tackles for loss. It’s a very clear defensive matchup, not saying either team won’t score. In this kind of game, I’d pick Nick Saban and Alabama to win.

The Oklahoma and Georgia matchup focuses more on the offensive side of the ball. That doesn’t mean that Georgia’s linebacker Roquan Smith isn’t a stud, or Oklahoma’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, his eight sacks and 17 tackles for loss, aren’t impressive.

Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma’s offense is just too hard to stop. Mayfield is a Heisman trophy finalist with his very impressive 46 total touchdowns and his 4,340 passing yards, these stats aren’t even final.

On the Bulldogs side, freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has taken over the offense very well. Fromm has thrown 21 touchdowns but the offense really relies on its stout run game.

Running back Nick Chubb is in his final season, possibly his last game as a Bulldog. He looks to add to his already impressive numbers, 1,175 on the ground and 13 touchdowns. Behind Chubb is Sony Michel, who is a nice change of pace back but a knee injury could keep him out which would be huge, more pressure applied to Chubb and the freshman Fromm.

I can’t see this Bulldogs team taking out Oklahoma, I don’t think anyone can take out Oklahoma.