This year in college football could be summarized as bizarre, unusual, and a bit maddening. The College Football Playoff was as contentious as it has ever been with the Big 10 bending the rules so that Ohio State made the cut for how many games they’d need to play to qualify for the league championship. Then there is Notre Dame who got smacked around in their championship game yet still made the final four.
Now with the four teams settled on, all questions and complaints will be handled on the field. There is only one true way to settle an argument about who deserves to be included in the College Football Playoff and it’s by playing the game. Here are the College Football Playoff Semi-Final previews.
Rose Bowl: #1 Alabama vs #4 Notre Dame – January 1 (AT&T Stadium)
Does something look wrong here? The Rose Bowl has never been played anywhere other than the Rose Bowl in California but with the coronavirus forcing its hand, the game was moved to Dallas. This could be one of the ultimate beatdowns in semi-final history. Last year, LSU destroyed Oklahoma 63-28 and this game feels like it could be much of the same. The last time Alabama played Notre Dame was the National Championship in 2013 when the Tide won 42-14.
Not much has changed since then. Notre Dame is still a program known for being a perennial choke artist come championship time and Nick Saban still puts out the best product in college football year-after-year. The Irish were just stomped by the Clemson Tigers in the ACC Championship Game 34-10 yet they still found themselves in the semi-finals. Bama is the only undefeated team (with over 6 games) to make the CFP and their 2nd ranked offense averages close to 50 points per game. The Crimson Tide defense allowed more points than usual this season, but this Irish team can’t be trusted to move the ball effectively.
Prediction: Alabama 58 Notre Dame 20
Sugar Bowl – #2 Clemson vs #3 Ohio State
This is going to be a fun game as Dabo Swinney has been throwing shade at Ohio State leading up to this game as he ranked them 11th in his final poll vote. The Buckeyes have played just six games yet are undefeated and ranked third. Clemson lost a game, but it was when they were without their star quarterback Trevor Lawrence who may be the most impressive quarterback prospect we have seen since Peyton Manning.
Both offenses are ranked in the Top 10 and both average over 42 points per game. The difference will come down to defense, where Clemson has a slight advantage. They are allowing less than 18 points per game and are ranked 11th in the nation. They allowed just 10 points to Notre Dame two weeks ago and have prominent players like Bryan Bresee and Xavier Thomas anchoring the defensive line. These two played each other in this exact same game just a year ago and the Tigers escaped with a six-point win when a Justin Fields interception in the endzone ended things. This should be the better of the two-games and a fun one to watch.
Prediction: Clemson 29 Ohio State 24