It’s worth questioning the official slogan of the playoff, “Who’s In?”, because it no longer applies when the actual event takes place. That’s right CFB fans, we know who’s in and the Playoff has almost arrived!
Before we jump into the matchups, I would like to point out the astounding, partially deafening silence that we are experiencing. Here we are, at the bitter end of the season, and not a hint of controversy surrounding any of the 4 teams. This is indeed a function of the spectacular 4 coaching staffs (who have combined for 3 losses this year). Names like Dabo Swinney, Nick Saban, Mark Dantonio, and Bob Stoops are rarely seen playing each other, and never at this high of stakes. So, without further adieu, here are the predictions.
#1 Clemson vs. #4 Oklahoma
Somewhat surprisingly, both Vegas and ESPN’s FPI have Oklahoma by 2.5 over the only undefeated team in the FBS in Clemson. But are they on to something? Both teams feature a former Heisman candidate at quarterback (Baker Mayfield was #4), spectacular recievers in Dion Cain and halfback Artavis Scott for Clemson and 2nd team All American Sterling Shepard for the Sooners. What this matchup will come down to is Clemson’s spectacular defense vs. Oklahoma’s 2 NFL bound running backs in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. I’m taking the Tigers.
#2 Alabama vs. #3 Michigan State
This one seems like a no brainer right? The Tide will roll right over Sparty and onto the National championship right? Wrong. Experts had MSU as consensus underdogs for 6 of their regular season contests. And the Spartans were a controversial call-no call away from the first undefeated season in program history under coach Mark Dantonio. They boast the perennial top 3 defense that they are known for, but that won’t be the difference. The Spartans will take care of Heisman winner Derrick Henry. This will come down to the fact that the Tide have played one premier quarterback, Chad Kelly. And Kelly handed them their only loss until this point. Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook is the winningest active quarterback in the FBS, with a 32 and 4 record. Cook has delivered on the big stage repeatedly. He has won the Spartans’ first Rose Bowl since 1989 as a sophomore, beaten unbeaten Ohio State not once but twice, winning time and again against the maize and blue, and had an improbable 28 point comeback in the 4th quarter of the Cotton Bowl against Baylor. Oh yeah, and this bowl is the Cotton Bowl. Sparty on.
Agree? Disagree? Comment below!