COLLEGE FOOTBALL: COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS EDITION
Too late for the Sooners (37-17). The #1-ranked Clemson Tigers showed why they have an undefeated record in yesterday’s game against the Oklahoma Sooners. Going into halftime, the Sooners were actually up on the Tigers 17-16, with both teams going point for point. But in the second half, Clemson came out and got ‘er done, shutting out the Sooners for the remainder of the game. Clemson’s star QB DeShaun Watson was brilliant at running the ball, rushing for a total of 145 yards. Meanwhile Clemson’s defense put a stop to Oklahoma’s impressive offense, which in the past 7 games averaged 52 points a game. Now, Clemson is heading to the Championship game and has a chance of being the first team to finish with a 15-0 season. While there have been other flawless seasons in the past, the college season used to only be 14 games, so this would be a historic and impressive feat.
Well that was embarrassing (38-0). The Alabama Crimson Tide completely demolished the Michigan State Spartan’s in yesterday’s Cotton Bowl. Alabama came out with guns blazing, ready to make up for last year’s loss to Ohio State University in the semifinals. Alabama outplayed Michigan State in every way. On defense, Alabama was unstoppable sacking Michigan State QB Connor Cook 4 times. On offense, everyone naturally assumed Alabama would turn to Heisman trophy winner RB Derrick Henry to run the ball, but instead Alabama entrusted QB Jake Coker with a series of pass plays. Coker, who transferred to Alabama from Florida State University this year, stepped up in tremendous fashion and had the best game of his career. With the double threat of the running and passing game, Clemson is going to have its hands full in the National Championship Game in 10 days.
Be sure to see Clemson and Alabama face off in the National Championship Game on January 11!
The band’s breaking up. Notre Dame will take on Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. Notre Dame has 2 defensive starters sitting out, so Ohio State is favored to win. This is also likely to be the last game for a whole slew of Ohio State players who will likely declare for the NFL draft. QB Cardale Jones, who looked shaky this season but led Ohio State to victory in the National Championship last year, already declared for the draft after awkwardly hinting at it earlier this season. DE Joey Bosa (he would be the highest rated draft pick this year) and RB Ezekiel Elliott among others may be right behind him.
Competition for the bigger turnaround team. Michigan will take on Florida in a battle of the first-year Head Coaches. Both Head Coaches have far outperformed expectations, improving their respective school records by 4 wins each this season. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh made a heralded return to Michigan, where he played QB in college, after coaching the San Francisco 49ers for four years. Florida Head Coach Jim McElwain was elevated from relative obscurity as the Head Coach of Colorado State. During the game, be on the lookout for Michigan’s defense, which shut out BYU, Maryland, and Northwestern in the first half of the season, but has recently lost some of its momentum.
I volunteer as tribute! The Northwestern Wildcats will take on the Tennessee Volunteers in today’s Outback Bowl. Northwestern has had an impressive turnaround recently and may be on the verge of its first 11-win season. But the Wildcats had 2 very shaky losses, including a devastating loss to Michigan early in the season where they were shut out 38-0. Although Tennessee has lost more games than the Wildcats this season, their 4 losses were by a combined total of 17 points to only top-17 ranked teams. Tennessee’s tough schedule and 4 near-misses place them as the easy favorites in this match-up.
A Rebel without a cause. The Ole Miss Rebels are heavily favored in today’s Sugar Bowl against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Both of the teams have fantastic offenses, but Ole Miss also has an impressive defense, which gives them the edge in this match-up. The one fly in the ointment for Ole Miss is that they will be without their best defensive player, DT Robert Nkemdiche. Nkemdiche was suspended earlier this month, following what was a pretty wild night. Police searched Nkemdiche’s hotel room and charged him with possession of marijuana, after he broke a hotel room window, climbed out, scaled a wall, and then fell 15 feet.
And the consolation prize goes to... Iowa and Stanford will face off in today’s Rose Bowl. These were the 5th and 6th ranked teams, respectively, so they just missed the cut for the College Football Playoffs. Stanford has one of the most impressive offensive duos in college football with RB Christian McCaffrey and QB Kevin Hogan. Iowa will certainly be trying to shut them down with their formidable defense. Despite only having lost one game, Iowa is definitely the underdog in today’s match-up, because they had a pretty weak schedule this season.