By: Nick Jacquin, Sports Editor
It has been a roller coaster of a year in the world of college football. In the end, there are four teams left standing with a chance at a national title, as the College Football Playoff field has been set.
The Clemson Tigers head into the Sugar Bowl game as the top team in the country where they will square off against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The other semifinal features a Rose Bowl game pitting the Oklahoma Sooners versus the Georgia Bulldogs.
While the CFP Committee feels that these are the best four teams in the country, there are some questions to be asked. Clemson, Oklahoma, and Georgia appeared to be locks after winning their respective conference championships, but the fourth seed was a questionable one. The Ohio State Buckeyes knocked off the previously unbeaten Wisconsin Badgers in the Big 10 Championship, while Alabama was idle after being left out of the SEC Championship. Ultimately, Alabama played a weaker schedule, but it was Ohio State’s 31-point loss to a much weaker Iowa team that proved to be costly in leaving them out of the final four.
The Sugar Bowl matchup between Clemson and Alabama will certainly be one to keep an eye on. While the two teams have met in the National Championship Game the previous two seasons, this time they will square off for the chance to play in one. Clemson comes into the game red-hot after shutting down Miami last week in the ACC Championship, 38-3. Alabama, meanwhile, looks poised to prove the nation why they are still a top team in college football and deserving of being in the playoff.
The other matchup features Heisman favorite Baker Mayfield and the powerful Oklahoma offense against a veteran Georgia team led by senior running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Although Mayfield’s actions on the field lately have been questionable, he is undoubtedly a talented player leading the nation’s fourth-highest scoring attack. Oklahoma has cruised to double-digit wins in their last six games and Mayfield has been a big reason why, throwing 18 touchdowns and just two interceptions in the month of November. Georgia’s potent rushing attack of Chubb and Michel will be the key if Georgia hopes to pull out the victory. True freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has led the team to some big wins over Notre Dame and Auburn last weekend. But, he will be playing in the biggest game of his college career with a chance to play for a National Title on the line, so he will need to rely on the experience of Chubb and Michel to lead the Bulldogs to victory.
With just under a month until kickoff in the two CFP semifinals, there is certainly a lot to like about each team’s chances. Will Nick Saban and Alabama be able to convince the committee that they were worthy of playing for a national title, while disrupting Clemson’s shot at a repeat? Could the veteran Georgia Bulldogs stop the potent offensive attack of Oklahoma? It will certainly be fun to watch when the teams square off on New Year’s Day.