The 12 Days of Quintmas continues with an analysis of the four College Football Playoff teams!
Raise your hand if you’re ready for the college football semifinal games.
I think we are all anxiously awaiting these bowl games so we can find out who will be headed to the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Who do you think it will be? We’ve looked at what the experts are saying and have added in our own thoughts as well. Take a look below at the exciting matchups along with teams’ strengths and keys to victory plus who is projected to win the games.
Capital One Orange Bowl
No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
This could very well be the best postseason game since both teams are loaded and have been on fire this year. The Tigers are the country’s only undefeated team with big wins against No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 9 Florida State and No. 10 North Carolina for the ACC Championship. Besides Oklahoma’s early-season loss to Texas, they had an impressive season with wins over No. 11 TCU, No. 16 Oklahoma State and No. 17 Baylor.
Clemson: Two words… Deshaun Watson. The Heisman finalist threw for over 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns in addition to having 11 rushing touchdowns this season. Clemson also has a strong, talented defense, which ranks sixth in the S&P+ ratings. The key to a Clemson victory will be to keep their offense moving and keep their defense continuously pressuring Baker Mayfield. Defensive end Shaq Lawson – an incredible pass-rusher – will be one defensive force Oklahoma will have to contain.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s strength lies in their offensive. Quarterback Baker Mayfield absolutely crushed it this season with 35 touchdowns and nearly 3,400 yards in one fewer game than Watson. Oklahoma also has a strong running game, which is a big advantage for them and could be the difference in a close game. The key for Oklahoma is to take advantage of Clemson’s susceptibility to turnovers and to keep Baker Mayfield’s dynamic presence on the field. Exceptional cornerback Zack Sanchez, who has had 43 tackles and six interceptions, will be a key figure in generating these turnovers.
ESPN and the oddsmakers (via OddsShark) favor the Sooners for the College Football Playoff semifinal. SB Nation’s panel favored the Tigers.
QuintEvents Prediction: Oklahoma
Goodyear Cotton Bowl
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan State
Alabama currently leads the pack to win the entire playoff, but we shouldn’t put it past Michigan State to give them a run for their money. Both teams had strong seasons and won their conference championships. Alabama had impressive wins over No. 19 Florida, No. 20 LSU and No. 23 Tennessee while Michigan State swept No. 5 Iowa, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 14 Michigan and No. 15 Oregon.
Alabama: Heisman winner Derrick Henry will be the driving offensive force behind an Alabama victory. As the SEC’s single-season rushing leader, Henry dominated with 1,986 yards and 23 touchdowns. In addition to feeding this beast of a player, a key for victory for Alabama will be to go deep when they can. When the opportunity has presented itself, Jake Coker has been very successful. Alabama must also take care of the ball and limit turnovers – something that haunted them in their loss to Ole Miss.
Michigan State: Connor Cook (34-4) is probably the best quarterback Alabama has faced in a long time. If Cook is healthy and can light up the offense (specifically the top receiver in the Big Ten, Aaron Burbridge) like he’s done in the past, we’ll be in for a treat. Michigan State also does all of the little things right. In other words, they don’t beat themselves with penalties and critical turnovers. But in order to beat Alabama, Michigan State will need a healthy Connor Cook and will have to slow down Alabama’s dangerous rusher, Derrick Henry. They’ll also have to keep the game close; after all, several of their victories have been decided by seven or fewer points.
ESPN, SB Nation and the oddsmakers (via OddsShark) favor Alabama for the College Football Playoff semifinal.
QuintEvents Prediction: Alabama
Get Your Seats at the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game
We know who is in the playoff. We almost know who will be in the National Championship. In other words, you need to start thinking about getting your tickets to the big game!
If you are set on going regardless of who makes it, that’s awesome. If you only want to go if your team makes it, we have a good news for you. Through our “Win and You’re In” program, you can attend the game based on whether or not your team lands a spot in the National Championship. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Through College Football Experiences, you can get an all-inclusive ticket package to the
2016 College Football Playoff National Championship. Click below or call us today at 866.890.1799 to secure your tickets!