The nightcap of the New Year’s Eve bowl schedule is the second College Football Playoff semifinal. This game is a closer matchup, in most people’s minds, than Alabama-Washington. They have good reason to think that, too. Both the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Clemson Tigers have been incredibly good teams this season. Though neither was helmed by the “true” Heisman hopefuls I thought they would be, both teams turned in great resumes. This game will take place at the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona, which gives the home field advantage to…neither, I guess? Ohio State fans travel so well, so there may be a few more of them, but I expect the crowd to be about even. The game is sponsored by PlayStation, who should take this as an opportunity to MAKE ANOTHER COLLEGE FOOTBALL VIDEO GAME. I mean, come on guys, haven’t we suffered enough?
I digress. Let’s stop worrying about corporate sponsors and instead look at the matchup. While both teams have highly competent defenses, both Ohio State and Clemson are highlighted by their offensive abilities. This should be a high-scoring affair. Both teams can score in so many ways that it will really be a contest of which defense can get the most stops. J.T. Barrett and Deshawn Watson may make a few mistakes, but both should play well in their final college football game.
In terms of defenses, I think, looking at the body of work, the Buckeyes have the slight advantage. Overall, it seems that the Buckeyes defense has done a better job that the Tigers in keeping high quality opponents from scoring points in bunches. This fact could just give Ohio State the slight edge in this matchup.
Ohio State and Clemson are going to trade punches throughout the night as we get closer and closer to 2017. If the game is as much as an offensive battle as I think it will be, it may in fact mess with some people’s New Year’s plans, to a degree. I think both teams will play great throughout the night, and even if one team gets up by a few possessions, the high-powered offenses mean that it will still always be a game. However, I think near the end of the game, Ohio State is going to get the few stops it needs to seal the deal and move on to the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Final Score: Ohio State Buckeyes 52, Clemson Tigers 42
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