Tag Archives: College Football National Championship

College Football Playoff National Championship Preview

With the National Championship on Monday, I was tasked with writing a proper preview. The game is the first rematch in the D1 National Championship era. The respective beatings that Alabama and Clemson handed to Washington and Ohio State, two teams who were supposed to be amongst the top four in the country, left me unable to find the proper terms or analogies to show just how incredible the Crimson Tide and the Tigers have been over the course of the season. As I thought more about the matchup, I began to see Alabama and Clemson less as college football teams and more as legendary figures set to do battle. With that in mind, I set to find a chimerical battle that properly described the teams. At this point, I remembered the Greek myth of the fight between Heracles (known as Hercules to Romans and Disney fans) and the Hydra, two figures that I realized represented the teams in the National Championship perfectly. Don’t believe me? Let me explain.

From the depths of the Black Warrior River, the Tuscaloosan Hydra has vanquished any and all in its way this year. With college football stars like Jonathan Allen, Marlon Humphrey, Cam Robinson, Reuben Foster, Tim Williams, O.J. Howard, and Jalen Hurts headlining an elite roster, the Crimson Tide truly embody the mythological serpent’s ability to regenerate its decapitated heads. So many teams come into matchups attempting to best Alabama straight on, only to be swarmed by sheer magnitude of talent that the Crimson Tide possesses on its roster. Interestingly enough, this week it felt like Alabama cut off one of its own heads, as the Tide parted ways with Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin a mere week before the National Championship game. We don’t yet know how the offense will blend with new OC Steve Sarkisian, but the change could prove to be the biggest weakness in Alabama’s team all season.

Heracles here is none other than Deshaun Watson, the descendant of “Clemson football gods” Tajh Boyd and Steve Fuller. Like Heracles, Deshaun-cles has the combined strength, agility, willpower and intuition of his predecessors. Deshaun-cles, with some help from his foster father, general “Dabo” Amphitryon and his army of tigers, has completed all of his labours to this point. Deshaun-cles has already defeated the Louisville bronze-beaked man-eating birds, killed the fearsome Seminole giant Geryon Cook, captured the Palmetto Hind, and most recently, slain the Ohioan Lion. All that is left on Deshaun-cles’ list of labours is to kill the Tuscaloosan Hydra. Whether or not Deshaun-cles and the Tigers can sear Alabama’s wound closed and bury the head under a rock will be answered Monday night.

Okay, okay, let’s get serious and talk what is actually going to go down on Monday evening. Deshaun-cles Deshaun Watson and the Tiger offense are looking to score early and minimize the scoring ability of the Crimson Tide. I think the difference between the upcoming matchup and Washington’s effort in the Peach Bowl is that the Tigers, through their elite spread offensive approach, will be able to beat the Alabama defense early enough to have the points to counteract the massive retaliation that often occurs once an Alabama opponent scores. I think both Alabama and Clemson will get into the double digits by the mid-second quarter, but the game will then start to slow down. Both the Alabama and the Clemson defenses will take over for the middle two quarters of the contest. However, by the fourth, with the game tied, what I predict will be an incredibly physical matchup will begin to take its toll. Possibly some injuries, cramps or just exhaustion will start to take effect. The offenses, having been handicapped by the ferocious play of the respective defenses, will see an opportunity and kick back into high gear. Unfortunately for Clemson, Deshaun Watson, who has thrown numerous interceptions this season, will at some point have an Alabama defender jump a route, leading to a Crimson Tide touchdown. Alabama then kicks a field goal to go up by 10 late in the game. Clemson will score a last minute touchdown, but fail to recover the onside kick, finishing off Alabama’s victory in this year’s National Championship game, making the Tide back-to-back champions, and giving Nick Saban his sixth National Title.

Final Score: Alabama Crimson Tide 27, Clemson Tigers 24

 

Email Cooper at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.
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Predicted: New Year’s Six and the College Football Playoff National Championship

This is the third and final part of my 2016 College Football Preview. The picks in this article directly reflect my first and second article, so check those out before reading this one.

Orange Bowl (ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND) 12/31/16

Miami (9-4) vs. LSU (10-2)

The Matchup: Miami will get the automatic ACC bid, as the Hurricanes are the best ACC team not in the CFP. LSU squeezes its way into the New Year’s Six over the likes of Notre Dame, the second team in line who just misses the New Year’s Six due to their indecisiveness at the QB position early in the season, which cost a few games. Other teams who are in the hunt for the Tigers’ Orange Bowl spot are Michigan State, Ole Miss and Arkansas, but none of them finish over 9-3.

The Game: This is Leonard Fournette’s final game in an LSU jersey. He will eat up the Miami defense, which will have to deal with a bit of Les Miles madness. LSU will come out passing early and often, as the Miami defense gets weaker the further away from the line of scrimmage you go. Once the Tigers expose Miami’s pass defense, LSU will catch the Hurricanes on their heels by simply letting Fournette run over the competition. Fournette’s early season injury may keep him out of the Heisman Race, but he will sure look like a Heisman winner after this game is all said and done. LSU will simply put up too many points for the Hurricanes to keep up with.

Final Score: LSU Tigers 38 – Miami Hurricanes 20

Cotton Bowl (At-Large vs. At-Large) 1/2/17

Michigan (11-1) vs. UH (12-1)

The Matchup: Michigan is not happy to be here. The Wolverines believe that it belongs in the CFP. However, it ends up playing in Dallas facing off against a Houston Cougars squad whose excitement to be in this spotlight inversely mirrors the Wolverines.

The Game: The team’s respective enthusiasm for this particular game reflects into the matchup’s first half to a large degree. Michigan comes out uninterested and sluggish, which a Greg Ward, AAC player of the Year, powered Cougar offense heavily exploits. The First Half ends with the Cougars up 14-10. The Wolverines swing back in the second half, and take a three-point lead over UH with just over a minute left in the game. Greg Ward leads a final charge down the field into the red zone with time winding down. However, after two incomplete passes, Jabrill Peppers fools Ward, after Peppers fakes a blitz before dropping back into coverage. The strong Wolverine defensive line forces Ward to rush a decision, and he overlooks Peppers before throwing a pass which Peppers intercepts.

Final Score: Michigan Wolverines 41 – Houston Cougars 38

Rose Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac-12) 1/2/17

Iowa (9-4) vs. Stanford (11-2)

The Matchup: Iowa, who lost the Big Ten championship to Ohio State, gets the automatic Rose Bowl bid. Stanford, meanwhile, wins the Pac-12 and because no Pac-12 team gets into the CFP, are the other automatic bid, which makes the 2017 Rose Bowl an identical matchup to the 2016 game.

The Game:  This game will have a similar outcome as the matchup the previous year. Stanford will let Christian McCaffrey run free, and he will single-handedly slaughter Iowa. Iowa, in all honesty, does not belong in the Rose Bowl, and once again, the game’s result shows that. This one is not even close.

Final Score: Stanford Cardinal 31 – Iowa Hawkeyes 6

Sugar Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC) 1/2/17

TCU (10-2) vs. Tennessee (10-3)

The Matchup: I’m going to be honest. Even though I picked them to be here, I would be surprised if Tennessee can win the SEC East and get the automatic bowl berth. The Volunteers’ inconsistency over the last several years makes I hard to believe that it can string together a solid season and take the East over Georgia and Florida. But, that’s what my mind believed when I wrote last week’s prediction article, so here we are. If the Volunteers manage to make it to the Sugar Bowl, it will face off against TCU, winners of the lackluster Big 12.

The Game: Despite the fact that I don’t think it will make it to this game, I think the SEC will prove too much for TCU. Tennessee, behind powerhouse running back Jalen Hurd and a Joshua Dobbs who develops into a great passer throughout the season, are able to out muster the Horned Frogs offensively. Tennessee’ defense, which nine starters, will shut down the Horned Frogs’ offense. This will be a defensive battle between these two teams, but the Volunteers prevail.

Final Score: Tennessee Volunteers 24 – TCU Horned Frogs 17

Peach Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal)  12/31/16

#1 Ohio State (13-0) vs. #4 FSU (11-1)

The Matchup: Ohio State, still riding off “The Game of the Century” Part 2, in which the Buckeyes beat #2 ranked Michigan, gets the #1 overall seed for the third annual College Football Playoff. FSU, meanwhile, campaigns hard for its spot, which the Seminoles fight Michigan, Stanford, TCU and Houston for. However, dominating wins late in the season after a close defeat to Clemson allow FSU to squeeze into its second College Football Playoff appearance.

The Game: Lead by recently crowned Heisman Trophy winner, J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes get off to a quick start, scoring quickly on a pass over the middle against the weakest part of the Seminole defense. However, the Buckeyes’ inexperienced defense will struggle to do anything to stop the Dalvin Cook Seminole offense, and FSU goes up by 10 heading into halftime. Coming out of the half, Dontre Wilson brings the kickoff all the way back for a touchdown, making the Buckeyes deficit only three. Both defenses then hunker down, with the likes of Raekwon McMillan and DeMarcus Walker dominating for the Buckeyes and Seminoles respectively. Late in the 4th, J.T. Barrett leads Ohio State down the field, but Urban Meyer has to settle for a field goal. However, with two minutes to work with, Dalvin Cook is able to take his time and rush the Seminoles into Field Goal position with only a few ticks left. Ricky Aguayo gets a perfect hold ad knocks home a 52-yard field goal as time expires to allow the Seminoles to win.

Final Score: Florida State Seminoles 23 – Ohio State Buckeyes 20

Fiesta Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal) 12/31/16

#2 Clemson (13-0) vs. #3 Alabama (12-1)

The Matchup: Winners of the ACC and SEC respectively, Clemson and Alabama both come off monster season to qualify as the middle seeds for the College Football Playoff. Heisman runner-up Deshaun Watson, Clemson finished undefeated, while Alabama’s only loss came to Ole Miss early in the season.

The Game: This game will ultimately come down to Clemson’s offense vs. Alabama’s defense. The Alabama offense will struggle with Cooper Bateman at the helm, but Clemson’s defense will not be nearly as dominant as years past, allowing the Crimson Tide to find holes to score both on the ground and in the air. However, the issue for Alabama is that Clemson’s offense simply has too many pieces, as if the passing game to wide outs Mike Williams and Artavis Scott struggles, Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman, both of whom were 1000 yard rushers in 2015, can simply push Alabama back behind the Tigers’ O-Line. Though Alabama remains in the game in the first half, Clemson comes out firing in the second and breaks the game wide open. Alabama, though talented, won’t have an answer for Clemson, and the Tigers win the game by a fairly wide margin. The Crimson Tide’s shot at returning to the College Football National Championship is cut one game short.

Final Score: Clemson Tigers 45 – Alabama Crimson Tide 24

 College Football Playoff National Championship 1/9/16 (Tampa, FL)

#2 Clemson Tigers (14-0) vs. #4 Florida State Seminoles (12-1)

The Game: This game is going to be a rematch of possibly the best offensive matchup of the 2016 season. Earlier, Clemson beat out FSU in Tallahassee, and that is why the Tigers remained undefeated the entire year. The National Championship, featuring two teams less located less than 600 miles from the game’s location, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, will be an offensive bout the likes of which we haven’t seen in man years. While both teams have competent defenses, Clemson and FSU will look to win the National Championship with offensive firepower. This game will actually not be as much of a nail-biter as their first matchup, as Deshaun Watson, in his second straight title game, will come out firing on all cylinders. FSU will stay in the game, but the Clemson offense will prove to be too much, and keep a constant lead over the Seminoles the entire game. The Clemson Tigers will have its first National Title since 1981.

Final Score: Clemson Tigers 48 – Florida State 35

E-mail Cooper at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.

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