Tag Archives: College Playoff National Championship

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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Image Courtesy of Counse – Flickr

Duck Power: Royce Freeman

For the Oregon Ducks the last few years have been the best in school history. They have battled for the National Championship twice, gone to Rose Bowls, had a Heisman winner last year, and have had their “brand” explode across college football. One of the constants in this success has been a tremendous running attack. The Ducks run the ball all over the field and have had phenomenal talent in the backfield and this upcoming year will be no different. Royce Freeman is another in a long line great Duck running backs and he looks to improve on his freshman year.

Freeman ran for 1,365 yards last season and had 19 touchdowns to go with all those yards. People have to remember that Royce is only going to be a true sophomore. With a break out year like he had, there is talk of how Freeman can get into the Heisman race for 2015. Can he get in the race? Sure he can, but would voters go for a player from the same university as the year before? Probably not, but that has happened before. It has happened four times, with the last school winning back to back Heisman Trophy awards being another Pac-12 team in USC. Matt Leinart winning in 2003, Reggie Bush in 2004.

What will he have to do to get into the race? Obviously he is going to have to have a similar year if not better than 2014. The Ducks are going to have to win and win like they have in the past 5-7 years. He’s going to have to have Heisman “moments”, which means big, long runs as he is breaking tackles. Highlight type of runs, which means Sportscenter highlights in the Top 10 on a lot of Saturday nights. He has to become the star of the offense like Mariota was the last couple of years for the Ducks. The way running backs are chosen for this award, Freeman is going to have to have a season for the ages. He’s going to have stand out like crazy especially playing on the West Coast where most writers on the East Coast have already turned off their t.v’s and have gone to bed and won’t see his accomplishments in real time and in context with the entire game.

It’s been six years since a running back has won the award. Mark Ingram, from Alabama, was on the best team and was truly the best player on that team. Here’s one more thing that Ingram had in common with the other Heisman running backs… He had over 2,000 yards on the ground. Like I stated earlier, he needs a “season for the ages”.  Now, having a huge season doesn’t guarantee the Heisman because there have been plenty of running backs who have had around 2,000 yards and came up short in the Heisman voting. Melvin Gordon comes to mind, but he was competing against Mariota.

In the end, Royce Freeman is a guy that every defensive coordinator takes seriously and if he is successful in 2015, the Ducks will be successful. If you asked him what he thinks about winning the Heisman, he would probably say he doesn’t think about that stuff and that getting another shot at the National Championship is what he is all about. It’ll be interesting to watch the Ducks this year and how they make Royce Freeman the centerpiece of their offense. Go Ducks!

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National Championship: Good for the Conference?

In case you’ve been in a coma for the last few years, Ohio State University won the first ever College Football Playoff to be crowned the National Champion. Also, if you just woke up from a coma and are reading this you must really love your college football. It was a huge win for the Big Ten Conference as they had been largely and publicly ridiculed for being poor in 2014.

But how good for the conference is it really?

There’s no telling who came up with the idea first. If I had to guess, I’d probably say the SEC but that’s neither here nor there. The common saying that a team winning the championship is good for the entire conference but the real question is how? In retrospect a team may be given more credit for being able to hang with the eventual National Champion but at the time, it was most likely dismissed as a fluke.

The problem with college football is that it’s often hard to judge a team from year to year because of graduations and defections to the NFL. The really good players or those that have a single really good year usually bolt for the millions of dollars they are likely to make instead of continuing to do the same thing for kind of free (that’s a whole different discussion).

So what does that leave us with?

Recruiting class rankings.

Now it’s not a perfect system because coaches come and go. For example, Jim Harbaugh’s arrival at the University of Michigan has shaken things up there but let’s be honest here: Michigan is going to recruit well 99% of the time anyway. There’s a couple of other schools that always bring in the prospects whether they’re good or not, like Wisconsin or Penn State.

If you’re a fan of Indiana or Purdue, you probably have a feeling where this is going.

That’s right: we’re going to compare the bottom dwellers. If the theory that winning a championship holds true, then these schools should see an uptick in their recruiting class rankings. Is it a foolproof theory? Certainly not but I think we can agree that it’s at least logical.

If not, well tough. It’s my column so buckle up!

The recruiting year is still fresh having really only officially been underway since February so obviously the recruiting classes aren’t completely finished but let’s at least check in on where they are at right now.

Oh… Oh no….

Surprisingly, "sad Purdue fan" did not have a lot of search results.
Surprisingly, “sad Purdue fan” did not have a lot of search results.

Well according to Rivals.com neither Indiana or Purdue is even ranked yet. As far as I can tell that means that they don’t actually have a commitment yet. So this took an interesting turn. For comparison’s sake, Indiana ranked 7th in the Big Ten last year and Purdue 14th. That’s good for 49th and 69th respectively in the entire NCAA.

This could be read into heavily that Indiana and Purdue’s recruiting classes have fallen off drastically. However if you look more closely at the recruits the two schools bring in they tend to sign later in the year. Why? Most likely because they’re holding out hope that another school will offer them a scholarship instead. Man, this has been pretty brutal for Purdue and Indiana fans.

Luckily, thanks to the magic of the internet, we can travel back to the last time that the Big Ten won the National Championship in 2003. Again we find Ohio State at the top of the mountain after having defeated the favored University of Miami Hurricanes and me having to put up with numerous Ohio State fan family members be just a little bit obnoxious.

For our younger readers, there was actually a time when Purdue wasn’t all that bad. They had actually gone 7-6 so for this particular exercise we’re going to add another team into the mix. For those same younger readers, the University of Northwestern used to be pretty bad except for two magic years in the 90’s. In 2002 both they and Indiana had both gone 3-9 which is perfect for our little experiment here.

Purdue had checked in with the 38th overall recruiting class in the country which is actually pretty good. Northwestern and Indiana were a little more predictable at 65th and 82nd. Since those numbers are just that, I also found the average star rating of their commitments to add a little more weight.

Purdue: 2.69

Indiana: 2.31

Northwestern: 2.36

Fun fact: this was still the era that the Big Ten was considered one of, if not the, top power conference.

That was 2002 and then Maurice Clarett and Jim Tressel happened to the BCS and Ohio State was the champion to start out 2003. Since we have completed class rankings this time, we can actually make a comparison. Purdue climbed 7 spots up to 31 which isn’t outrageous and could easily be written off to normal circumstances. Northwestern went from 69 to 65 which barely counts. And then there’s- oh, hey.

Indiana went from 82nd to 59th.

That’s quite the jump. That’s actually a huge jump for a team that went 3-7. Indiana did beat Wisconsin when the Badgers were ranked #23 which probably caught the attention of some recruits but then dropped their next six games by double digits. That pretty much wipes out any good that a win over Wisconsin did.

What about the star rankings you ask? Settle down, I’m getting there.

Purdue: 2.48 to 2.69

Indiana: 2.1 to 2.31

Northwestern: 2.27 to 2.36

This is where the numbers get a little interesting. Indiana climbed 23 spots and had a star rating increase of .2 but Purdue only climbed 7 spots and still saw an increase of .19. Northwestern’s numbers make sense but these others are harder to reconcile. However presumably it’s harder to move up the rankings the further up you get which may account for why Purdue saw almost as much of a star ranking increase as Indiana but not as much movement in the overall rankings.

This isn’t just limited to the bottom of the bunch either. Illinois went from the 41st ranked class to the 30th. Minnesota went from 55th to 37th. Iowa went from 51st to 43rd. Penn State, wait… what?

Penn State went from the 21st recruiting class to the 93rd ranked class…

Michigan State went from the 32nd to the 66th…

Michigan State’s extreme drop can most likely be attributed to them firing their coach halfway through the season but there’s actually something to account for Penn State’s drop as well. The size of the recruiting class actually was 50% smaller, dropping from 22 players to 11. The star ranking actually only dropped from 3.36 to 3.27.

But we can still give some credit to this theory about winning a national championship helps the entire conference, right? Right? I mean Ohio State…

Oh, come on!

Ohio State’s recruiting class went from 5th to 41st…

Wait! This can be explained!

The 2003 class was only 16 players which was 10 less than the previous year’s. The average prospect rating only dropped from 3.65 to 3.38 which can be explained by the lack of players. A lot of players on that championship team were underclassmen so they didn’t have the option of leaving which meant there was less scholarships available.

What does that mean for our theory? Well, I think we’ve learned two things:

First off, there seems to be some credence to this theory. The majority of teams actually did seem to get a boost in the recruiting ranks and those that didn’t can have that explained away. The numbers actually seem to back this up as well. So yeah, a national championship does seem to be good for the whole conference.

Secondly, math is stupid.

 

On The Headset: Mark Helfrich

It is tough following a winner. It’s tough living up to high expectations. It’s tough winning in major college football period. Mark Helfrich, Head Coach of the Oregon Ducks, knows all too well about following a winner in Chip Kelly and the expectations that Kelly set with all of the success that he had in Eugene. One could argue that Helfrich has lived up to the high expectations that Duck fans have for the program now.

Helfrich is a guy that you would call “home grown”. He is a native of Oregon and played football at Southern Oregon University. He was a quarterback at Southern Oregon as you could probably tell by his body type. He’s not the most physically intimidating guy and he’s a very unassuming guy that probably could go undetectable in certain places. One of the places is not Eugene, Oregon. People in Eugene know who this guy is and have a great amount of respect for this man who is the man behind the curtain of the Oregon Duck program.

When fans think of Oregon football they think of the flashy uniforms, Nike, Marcus Mariota, and Phil Knight, founder of Nike. What fans and even media tend to lose sight of is that none of those previously mentioned things or people do not have direct control of the football related aspect of the Oregon program. That control is saved for Mark Helfrich. This coach is so undefined that it is easy for people to forget that he is the one with ALL the control. To Helfrich’s credit, he has defined himself and the program as the one that just goes about it’s business in a very quiet manner. That point could be argued because once the offense for the Ducks gets moving, there is nothing quiet about it.

Helfrich grew up on the Oregon Coast and went to high school at Marshfield High. One of the teachers at his high school has a picture of Helfrich in his high school football uniform. He takes the picture off the wall sometimes and will ask his students who that person is. Nobody has guessed who is in the picture accurately the first time they see it. When Helfrich’s former teacher tells them who it is, the kids have that confused look on their face. The kids say, “That, is the coach at Oregon?” He tells them that, in fact, it is the Duck coach. It doesn’t surprise his former teacher at all. Bruce Bryant is the former teacher of the Oregon coach and said that Helfrich wouldn’t have it any other way because he’s not about all the flash. He’s about the process as he calls it.

“Modesty and humbleness tends to keep people low-profile.” Says Bryant.

In other words, Helfrich would much rather keep this low-profile that he has managed for so long and have people focus on all the other the aspects of the program like the uniforms and all the Nike money. The question is, can Helfrich keep up this low profile type of personality in one of the highest profile jobs in all of college football? It’s going to be interesting to see if he can, but if anybody can it certainly can be Mark Helfrich.

As young kid growing up in a small Oregon coastal town, Helfrich grew up rooting and idolizing the Duck program. He would even sit around and try and mimic the Duck announcer on the radio and in the P.A. announcer at Autzen Stadium. When he was wanting to be a Duck as a young kid, he didn’t see them as the high octane Ducks that kids see them as now. He saw Rich Brooks as the coach of the team that was just starting to come out of being a low tier Pac-10 team. The part of the game that he did enjoy was the cerebral game. He would often sit around in class or at home and draw up football plays that he could possibly use at some point.

Mark Helfrich thought he would be some sort of surgeon as when he grew up, not the coach of one of the best football teams in college football. However, he is the coach of the Ducks, with a chance to make college football history and University of Oregon history. If he wins the initial college football playoff, he instantly goes to revered status in Eugene. People might say “Chip who?” if he wins the title.

It has been said that through the years of Oregon football that there has always been a family atmosphere and that is why there were coaches that started with Rich Brooks and have stayed on through the Helfrich era. That is what the fans want and they appreciate that the Helfrich era has kept this feeling. The fans didn’t have that with Chip Kelly, he gave them that “next level” success that any fan base would want, but he was an East Coast guy that came from an area that didn’t look at college football the same as they do in Eugene. It was a much more NFL dominated type of view, so when he left, many fans were not exactly sorry about it. Chip was didn’t really care to meet the media or alumni at the school, so when Helfrich came to be the coach, fans reacted with a better view of him because he was a home grown Oregon guy.

Mark Helfrich has won just like Kelly did, but he is certainly not the focus of the program like Chip Kelly was. Like Kelly, he has a shot at a National Championship. Will he do it? Nobody knows. One thing is for certain, Helfrich is going to do it his way and will continue to shape the program in his quiet, cerebral way and for right now, Duck fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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How FSU Got to the Rose Bowl

On January 1st the Florida State Seminoles take on the Oregon Ducks in the semifinals of the first ever College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl. Seminole fans have endured an up and down season for Jameis Winston, horrendous first halves, and games that come down to the last drive even though they never should have. Even though the Seminoles haven’t displayed the same dominance they did last year, the Seminoles finished the regular season unscathed, and have extended their winning streak to 29 consecutive games.

Looking back at the Seminoles season, even though it was extremely stressful at times, it was also one of the most exciting seasons to watch in college football. I wouldn’t be saying that if the Seminoles had lost of course, but now that they are safely in the playoffs, we can look at the critical moments and plays throughout the season that got them to where they are today.

1. Jameis Winston’s running touchdown versus Oklahoma State in the first game of the season. Only up 20-17 in the 3rd quarter of the game, from the 28-yard line, Winston takes it upon himself, hurdles a defender than upon landing slides to the left juking another defender, and dives into the end zone. This moment not only took life out of the Oklahoma State defense, but it was the most impressive run Jameis Winston has had in his career, displaying mobility that many Seminoles fans didn’t know he had in him. The Seminoles would go on to win the game 37-31, and start the season 1-0.

2. Clemson fumbling the ball with 1:26 left in the 4th quarter, at FSU’s 20-yard line. This simply was a game that the Seminoles should not have won. The Noles were playing without QB Jameis Winston, giving backup QB Sean Maguire his first start of his career, against ACC rival Clemson. Maguire didn’t play very well, with his worst play being an interception with two minutes left in the 4th quarter in FSU’s own territory. With Clemson poised to run out the clock and hit a game-winning field goal, running back C.J. Davidson fumbled the ball at FSU’s 20-yard line that gave Sean Maguire this “Oh My God we got the ball back” reaction below. The Seminoles would go on to win the game in overtime and preserve their undefeated record.

3. The third critical moment of Florida State’s season was against NC State when they were down 24-7 at the end of the first quarter. This was the first real situation for the Seminoles where they were in a deep hole, and needed to have a big comeback in order to win. Unfortunately this would foreshadow the rest of the season for the Seminoles, with the whole “Winston and the defense will start slow and then they get it together to finish the rest of the game,” technique beginning in this game. The Seminoles would go on to win the game by scoring 56 points, and established the Seminoles ability to come back in games that have awful beginnings.

4. This next play, or call by the referee, rivals the Clemson fumble as the most crucial play of the year; the offensive pass interference call on Notre Dame, that nullified a touchdown with 13 seconds remaining in the game. With the Seminoles up 4 points, the Fighting Irish drove to the goal line with time expiring in the 4th quarter. On 4th and 2, Notre Dame lined up three receivers on the ride side of the field, and used two of those receivers to illegally pick two Seminoles defenders, springing the third WR to a wide-open touchdown. A flag was thrown on the two Notre Dame receivers, nullifying the touchdown, and forced a 4th and goal from the 18 yard line for the Irish, that ended up being picked off by the Seminoles, preserving the 31-27 victory.

5. Dalvin Cook’s 26-yard touchdown run against Miami when the Noles were down 3 points, giving the Noles a 4-point lead with 3 minutes remaining in the game. This wasn’t only the game winning score of the game, this run, and this game, established true freshman RB Dalvin Cook as the lead running back for Florida State as he turned 7 carries into 92 yards in this game. In the next three games against Boston College, Florida and Georgia Tech, Cook would go on to rush for 397 yards. Cook’s explosiveness and ability to turn a 4-yard gain into a 30-yard gain, was something that Florida State’s offense had been missing all season from the running back position.

True Freshman Dalvin Cook has been a revelation at the running back position
True Freshman Dalvin Cook has been a revelation at the running back position for the Seminoles

6. In the biggest game of the season, Jameis Winston would buck his horrible start to games trend, and play a near perfect game against #11 ranked Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game. After throwing three interceptions against Florida in the previous game, Winston threw for over 300 yards, 3 touchdowns, and zero interceptions against Georgia Tech. This was the type of game that Florida State fans were looking for Jameis Winston to have all season. Looking past the ACC Championship game, Seminole fans knew that Winston would have to play much better football if they wanted a chance to win the National Championship, and the way that Winston played against Georgia Tech assured everyone that in huge games like this, with everything on the line, Jameis Winston will play up to his ability. It now appears that Jameis Winston is playing the best he has all year, and is poised to lead the Seminoles to their second straight National Championship.

These moments have all had huge impacts on the Seminoles season, and have gotten them to their birth in the College Playoff. These moments also point to how crazy the Seminoles season has been. Without a Clemson fumble, a offensive pass interference call against Notre Dame, and the emergence of Dalvin Cook, Florida State could easily have three or more losses right now. However, these pieces have all fallen into place, the #3 Seminoles are 13-0, and will face the #2 Oregon Ducks in the College Football Playoff semifinal on January 1st.