Posts tagged college football playoff
CFP National Championship game preview

It’s an all-SEC final. The Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) take on the Georgia Bulldogs (13-1) in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The Tide is playing in their third straight natty, having split the last two against Clemson. After a timely loss to Auburn cost them a date with the Dawgs in the SEC Championship game, the Tide were still able to squeak into the Playoff as the #4 seed. They proceeded roll through #1 Clemson putting on a defensive masterpiece.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Georgia's last Championship came in 1980 when Herschel Walker's team ran the table en route to a #1 ranking at season's end. Auburn also spoiled the Dawgs' undefeated season, but Georgia turned around and beat the Tigers in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. After making the playoffs as the #3 seed, the Bulldogs overcame a 31-14 lead against Oklahoma to win 54-48 in double overtime in one of the most thrilling college football games in recent memory.

The Crimson Tide will bring their elite defense while the Bulldogs will counter the best running back tandem in the league with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb and Michel combined for 326 rushing yards with 5 touchdowns against Oklahoma, and Michel hauled in 41 receiving yards with another touchdown. This will be a huge matchup against an Alabama defense that has given up under 100 yards per game on the ground and limited Clemson to just 64 rushing yards last week. Georgia likely won’t be able to put up 54 points against this defense but they will have more success than Clemson.

Vasha Hunt

Vasha Hunt

Alabama’s offence didn’t look too spectacular against Clemson, and while Georgia did poorly facing Oklahoma, the defense is surely ready to bounce back for this big game. Butkus Awardee Roquan Smith is the name to watch on that defense as he looks to be a top 10 pick and one of the first linebackers off the board in the upcoming NFL Draft. Not to be outdone, Minkah Fitzpatrick headlines Bama's secondary, having won the Chuck Bednarik award for Best defensive player in the nation and looks to be a top 5 pick in the draft.

Georgia needs the run game to survive, but freshman QB Jake Fromm has to be able to stay composed and make the right plays to avoid being chewed up and spit out by this defense. But Alabama can’t just rely on their defense to win the game for them; they need their running game to have some sort of impact. More crucially for the offence is Jalen Hurts who has the experience of being in the title game last year but did not have a good game. He should look to improve upon that to win the title.

2018 Sugar Bowl recap: Tide rolls over Tigers in rubber match
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Classic Bama.

The Tide rolled through Clemson down at the Superdome Monday, putting forth a dominating
performance against a Clemson team that just couldn’t handle them. The defence held Tigers QB Kelly
Bryant to under 150 total yards (!!!) while picking him off twice and sacking him 5 times. The
revenge factor was evident early in this game; Clemson couldn’t get a 1st down in the first
quarter and the offensive struggles persisted throughout the game as they were only able to
muster 188 total yards of offence.

The Clemson defence did a decent job of holding firm in the first half and only gave up 17 points on the day as Bama had a pick 6 to add to their point total. Jalen Hurts wasn’t too consistent but he managed the game well enough to let the defence do their job.

The game started slow with the first points not being scored a Bama field goal
with 5 minutes left in the first quarter. Then Jalen Hurts connected with Calvin Ridley for a touchdown to make it 10-0 just before the end of the quarter. Clemson got on the board in the 2nd quarter to cut the lead to 10-3. Towards the end of the half, the Tide offence made their way down the field, only to miss a 38- yard field goal.

Clemson stayed within 7 at the half.
The Tigers caught a little burst of momentum to start the 2nd half, as a fumble on Alabama’s first play from scrimmage was recovered by the Tigers’ top tackler, Kendall Joseph. But they were only able to get 3 points off the turnover which was a
huge letdown for the comeback. At 10-6, Clemson was heading back across into Alabama territory before the turning point came. Faced with pressure, Kelly Bryant barely got off a weak toss that went straight into the hands of lineman Da’ron Payne. That led straight to a goal line touchdown pass from Hurts to Payne himself for the always awesome “big man touchdown”

Clemson needing to make something happen down 17-6 but the very next play from
Kelly Bryant was returned to the house by Bama's Mack Wilson.The 3rd quarter is a little early to call the game but this Clemson offence was almost lifeless, and the Tigers fell 24-6.

A brief look at the offences will show that this game did not match the offensive explosions of 2017 and 2016. Calvin Ridley (4 catches, 39 yards, 1 touchdown) and Damien Harris (19-77-0) had solid but unspectacular performances for Alabama while Bo Scarbrough struggled to get going. On the other side, Deon Cain (6-75- 0) had a decent game but Hunter Renfrow was shut down in his 3rd game against the Tide. In his previous 2 games he had 17 catches for 180 yards and 4 touchdowns. Today he had just 5 catches for 31 yards.

This game was all about Alabama’s suffocating defence. Let’s look at some outstanding
individual performances. Rashaan Evans is a high end linebacker prospect for the upcoming NFL draft and may have solidified his spot in the 1st round with this terrific output. He had 9 total tackles to lead the team along with a sack and a pass defended. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a lock for the top 10 in the draft and put up a good case for him to be the highest drafted defensive player. He was tasked with shutting down Hunter Renfrow and he definitely accomplished that. If you look at the pick 6 by Mack Wilson you will see Fitzpatrick deflected the pass before it goes up and into Wilson’s hands for the pick six.

A player who made a name for themselves in this game: Anfernee Jennings. He had 4 solo tackles with a sack and 3 tackles for loss, and he was the rusher that forced the first Kelly Bryant interception. The Tigers offensive line couldn’t keep Jennings in check.

Clemson’s defence featured some strong draft prospects. Christian Wilkins had 7 solo tackles from the DL spot and was instrumental in resisting the 3 headed rushing attack of the Tide. The 6’5” DE Clelin Ferrell added to his impressive sack total on the season with 1 today along with 2 tackles.

Alabama’s defence was clearly still an elite star studded lineup that showcased their talents at each position. The Bama offence actually wasn’t as great as last time and Clemson had their best defensive showing of the 3 matchups. The key difference was the Tiger offence. The difference in the level of play between former QB Deshaun Watson and Kelly Bryant was much more significant than many thought. While Watson shredded that vaunted Bama defence in back to back years, Kelly Bryant was ineffective from the very beginning. Saban and his team were not going to let Clemson beat them again; as they got their revenge.

This time the Elephants hunted the Tigers.

2018 Rose Bowl recap: Georgia wins a Rose Bowl for the Ages
(  AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

With Quavo, Terrell Davis, Todd Gurley, Blake Griffin and YG in attendance, you got the feeling that this Rose Bowl was going to be special. To the delight of the Georgia Bulldogs - a team that was always the bridesmaid and not the bride with former head coach Mark Richt - found its Hollywood story.

The Dawgs triumphed over the Oklahoma Sooners in the highest scoring Rose Bowl in history, as well as the first to go to overtime. They'll head home to Atlanta for an all-SEC match-up with Alabama for the National Championship.

The Sooners seemed to silence the pro-Georgia crowd out of the gates. Heisman trophy-winner Baker Mayfield came out firing, making easy work of the Bulldogs defense on the first drive. He got them on the board with a 13-yard touchdown strike to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.

Georgia responded with their own touchdown to make it 7-7 with Jake Fromm hitting Sony Michel for a TD. The Sooners however went on to score the next 14 points to go up 21-7. Oklahoma was able to do so by feeding Rodney Anderson, the best player on the offensive side of the ball for Oklahoma during the game. Anderson showcased amazing speed and vision in the backfield against a pretty good front seven from Georgia.

 

Michel returned the favor by outrunning the whole state of Oklahoma for a 75-yard touchdown. It was clear he had the speed advantage against a very shaky Sooner defense, going untouched for 6.

Oklahoma looked to be in the driver’s seat when a touchdown reception by Mayfield put them up 31-14. A failed squib on the kickoff put Georgia in good field position. Fromm hit Terry Godwin with a quick pass to put them in field goal range, and Rodrigo Blankenship made a crucial 55-yard field goal to keep it a two-score game heading into half.

The Dawgs defense came out inspired on both sides of the ball, forcing two quick punts and giving the offense a chance to get back in the game. Nick Chubb went full on beast mode and proved that Oklahoma would fold sooner rather than later.

Sony Michel would also go on to score his third touchdown on the day tying the game up at 31 and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

 

The Sooners were rattled, blowing a 17-point lead in about 15 minutes of actual game time. Mayfield threw a careless pass, and it was picked off by Dominick Sanders who returned it inside the redzone. Georgia was able to score two plays later on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Fromm to Javon Wims. For all the hype Baker Mayfield got, Fromm seemed to play as good as he did.

Down 38-31, the Oklahoma offense got back on track. Mayfield found Dimitri Flowers in the endzone on a very nice rollout pass to his left to tie the ballgame back up at 38.

The Sooner defense caught a break on the next drive, scoring off of a 46-yard scoop and score by Steven Parker, putting Oklahoma Ahead with a little under seven minutes to play. Georgia would get the ball back down 7 with three minutes to play. On the final drive of regulation, Jake Fromm looked poised and better than advertised, moving the sticks downfield. A defensive pass interference call put the ball at the 2 yard, and Nick Chubb did the rest, scoring out of the wildcat and sending the game into OT.

Both teams exchanged field goals to start. Oklahoma looked go start the second OT, but Lorenzo Carter had other plans, blocking the field goal, and setting up MVP Sony Michel for the grand finale.

Michel ended up with over 200 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns, leading the Bulldogs to a 54-48 win over the Sooners in one of the best Rose Bowls ever.

The Barber's Chair College Football playoff predictions
Credit: Scout.com

Credit: Scout.com

No more debate over conference champs being left out. No more debate over a 1-loss Wisconsin with a horrendous SOS. No more crying for an eight-team playoff, for the next eight days.

It's New Years Day, and the College Football Playoff is back where it belongs - in Pasadena and New Orleans. Watching Rose and Sugar Bowl football on New Years Day is as American as that time R. Kelly flipped the national anthem into a stepper's set. Pour me some cognac and fire up your grill from your 24th story balcony. Subzero temps be damned!

This year's slate is shaping up to be the best in the series thus far. Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield looks to prove his NFL doubters wrong as he leads the Oklahoma Sooners into the Rose Bowl against draft hopeful Nick Chubb and the Georgia Bulldogs, champions of the SEC for the first time in over a decade. On one sideline, Good Ol' JR. On the other... UGA!!!!!

In the nightcap, it's Bama-Clemson III. Nick Saban and Dabo Sweeney have split the last two battles in the natty. This one's for the right to go to the title game, but it will be just as electric as their past encounters.

So who goes to Atlanta next Monday for the National Championship? and who takes it all home? I asked the team to give their picks:


Scott Lewis: Oklahoma over Georgia, Clemson over Alabama. National champion: Oklahoma

Joe Lewis: Oklahoma over Georgia, Clemson over Alabama. National champion: Oklahoma

Rob Christie: Oklahoma over Georgia, Clemson over Alabama. National champion: Oklahoma

Chris Novak: Georgia over Oklahoma, Clemson over Alabama. National champion: Georgia

James Teague: Georgia over Oklahoma, Alabama over Clemson. National champion: Alabama

Harjan Padda: Oklahoma over Georgia, Clemson over Alabama. National champion: Clemson

Daniel Beltz: Georgia over Oklahoma, Clemson over Alabama. National champion: Clemson

Smoove Friday: Oklahoma over Georgia, Alabama over Clemson. National champion: Alabama

Eyeless: Oklahoma over Georgia, Alabama over Clemson. National champion: Oklahoma

Omar Cook: Oklahoma over Georgia, Alabama over Clemson. National champion: Alabama

Dante Miles: Georgia over Oklahoma, Alabama over Clemson. National champion: Alabama

Alec Lifschultz: Oklahoma over Georgia, Alabama over Clemson. National champion: Oklahoma