2016 College Football Playoff Preview

Ed Walters, Sports Editor

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With the regular season having ended and individual awards having been given out in the last few weeks, the only thing collegiate football fans have to look forward to until next August is bowl season, the most exciting part of the season.

I’ll be taking a look at the third installment of the College Football Playoff since the eradication of the BCS system. The four best teams in the country (according to the committee, at least) will be squaring off on December 31, with a championship game coming on January 9.

 

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

 

Who: No.1 Alabama vs. No.4 Washington

When: December 31, 2016

Time: 3 P.M. ET

Line: Alabama -14

 

Analysis

There’s a reason why Alabama have been the consensus number one team in the country from the beginning of the season to the end, they dominate their opponents in all facets of the game and are the most physically talented team in the country. They boast the number one defense in the nation, giving up only 248 YPG, as well as the 13th highest scoring offense.

 

Washington, a seemingly average team coming into the season, have been one of the biggest surprises of the season. Their offense, led by sophomore quarterback Jake Browning, have been superb this season, steamrolling their way through the Pac-12. They are number four in terms of highest scoring offenses this season, and number one among teams in the playoff. Behind the coaching of Chris Petersen, they have been relatively mistake free this season, ranking number one in turnover margin nation wide and only throwing seven interceptions.

 

While most people presume that Alabama will be able to breeze through this game without much of a challenge, I believe Washington will be able to a strong threat to their undefeated season. The Huskies secondary shouldn’t have too much of an issue containing the pass attack led by freshman Jalen Hurts, and if they can find a way to contain the rushing game, they have a tremendous chance of pulling off this upset. Despite the fact Washington matches up extremely well with Alabama, I see The Tide over matching the Huskies.

Prediction: Alabama wins 31-24

 

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

Who: No. 2 Clemson vs. No.3 Ohio State

When: December 31, 2016

Time: 7 P.M. ET

Line: Ohio State -3

Photos obtained from Google Images under creative commons

 

Analysis:

This years Fiesta Bowl features two of the most explosive offenses in the country, led by quarterbacks J.T. Barrett, for The Ohio State Buckeyes, and Deshaun Watson, for The Clemson Tigers.

 

Expected to be a much closer matchup than the Peach Bowl, Ohio state will go in as slight favorites and boast a much stronger defense than Clemson, ranking fifth in yards allowed to Clemson who rank outside the top 50. The fate of Clemson will likely depend upon the fortunes of Deshaun Watson, who has recently won the Davey O’Brien award (given to the best quarterback in the country) for the second year in a row. Despite Watson having led The Tigers all the way to a national championship last year, he has been extremely prone to turnovers this season, throwing 15 interceptions.

 

With these teams being extremely evenly matched, the x-factor could come down to the coaching. Urban Meyer, the coach for Ohio State, has been tremendous for his whole tenure at Ohio State, but Dabo Swinney, the coach for Clemson, has been the best at preparing his team for bowl games in the country since he started his career with The Tigers.

 

Prediction: Clemson wins 38-31

 

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