The College Football Playoff is only in its second year but is not of the most scrutinized things in sports. Most people think that four teams is not enough and that it should be expanded to eight or even more, it depends on who you listen to. At this point in time four teams are just right for this as it is still a start-up and the people behind it are still figuring out how to make everything work. That being said here is how I see the College Football Playoff (CFP) shaking out.
Oklahoma vs. Clemson
Both teams have Heisman vote getters under center, in the form of Baker Mayfield for Oklahoma and Deshaun Watson for Clemson. Both teams have explosive offenses and quality defenses, and unlike other teams playing in the New Years Six bowls they haven’t played a bad schedule. Oklahoma has arguably been one of the best teams in the nation since losing at Texas back in early October. Clemson is the only remaining undefeated team in the nation en route to getting the number ranking and holding since the first CFP ranking. This also is a rematch of the Russell Athletic Bowl from last year in which Clemson obliterated Oklahoma 40-6. Oklahoma has to come out and be looking for revenge against, what essentially is, the same Clemson team from last year but better now that Deshaun Watson is healthy. Clemson is a mostly balanced team but has a slight lean toward running when on offense as seen below. Oklahoma, on the other hand, is balanced with a lean toward passing as seen below. That is expected as they have one of the best passers in the nation in Mayfield, but also one of the best backfield tandems in Mixon and Perine. This game will be either the best/most exciting game of the year, or just a absolute decimation of one of these teams. I prefer the first and will say that Oklahoma wins on a last minute drive by Baker Mayfield to win 45-41.
Alabama vs Michigan State
Alabama gets another Big Ten team in the first round of the CFP for the second straight year. Can Michigan State pull a Ohio State and beat a hyped Alabama team and win the CFP? I think it could happen, but first Michigan State has to first get past Alabama and Heisman winner Derrick Henry. Michigan State’s big questions are can they score on Alabama’s defense behind Connor Cook’s arm? The other question is which MSU defense will show up? The ones who allowed under 150 yards for 8 of their first 9 games, or the ones who allowed almost 300 yards to Air Force? This will decide the game because Alabama is based around rushing on offense. Derrick Henry had almost 2000 yards this year but also had to have taken a lot of carries on the year. If Derrick Henry can be the Heisman he is and get Alabama a lead they will win this game. Michigan State should be able to throw the ball all over the field, if Sparty can get their run game going this will be a offensive game instead of a defensive one. I think if Michigan State brings the game they had against Ohio State they can win this game. My prediction is Henry gets almost 200 yards but needs 40+ carries to do it, Michigan State still wins 24-21 and shows the SEC is not as good as we thought.