Once again the college football playoff will have familiar foes battling for FBS supremacy. Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Clemson are making repeat appearances.
Clemson leads the pack with five appearances, Oklahoma (4) and Ohio State (3).
LSU will be the lone newcomer. The Tigers are led by Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Joe Burrow. They will take on Big 12 Champion Oklahoma who is led by former Alabama quarterback and LSU rival Jalen Hurts. Offensively, LSU is ranked No. 1 in the FBS, while Oklahoma is No. 2 in what will surely be a shootout.
In the Fiesta Bowl, Clemson will take on Ohio State. The Tigers have been untested, plowing through a weak ACC schedule. The Buckeyes, however, have beaten every opponent by double digits. Defensively Clemson is ranked No. 1 in the FBS, and the Buckeyes are No. 2.
Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 2 Ohio State
There’s so much that can be said about this matchup. Both teams are among the leaders in every statistical category. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has 40 touchdowns to just one interception. If that stat doesn’t open your eyes, running back J.K. Dobbins had 1,829 yards rushing, 20 touchdowns, and zero fumbles. Are you catching on? The Buckeyes don’t turn the ball over, and their offense is stacked.
Defensively, the Buckeyes front is as good as anyone, and have potentially the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft Chase Young. He’s helped propel the Buckeye defense to No. 3 in sacks, No. 2 in pass defense, and No. 3 in scoring defense. Clemson’s stats may be slightly better defensively overall, but they were playing against arguably the sixth or seventh best conference in the FBS. The ACC in one word can be described as “weak”. Clemson hasn’t faced a tough opponent yet, however, Ohio State has wins over Wisconsin (twice) Cincinnati, Penn State, and Michigan. All of those victories have come by at least 11 points.
Prediction: Ohio State 20, Clemson 17
Peach Bowl: No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 LSU
Everything Oklahoma can do, LSU can do better. Sure Oklahoma may average 251 rushing yards a game which would be better than LSU’s 167 yards per game, however, Oklahoma is doing it against terrible defenses. LSU carved up Georgia and Florida who are among the top 10 in total defense.
The best defense Oklahoma faced this season was TCU who ranks 28th. In that game, Oklahoma was held to a season-low 28 points. The Tigers’ defense over the last three games has been lights out. They manhandled Arkansas (as they should). Texas A&M who averaged 30 points per game was held to seven. The Tigers followed up that performance up by holding Georgia to just 10 points in the SEC Championship.
Prediction: LSU 36, Oklahoma 32