Predicting College Football Playoff Semifinals

Opinion and Insight

Fans of competitive college football have to be pleased with the 2017 postseason, as many bowl games have been decided by one or fewer scores.

Unless, of course, you are one of those whiney, pantywaist PAC-12 supporters, who are always sniffling over the rest of the country not giving the Left Coast enough respect. A 1-8 combined bowl record proves you deserve ridicule, not respect.

It was wonderful to see both Iowa and Iowa State win their respective games, and the Big 10 has looked good with wins by Wisconsin and Ohio State (albeit over 1-2-3 straight loss phoney Miami and against clearly overrated USStink).

Now come the games that really matter, the College Football Playoff Semifinals a.k.a. the Alabama Invitational.

ROSE BOWL: Oklahoma vs. Georgia. Baker Mayfield this, Baker Mayfield that. Don’t give me that Baker Mayfield crap — sustained good against Kansas and their ilk is one thing, against an SEC champ? Well . . .

That said, I think the Heisman winner will indeed lead the Sooners to several quick scores with dramatic plays. But he is also going to be harried — and hit — like never before. He will also have the ball the fewest times this season as the Bulldog running game eats up a soft OU defense.

Remember that OU allowed Iowa State to score five TDs and limit the Sooners to four scores, and that was in Norman. Georgia is a different beast. Head coach and defensive guru Kirby Smart will make former boss Nick Saban proud in this one … GEORGIA 31-17.

SUGAR BOWL: Clemson vs. Alabama. Clemson won Alabama’s title last year and has 61 victories in the past five years. Alabama beat Clemson to win their 16th national championship, second in five years and 62nd triumph in that span.

The teams have a deep respect for each other, but looming just under the surface is a bubbling hatred — Clemson of the name that keeps being mentioned before their own and Alabama for the pretentious newcomer who stole a title on a no-call and who doesn’t have the history to join the argument.

Clemson has every right to enter the game confident. The Tiger defense is mighty and could wreck the Alabama offense while Kelly Bryant is the kind of dual-threat quarterback it takes to play with the Tide.

Bama QB Jalen Hurts, a true sophomore, is 23-2, and his TD run in the waning moments last year would have been the highlight had not his opposing number pulled a miracle. Hurts is better than Bryant, the Bama stable of tailbacks are too deep and talented to silence for an entire game and the Tide defense — at 85 percent the healthiest they have been all year — is its very close to its own standard of hope-shredding excellence.

This one will close all the way, but the coaching edge, at the top and in the assistants, belongs to Bama. The CrimsonTide also has the best player on the field in defensive back/safety/special teamer Minkah Fitzpatrick, a top five pick who will make the big play … ALABAMA 30-20.


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