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2018 College Football Playoff Preview

An in-depth breakdown of the prelude and Action to come for the 2018 College Football Playoff.

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2018 College Football Playoff Preview

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In the midst of Heisman battles, coaching changes, and injury reports, we still have college football games to play. This college football season did not have as many exciting games as there were exciting players. We have gotten to see three of the best college quarterbacks to ever do it. Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, Kyler Murray of Oklahoma, and Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State. Out of the playoff contenders Alabama at first, Clemson at second, and Notre Dame at third, finished undefeated while Oklahoma at fourth had one loss to their blue-blooded rival Texas longhorns. Ohio State came close to making it in, but a 29-point loss to unranked Purdue University set their destiny. They did get to play the role of spoiler, knocking Michigan out of the playoff by putting up 62 points on the Wolverines first ranked defense in the country.

Alabama had a rather easy road to the playoff until they played Georgia in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) Championship Game. Georgia was being more physical than the most physical team in the country, while their stud quarterback Jake Fromm dropped dimes all over the field. Alabama’s QB Tua Tagovailoa was having the off day of off days. He was not hitting his receivers and looked like his troublesome knee was bothering him. In the third quarter, Tua finally got it going and delivered a series of perfect passes to bring the Tide within a touchdown. The Bulldogs answered with another touchdown, giving them a two-touchdown lead. The next drive, the Bama left tackle stepped on Tagovailoa’s ankle and he went down. It seemed that Georgia was going to do it; they were going to take down The Alabama Crimson Tide. Just as the backup Tua Tagovailoa took over for Jalen Hurts in the 2017 National Championship against Georgia, now backup Jalen Hurts was going in for the injured Tagovailoa. Hurts took the game into his hands and threw for two touchdowns to tie the game up. The Bama defense stepped up and stopped the Dogs one more time, and Hurts ran it in for a touchdown from twenty yards out to put a dagger in the game. It was a stunningly amazing déjà vu moment. The perpetually angry Nick Saban was holding back tears after the game when talking about the dedication and resilience of Jalen Hurts. After watching two of the most exciting football games ever between Bama and Georgia, I have concluded that the Georgia Bulldogs weakness is Backup Quarterbacks. This game gave a great entrance into the College Football playoff and solidified Bama as the best team in the nation at the top of the rankings.

The less-hyped matchup of the two playoff games is the Clemson Tigers taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Both teams went through early season quarterback changes with Trevor Lawrence taking over at Clemson and Ian Book at Notre Dame. The strength of both of these teams is defense. Clemson is the fourth ranked defense in the nation, allowing 3,598 and 21 touchdowns on the season and 276.8 yards per game. All four of their defensive lineman are first round caliber draft picks and give all of their opponent’s trouble. Notre Dame’s defensive unit is 21st in the country allowing 3,978 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season and 331.5 yards per game. Like Clemson, Notre Dame lives and breathes by the performance of their defensive line. Clemson Running back Travis Etienne has 1,463 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns on the season, but I do not anticipate him to have huge game against Notre Dame’s defensive front. Both teams have a less than perfect secondary, so expect this game to be a defensive battle with some high flying passes. In the end Clemson is more talented and is has played big games in recent years unlike the Fighting Irish, who are playoff rookies, so I expect them to pull away with a semi-contested victory.

Flynn Crisci (left) and Lucas Elder (right) having a heated debate over the outcome of the upcoming playoff games.

LHS Sophomore Cannon Newell said confidently, “Clemson will win outright, no problem”. Football Coach Brian Sorrell and Senior Flynn Crisci would not bet their life on the game saying, “Clemson will win, but I haven’t gotten a good read on either team.” Senior Lucas Elder felt that, “Notre Dame will give them a good fight, but Clemson will run away with it”. Senior David Berry had a contrasting prediction that, “It will be close, but Notre Dame will edge out Clemson and win.” When asked about the outcome of the game, the consensus seems to be that most people are confident in Clemson’s ability to beat Notre Dame.  

Kyler Murray (left), Tua Tagovailoa (right)

The big game this year is the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Oklahoma Sooners. The top two Heisman Contenders, Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray, dueling it out under the lights. Oklahoma has a highflying offense that is seemingly unstoppable, although they have played against Big 12 defenses all year, which is the worst defensive conference in the country. Alabama’s defense is 6th in the country and is the best defense Oklahoma has face by a landslide this season. Alabama’s defense prides itself on getting to the QB, so Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray’s acceleration, mobility, and quick release should be a good match for Bama’s pass rush. The real matchup that might give away the result of this game is Oklahoma’s defense against Alabama’s offense. When Tua Tagovailoa is playing well, Bama is unstoppable. Oklahoma has the worst defense that the Tide has faced all year. Oklahoma’s defense is ranked at an abysmal one hundred twenty first in the nation and has given up double the amount of yards and touchdowns than any of the other three teams in this playoff, it is almost past the point of a weakness and stopping people on defense is basically not a part of Oklahoma’s game plan anymore. Cannon Newell thinks, “If Tua plays at his normal level, nobody can beat Alabama.”

Cannon Newell struggling to determine a victor between Oklahoma and Alabama.

Sorrell said, “Oklahoma has a chance with their offense, but Alabama will win.” Crisci and Elder strongly believe, “Alabama will win no problem.” Similar to my beliefs, David Berry had to think about how the teams matched up and said, “You can’t have a game with two of the best college QB’s ever without it being a shootout, but Alabama will make more defensive stops than Oklahoma and beat them in the end.” Alabama does have a weakness in their secondary, but I think they will be able to contain Oklahoma just enough to edge them out. The best game we could get is if both defenses are not in tune, then Tua and Kyler can have a shootout until the clock hits zero. Two of the best quarterbacks we will ever see going head-to-head in a battle of college football titans. I think I speak for everyone when saying that I cannot wait to see the result of this battle, and that this College Football Playoff might go down in history as one of the best.

David Berry giving his two cents.

 

 

5 Comments

5 Responses to “2018 College Football Playoff Preview”

  1. Aaron on December 19th, 2018 9:53 AM

    Great summarizations and imagery in the article.

  2. Zach Yelich on December 19th, 2018 9:57 AM

    I think your pictures are very good and the captions really help me understand what the picture is telling me.

  3. David B on December 19th, 2018 9:59 AM

    Solid hook!

  4. Drew Ramos on December 19th, 2018 10:16 AM

    This review is a great preview for the college football playoffs. Personally though, I am rooting for Alabama in the playoffs!

  5. Dylan Zilla on December 19th, 2018 10:47 AM

    I think this article had a solid hook, it really pulled me in.

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2018 College Football Playoff Preview