We’re jumping right into these next three games, no jive.
Cotton Bowl: No.8 Michigan State vs. No.5 Baylor, New Years Day, 12:30 PM EST
I’m going to be honest here. I love this Baylor team. I’ve defended them since my preview at the beginning of the season. I had them in playoff. They got screwed. It wasn’t their fault. It’s too bad. Something needs to change.
I’ll probably write a column about this, but Michigan State, you could make a case, that they got screwed too. How? Well, we need eight teams.
(I’m getting ahead of myself)
As for this game, there is one true matchup that will decide it.
Baylor’s offense is incredible. They can absolutely dominate you. It a matter of minutes you can be down two plus possessions. They attack that fast. The more stunning part about is that they attack from everywhere. They can throw and run the ball. The balanced offense is a trip. The Bears average 581 yards of offense a game. 346 of those come from the air.
With the offensive assault, they put up close to 49 points a game. There is no way you can stop them.
Unless your Michigan State, who has one of the Nation’s best defenses. This is the key matchup.
The Spartans run defense is their highlight. They only allow 97.5 rushing yards a game. Michigan State has multiple playmakers within their front seven that contribute to this. Not only do they shut you down, and not allow first downs, but they don’t give up points. The Spartans give up just under 20 points a game. The defense is totally stout. Baylor’s quest will be scoring on it.
Baylor’s defense isn’t great, but it’s enough that it got them here (let’s just keep it at that).
I expect this game, like others during this New Years Six, to be a shootout. I’m not sure there is anyone who can stop the Bears’ offense. Michigan State will have trouble defending it. Their problem, is if they can answer the amount of points Baylor puts up.
It’s not that they can’t. The Spartans have a great quarterback in Connor Cook, and have decent running game to compliment him. However, if the rushing game can’t get going, the Spartans may have to throwing more they would like too. That could result in some trouble. Prediction: Baylor-50 Michigan State-28
This is a very emotional portion of this column for me. The College Football Playoff is amazing. It is so much better than what we’ve had since 1998. It does need changes, but that we will worry about later.
See, I wasn’t going to even write about college football this year. I would still watch it, yea, but, what’s the point of covering it, when it has a cheesy and bad ending? When the wrong team plays in or wins the National Championship?
We will make this thing incredible. It already is. It can be better.
Anyways, it’s finally here. It’s playoff time, in college football.
Playoff #1: No.1 Alabama vs. No.4 Ohio State, New Years Day, 8:30 PM EST
I hate both of these teams (That’s a nice way to start). Straight up. I don’t like either one. I’m going to dread seeing one of these teams playing for the National Championship.
One, Ohio State doesn’t belong here. I sound like I’m ranting, and really, I kinda am. I’m going to get into to it, but I don’t like that they’re here.
Two, I think Alabama is over-rated. Don’t get me wrong, they deserve to be here. They won the SEC, the best conference in the Nation.
Let’s talk about Alabama first:
Their defense is outstanding. Like Michigan State, they have incredible linebackers who stuff the run. Teams can’t get above 90 yards rushing on them. Teams can’t score on them either. They shut you down.
Ohio State is the Arizona Cardinals of college. Their guys get hurt, someone comes up, and plays great. Then they get hurt, and it turns to slosh. But that is where the road turns for Ohio State.
So yea, they’re a little hard to figure out. Wait, do you remember who Braxton Miller is?
Cardale Jones was great in the BIG 10 Championship Game. He’s a really good quarterback, from what I saw. Ohio State will have to find others ways to move the ball though. Meaning, they will have to be creative. If Alabama shuts down Ohio State’s offense, it’s not over. It means we have a final score below 14 points.
Alabama has great players on their offense. With as-always amazing running backs and one of the best receivers in the Nation, they don’t need much else.
Honestly, they don’t have much else. I’ve never been under the impression Blake Sims is a good QB. Not once. His accuracy seems wobbly. I’ve never seen him throw a ball where I go “Wow, that a was great throw.” He’s a game-manager. He preforms well due to what is around him. The play-makers around him are so good, he doesn’t have to do much.
I know that Alabama is really good. I know they deserve to be here. I get it. But, when you go up against teams that have been on a tear. Teams who have surprised us, that’s when it gets scary. The chance that Ohio State pulls this off is very high. It won’t be in blowout fashion. It won’t be in game-winning form. This will be smash-mouth, defensive football. Ohio State can shut down Alabama. It’s if, they can answer. That’s the problem.. Prediction: Alabama-17 Ohio State-14
Before we get into the next game, I want to look back. I want to look back at my predictions for this Playoff, because the parallels, are hilarious.
This is, somewhat hitius?
I did pretty good. I had two teams in, and the one team who got screwed. But the four seed, I don’t want to talk about it. Remember when we thought Oklahoma was going to be good?
Take a look at that National Championship. That’s where we’re going next, in the first round.
Playoff #2: No.2 Oregon vs. No.3 Florida State, New Years Day, 5:00 PM EST
This is going to be fun. Really fun.
Florida State has played two or three good teams this year. That’s it. I don’t believe that they’re overrated, but this is a game that could expose that. Oregon’s offense, like Baylor’s, is absolutely incredible. They can attack from anywhere. The Ducks though, use the run a bit better. Oregon averages 546 yards of offense a game. 308 of those come from Marcus Mariota in the passing game. Mariota won the Heisman a few weeks back. He’s really good. He is going to play well, every game. Oregon averages 46 points a game. They score a lot. It’s something the Florida State defense will have to, well, try their best at.
This game is all about the offenses and the quarterback matchup. These are the past two years’ Heisman winners. It’s all about them. Defense will be extinct in this game. It’s all about who can outscore the other.
Florida State mostly throws the ball. Winston has huge arm, and nice mobility. He can throw on the run too. Out of 434 yards of offense the Seminoles gain each game, close to 300 of them come from the pass. Florida State doesn’t score as much as Oregon. Turnovers interrupt their drives. That’s a team thing. It’s something you have to limit. Do your job, and they won’t happen. The players on this team are too good for it to be blamed on one person.
Again, I don’t think defense is a factor in this game. Florida State’s defense is a lot better, as they have great secondary play. Both teams give up third down completions like crazy. There will be some long drives in this game.
This will be a drama-filled, crazy ending game. That’s pretty accustom to Florida State. I’d say that four or five of their games this season ended that way. They sneak games out. But against Oregon, you don’t sneak games out. You have to play till the end. Florida State can’t start slow tonight. Oregon will jump on them. I expect this game to go down-to-the-wire. Last possession wins. Prediction: Oregon-48 Florida State-45
National Championship Prediction: Oregon vs. Alabama, January 12th, 8:00 PM EST
Have fun on New Years Day. Don’t forget, not only do we have New Years Six games, but the Citrus Bowl and Outback Bowl are on today. I will have a preview and roundup column of the National Championship when it comes around.