The 2017-18 College Football Playoff is set as four teams will battle it out on New Year’s Day 2018 for a chance to play in Atlanta for the National Championship. Defending champion Clemson enters as the #1 seed to face #4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, who will look to avenge last year’s National Championship loss. Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield leads #2 seed and Big 12 champion Oklahoma to take on #3 seed and SEC champion Georgia in the Rose Bowl.
Monday, January 1st at 5 PM: #3 Georgia Bulldogs vs. #2 Oklahoma Sooners (+2)
It will be a battle of offense vs. defense in the Rose Bowl as Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners take on the Georgia Bulldogs and one of the best defenses in the country. The Bulldogs allowed just 270 YPG and 13 PPG, both good for 4th in the nation, on their way to a 12-1 season. Their only loss was against Auburn, which they avenged in the SEC title game to earn a berth in the CFP. On the offensive side of the ball, Georgia relies on their running game and senior running back Nick Chubb. Chubb has put up 4600 yards and 42 TDs over his four year career at Georgia, including 1175 yards and 13 TDs in 2017. The Bulldogs will look to get him going early to take the pressure off freshman quarterback Jake Fromm. Oklahoma clearly has the advantage at QB with Baker Mayfield who threw for 4340 yards 41 TDs and just 5 INTs. However, Oklahoma struggles on defense and is vulnerable to rushing attack. I think Georgia gets an early lead and their defense clamps down to get them to the National Championship. Georgia wins 27-16.
Monday, January 1st at 8:45 PM: #4 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #1 Clemson Tigers (+3)
The defending national champion and #1 seed in this year’s CFP Clemson Tigers will have plenty of motivation in the Sugar Bowl as they will enter the New Year’s Day matchup as underdogs against #4 Alabama. This will also be somewhat of a rubber match for these two teams in the CFP, as Alabama won the 2015 National Championship against Clemson and the Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide in last year’s National Championship. This year, however, Deshaun Watson is in the NFL and Jalen Hurts is still the quarterback for Alabama. Kelly Bryant has done a phenomenal job following in Watson’s footsteps, but it’s Clemson’s defense that has really carried the team. Outside of a lone blip against Syracuse, Clemson has looked dominant on their way to a 12-1 season an ACC championship. Meanwhile, a loss to Auburn prevented Alabama from reaching the SEC title game but they still had a strong enough resume to reach the CFP for the fourth straight season. The offense has weapons with Bo Scarborough and Damien Harris at running back, and Calvin Ridley at receiver. The defense has been dominant as usual for an Alabama team. Despite the last two matchups being shootouts, I think this will be a defensive battle and Clemson will win the 3rd installment of this rivalry 16-13.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: CLEMSON DEFEATS GEORGIA 24-20
Let me know your predictions and thoughts in the comments down below.