College Football Playoff Preview | NTK Network College Football Playoff Preview

College Football Playoff Preview

Will Clemson defend its title? Can Alabama bounce back? Is Backer Mayfield elite? And are the Dogs for real?

By NTK Staff | 12.31.2017 @8:00am
College Football Playoff Preview

Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama are the last teams standing in college football, and will face off on New Year’s Day in the college football playoff for a chance to play in the national championship game on January 8, 2018, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rose Bowl: #3 Georgia vs. #2 Oklahoma

When No. 2 Oklahoma faces off against No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, fans will see a clash of opposing styles of football.

Both Oklahoma and Georgia enter the college football playoff having won their respective conferences, the Big 12 and the SEC.

The Sooners feature one of the nation’s most prolific offenses, while the Bulldogs have one of the nation’s staunchest defenses.

Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma’s high-power offense was the top-ranked offense in the nation this year, scoring 44.9 points per game.

Georgia’s defense, meanwhile, was sixth in the nation, with just 13.2 points allowed per game. They have allowed 20 or more points in a game only twice this season.

The public perception is that Oklahoma’s defense is a liability as they play in the Big 12, a conference not known for playing defense. But the bigger issue might be Georgia’s defense, which has not faced an offense like Oklahoma’s or a quarterback like Mayfield in 2017.

Spread: Georgia (-2)

Prediction: Oklahoma by a touchdown.

Sugar Bowl: #4 Alabama vs. #1 Clemson:

When No. 4 Alabama plays No. 1 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day, it will be a rematch of the last two national championship games, and fans can expect a battle as Alabama leads Clemson by just one point in the combined scoring of their last two meetings (76-75).

Clemson once again comes into the college football playoff as the ACC champion. Alabama is coming into the college football playoff a little hobbled, following a loss to their rival Auburn in November, which resulted in ‘Bama missing out on playing for the SEC championship.

The biggest factor for Alabama will be that they have become healthier since they last played in the Iron Bowl in November, while for Clemson it will be whether Quarterback Kelly Bryant has matured enough to fill the shoes of Deshaun Watson.

Under head coach Nick Saban, Alabama has proven to been vulnerable against teams that feature a mobile quarterback who is able to make plays, like Johnny Manziel or Watson.

If Alabama’s defense is healthy they should have the talent to beat Clemson, which has struggled against the better defenses it has played this season.

Spread: Alabama (-2.5)

Prediction: Alabama by a field goal.

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