Well ladies and gentlemen we are only a few days away from what I would consider one of the best playoff brackets we have had so far. On one side you have part 3 of the Alabama-Clemson showdown. The only difference with this one is that it is for a chance to get to the championship game instead of the final game itself. On the other side we have offense versus defense with Oklahoma-Georgia. History tells us that defense always prevails but Baker Mayfield may have some different thoughts there. Let’s dive into these bad boys right now.
#4 Alabama (-3) vs #1 Clemson
Yep you read that right. Bama as the last team in is the favorite over the team they lost to in the championship last year. If Deshaun Watson was still there slinging the rock Clemson is favored by at least a TD but with newcomer Kelly Bryant at the helm there is a lot of uncertainty on how he will handle this Bama defense. Now this Bama defense is another topic in itself. They didn’t look great the last few weeks of the season which has been chalked up to their linebacker corp being riddled with injuries. Now they get all of those guys back but had another set back with Dylan Moses going down a few weeks ago. Still I see Bama’s defense with a month to prepare giving Bryant fits back there. Clemson doesn’t have the same perimeter talent on offense as the last two years which means Kelly Bryant will have a lot more on his plate. While Bama’s offense isn’t as dynamic as in years past either they are still led by Jalen Hurts who gave his team the lead late in last years championship matchup. The stage will not be too big for him this year. So if you haven’t figured it out by now I am taking the Tide and by a TD but that TD comes LATE. This one should be a doozy again.
#3 Georgia (-2.5) vs #2 Oklahoma
Yep you read it right AGAIN. The SEC is the favorite in both matchups and I would say rightfully so. Georgia has been consistently dominant all year except for their late season road matchup against Auburn where they got manhandled. However, a few weeks later they were the ones doing the manhandling in the SEC Championship game rematch where their running game was no match for the Tigers. As for Oklahoma they are coming in hot with their only loss to Iowa State who proved they are not the Cyclones of old this year under Matt Campbell. After that debacle where their defense was exposed the Sooners have handled business and done so in pretty impressive fashion. They also have the current Heisman trophy winner in Baker Mayfield running Lincoln Riley’s offense to perfection which is why they got to the playoff. That piece right there is what makes this prediction so hard as I truly want to see Baker take home the chip but I have seen this story play out too many times where the high flying sexy offense just gets exposed against a tough as nails defense and this Georgia defense is exactly that. The main storyline here is that Georgia hasn’t seen this prolific of an offense in the SEC which is true. But the Sooners haven’t seen any defense outside of Ohio State and TCU either and this Bulldog D is insanely better than those two units. TCU was exposed by Oklahoma twice and Ohio State gave up a 50 burger to Iowa who then mustered a whopping 66 yards the next week against Wisconsin. Needless to say the Sooners will need to play lights out and my prediction is it won’t be pretty for them. I think the game is close early but Georgia’s defense is too much and they win by 10 in the Rose bowl.
If my predictions are right then you know what that means and it’s an ALL SEC championship which will cause an uproar across the country. If this happens that 8 team playoff discussion will heat up and heat up quick. Chaos is always a good thing for college football. Like this great commercial says, SEC football…
Tune in to the Just Grubbin podcast on Jan 7th to hear my championship pick or catch it on the podcast on Monday the 8th.
Happy New Year!!!