College Football Playoff Preview
Host Jeremy Ganes and analysts Connor Griffin and Ben Geller talk about the College Football Playoff semifinal games and give their predictions for these highly anticipated matchups:
It’s finally here, the College Football Playoffs. The debates and controversies of who should be in and who should be out can be put to the bed. The committee was picked the four best teams in college football. It will be LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma in this year’s playoffs.
For the No. 1 ranked LSU Tigers, they’re led by the Heisman winner in quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow is having a great season and is considered by many to be the first pick the next NFL Draft. Along with a lethal set of receivers in Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, and dynamic running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, this LSU offense is an absolute nightmare to defend.
The LSU defense is also starting to catch up to their elite offense. They're led by their defensive backs, which possess arguably college football’s best cornerback, freshman Derek Stingley Jr., along with likely first-round pick in safety Grant Delpit. There is a reason LSU is considered the favorite to win it all, they’re talented and have dominated in almost every game this season.
Next is LSU’s Peach Bowl opponent Oklahoma, who was the last team to make it the playoff. They were ranked fourth after winning the Big 12 title game.
Oklahoma is led by their offense. Former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has been excellent and lead receiver CeeDee Lamb is a mismatch for about anybody. The offense is legit for the Sooners, but their defense has fallen off after a good start this season and could be the achilleas heal of this team in the playoffs.
For the second-ranked team in the land, Ohio State comes into the playoffs with two Heisman finalists in quarterback Justin Field and defensive end Chase Young. They also have one of the best cornerbacks in all of college football in Jeff Okudah and a great deep threat in Chris Olave.
It may be a running heavy running game, with J.K. Dobbins who emerges as the “X-Factor” for the Buckeyes. Dobbins has had a great year and is playing some of his best football down the stretch of the season. Ohio State’s titles hopes may be running through Dobbins.
Lastly, it’s the defending champions: the Clemson Tigers. It’s the same cast of characters from last year. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, and running back Travis Etienne.
The Tigers are a tough team to beat in the playoffs. Head coach Dabo Sweeny always seems to have Clemson playing their best football in the postseason. Although they have been a little unimpressive at times this year, the Tigers are still as dangerous as anyone and could easily defend their throne.
When it comes down to it, LSU will be too much for Oklahoma. The Tigers' offense will put up big numbers and its defense will make enough stops to win.
Prediction: LSU 42, Oklahoma 31
For the other semifinal game, it will be a back and forth game as both Clemson and Ohio State are immensely talented. However, Clemson’s experience in coaching and quarterback play will win out in a tight finish.
Prediction: Clemson 28, Ohio State 24
In the championship game and the battle of the Tigers, it will be an extremely great game between two excellent teams and top-notch coaches. Ultimately, Joe Burrow will be bottled up early by Clemson’s defense but will make the big plays when LSU needs them most.
Prediction: LSU 31, Clemson 23
Mitch Broder is sophomore majoring in digital/print journalism and minoring in political science. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.