Regardless of the two scores in the two semi-final games on Thursday, the College Football Playoff Committee got it right when it picked Clemson and Alabama. Now, the two best teams in 2015 will play next week for the right to be called national champion.
Clemson continues to ride the wave that promotes them as the underdog, regardless of the fact they are the top-ranked team and took down Oklahoma in rousing fashion, 37-17. Can Dabo Swinney, who has been preaching the mantra all season about “15 for 15” lead the Tigers to their first national crown in 34 years?
Will Alabama, the team that has won four national titles in Nick Saban’s time in Tuscaloosa, continue its trail towards another crowd on the arm of Jacob Coker or the legs of Derrick Henry? If those two weapons aren’t enough, the Crimson Tide defense might be the best in college football in the past five years.
This is a game that has all the makings of an instant classic, one the fans embrace because there is no reason to doubt which teams truly are the best.
According to ESPN.com, the Tigers immediately opened as a seven point underdog.
Las Vegas books opened betting on the national championship game late Thursday night as the Crimson Tide began putting away Michigan State in the second half of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and finished with a 38-0 victory. Sportsbook operator CG Technology opened the Crimson Tide as 4.5-point favorites. The line quickly climbed to Alabama minus-6.
Clemson’s defense all but shut down the Oklahoma offense in the Orange Bowl. Will they have that same success against a ‘Bama team that relied so much on a running game all year, but were forced to throw the ball more against Michigan State? The result was a best-game-ever performance by Jacob Coker, who threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns.
HOUSTON THUMPS FSU
For anyone who thought FSU’s contest with the Houston Cougars was more like their Orange Bowl contest with Northern Illinois saw just how good the Non-FBS school is.
Greg Ward Jr. and the Houston Cougars showed they could thrive in a big-game atmosphere against a big-name opponent.
Ward ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, leading Houston past turnover-plagued Florida State 38-24 in the Peach Bowl on Thursday. From the start, FSU was overwhelmed by the Cougars defense, the one that held Dalvin Cook to 33 yards rushing and injured starting quarterback Sean Maguire early in the contest. Maguire did return to the game, but even his 392 yards passing wasn’t enough to overcome Houston, who came into the game as a seven-point underdog.
Houston scored the most points allowed by Florida State this season. “Our turnovers had a lot to do with it,” said coach Jimbo Fisher.
The No. 9 Seminoles (10-3), who trailed 21-3 at halftime, tried to rally with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Maguire.
BOSA ANNOUNCES HE WILL TURN PRO
Now that Joey Bosa has announced he will turn pro, the only question now is which team will grab him with the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Bosa, a junior, has 47 total tackles in 2015. Sixteen of them are for loss and five of those were sacks. He also had one interception. He’s been one of Ohio State’s best defensive players and commands double-teams by many of the Buckeyes’ opponents.
As a sophomore last season, Bosa had 13.5 sacks and 55 total tackles as the Buckeyes won the College Football Playoff. He was suspended for Ohio State’s first game of the 2015 season because of a violation of team rules.
Bosa has been the dominant figure on the Buckeyes defensive line and follows his father, John Bosa, who also played at Ohio State and was a first round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1987.