For the first time in the young history of the College Football Playoff, Alabama will not be a participant. However being Crimson Tide fans, we will be watching the semifinal games. It’s what we do. We are Bama fans. We watch college football. We KNOW college football. Now it is time to see how much we have been paying attention.
[ED. NOTE: All predictions were made independently of each other. None of our staff saw the picks of others before recording their own thoughts.]
PEACH BOWL, ATLANTA - ESPN 3pm/4pm
#4 Oklahoma Sooners vs #1 LSU Tigers
CB969 - Whatever the over/under is, take the over. I see this one with a lot of fireworks of quick scores. These two match up pretty well with big scoring and porous defenses. Yet, Joe Burrow protects the ball a little better than Jalen Hurts. LSU will likely jump ahead and hold the lead for most of the game. LSU 54-39
Brent Taylor - I think LSU handles Oklahoma fairly easily. Dave Aranda already has PLENTY of tape on how to slow down a Jalen Hurts-led offense, and the Tigers just have too much firepower for a surprisingly decent Sooner defense.
Erik Evans - DYK that Jalen Hurts has never lost to LSU? Well, that ends in this one. The Dirt Burglars have adjusted from half-to-half better than any team I’ve seen this year. They’ll need it too. LSU races out to a huge lead against a thin and injured and suspended Oklahoma team. Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts tries valiantly, but can’t get it done with his limited skills set, little help in the backfield, and a pared-back playbook. Losing Clyde Edwards-Helaire hurts LSU, for sure. And that’s why the Tigers only win this game by 17-21 points instead of 28 or so. The Bayou Bengals rout begins early and we all go grab a nap during the second half. LSU 45-27
Josh Chatham - Sooners just don’t have the horses. LSU 41-17.
DoctorWhosOnFirst - LSU 45-32
Roger_RBR - LSU 45-27
FIESTA BOWL, ARIZONA - ESPN 7pm/8pm
#3 Clemson Tigers vs #2 Ohio State Buckeyes
CB969 - Even if you don’t play video games, you know how it works. Level 1 is easy and almost anyone can get through it. Level 2 gets a tad faster and a little more difficult. As you advance through each level, it progressively gets tougher. Imagine playing 13 rounds at varying Levels 1 through 4 and then suddenly getting thrust into Level 25. I have a feeling that what Clemson has facing them on Saturday. The Tigers have a very good team but they have yet to face a team of the speed, skills, and physicality of the Buckeyes. For a little extra sauce, there are ten starters on Ohio State who were part of the 2016 team that took a 31-0 thrashing at the hands of Clemson in that season’s Fiesta Bowl in this very same stadium. I see OSU jumping out to a big lead with the Tigers making a late charge but falling short. Ohio State 38-37
Brent Taylor - Clemson- Ohio State is a tougher call. If you look at the two teams in a box, OSU has been dominant in all phases of the game while Clemson looked bad for half the season before finally playing some decent football, but all against a horribly weak schedule. And that points to a big OSU victory. But, Clemson now has a 4 year history of doing this exact same thing and then playing well in the playoffs anyway. I hate to even predict it because I’m as tired of the fighting Dabos as the rest of you, but I’m going with Clemson here, despite the fact that I think they are at a slight disadvantage in pretty much every position matchup.
Erik Evans - Such advantages as Clemson does have will really show — experienced coordinator staff and elite skills players among them. But it is fair to ask whether they can just turn it on when they get into a four-quarter death match. It is also fair to ask whether the Clemmy rebuilt defense can hold when facing another team with elite talent. They’ve not seen one at all in 2019. This version of OSU is the more battle-hardened team for sure and Ryan Day and Co. are far hungrier. So, despite questions about its passing game, the Buckeye’s superior defense, an equally-balanced offense, an elite pass rush — and added attrition on the Clemson coaching staff — will mean OSU gets one more play down the stretch. And that one play makes the difference. Ohio State 38-37
Josh Chatham - Clemson comes in completely untested and Ohio State has been the model of consistency. Ohio State 31-28.
DoctorWhosOnFirst - Clemson 31-27
Roger_RBR - Ohio State 42-21
Pick the winners:
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