2017 college football playoff predictions
By Nate Riker
The new year is coming up, and that also means that the College football bowls are going on. The bowl season has been recently revolutionized by a new system named the College football playoff. The playoff is determined by a committee of 13. Their job is to chose the best 4 teams in the nation to put in a 4-team playoff, that features 2 bowl semifinals, and 1 final championship showdown. This year the committee was put with a tough task, to chose between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Buckeyes had a Big Ten championship, but their loss to Iowa proven to be the separating factor between the Buckeyes and the Tide. The Tide got the 4th seed in the playoff, and that set the new years day playoff bowl games. This year the playoff will have Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama.
Playoff teams overview
For the 2nd time in 3 years the Tigers are the 1 seed going into the playoff. The defending champs has been flawless, besides a Friday night 3-point loss to 4-8 Syracuse. The Tigers have a 12-1 record, and hold an ACC championship. In the off-season they lost star Deshaun Watson, but junior Kelly Bryant has star in tremendously. Bryant has 13 passing touchdowns, a 67.4 completion percentage, and 2,678 passing yards. On the running side he has 646 rushing yards, and 11 touchdowns. He will need to thrive in both areas to get a win against the defense of the Alabama Crimson Tide. In the rushing game, Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster, and Kelly Bryant lead the way. For the passing game, Deon Cain is a key offensive factor, and Hunter Renfrow, and Tee Higgins are good go to men. The defensive is above average, going 2nd for least points given up per game, with an average of giving up 12.8 points per game. Also, they are 6th for least total yards given, with only giving up an average of 277.9. The Tigers will have a tough road to a championship, but Dabo Swinney had one of the best teams to do it.
The Sooners are carried by the Heisman-winner, past walk-on, Baker Mayfield. The rest of the teams is also up there, but Mayfield is the clear leader. The Senior Quarterback is the captain, and has led the Sooners to a 12-1 record and a Big-12 championship. 4 of their 13 games have been against top 11 teams, and have handled their schedule well. Their only loss was against Iowa State, but their top wins are highlighted by wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma, and 2 wins over TCU. Mayfield has 4,340 passing yards, and 41 passing touchdowns, in only 13 games. There running game is led by Rodney Anderson, who has 960 rushing yards, and 11 touchdowns. The receiving game has lots of talent, with 3 players over 740 yards. The defense is not the best in the nation, but they are decent. In his first year, Lincoln Riley has done a great job coaching, but can he finish it?
The Georgia Bulldogs are terrific. Probably with the best running game in the country, the Bulldogs have been like Oklahoma, and Clemson, with 12-1 and a conference championship. There only loss was to Auburn, but then they beat Auburn in the SEC championship. The freshman Quarterback Jake Fromm has been amazing, with 2,173 passing yards, and 21 touchdowns, he is definitely one of the best quarterbacks in the top 25. The rushing game is the leading factor for the 12-1 season. The 2 senior running backs, Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel are both studs. They combine for 2,123 rushing yards, and 26 touchdowns. Freshman D’Andre Swift, is also over 500 yards. Terry Godwin, and Javon Wims are great receivers, and they will need to get catches to win the playoff. The defense is one of the best in the nation, they are ranked 3rd in the country for total defense. The Bulldogs will need to dominate both sides of the ball to get there first national championship since 1980.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide have been a top football team for a number of years. That is a fact. With one of the best head coaches of all time (Nick Saban), Alabama has dominated recruiting classes for a very long time. The tide are the only team in the playoff without a conference title. They lost there only game to Auburn, on rivalry weekend. The tide are very balanced, with numerous strengths at each position. There Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts, has been a decent quarterback, especially in the clutch. His 15 passing touchdowns, and 8 rushing touchdowns. He also contributes with 768 rushing yards. The running game features many young backs but mostly Juniors Bo Scarbrough, and Damien Harris. The receiving game is mostly Calvin Ridley. Ridley is Hurts go to man, so he gets his share of targets. He holds 32% of Alabama’s receptions, and 37% of Alabama’s receiving yards. The defense has been very solid, ranking 1st in yards given up, and 2nd in total defense. The sugar bowl will be nearly a month after there last game, so they will be well-rested. The tide need Jalen Hurts to step up for Alabama to have a chance at college football championship.
Rose Bowl predictions
Georgia vs. Oklahoma
The Rose bowl will feature the Georgia Bulldogs, and the Oklahoma Sooners. The Georgia defense will try to slow down Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. The quarterback will be trying to finish an amazing college career, with 2 final wins. It will be very interesting to see the top 3 Georgia defense, against an offense that has not been stopped for a long time. On the other side of the ball, the Red-hot running game led by seniors Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel, will play a good but not great Oklahoma run-defense. I believe that the senior running backs will have a great game, and extend their college career.
Prediction: Georgia 48, Oklahoma 24
Sugar Bowl predictions
Clemson vs. Alabama
This is the game that college football fans have been waiting to see since the second Clemson won the 2017 college football championship. They will see it earlier then they expected. For the 3rd straight year Alabama will play Clemson. In the first one Alabama won, in the second Clemson won, but this year there are 2 major things that are different. 1 this is a semifinal, unlike the other 2 finals, and 2 this game has no Deshaun Watson. Watson got a final play touchdown throw last season, but this year he is in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how well Junior Kelly Bryant plays in his biggest test yet. The Alabama defense has been plagued by injuries, but it is still a top five defense. Clutch Jalen Hurts will have help but I believe it will not be enough. Whatever happens, I think this game will be a thriller.
Prediction: Clemson 35, Alabama 32
Georgia vs. Clemson
By my earlier predictions, the national championship will be between Clemson and Georgia. Both are great on both sides of the ball. Georgia’s running game will put up a great fight, but I believe that Clemson will repeat
Prediction: Clemson 28, Georgia 21