By Corey Long – @CoreyLong
Updated Dec. 9, 2019.
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The College Football Playoff committee released their sixth set of rankings Sunday afternoon. Here are some quick thoughts.
The Final Four
- LSU (13-0)
- Ohio State (12-0)
- Clemson (12-0)
- Oklahoma (11-1)
Well, there you have it. Once Utah got smacked around by Oregon in the Pac-12 final, the hard work was done. LSU, Ohio State and Clemson were likely in win or lose, leaving the Big XII winner most likely to land the in final barring a Georgia or Wisconsin upset.
Ohio State needed another good performance to secure No. 1 and avoid Clemson, instead the Buckeyes trailed 21-7 at the half to an inspired Wisconsin team. The second half showed me more of what I expect from the Buckeyes, as they scored the game’s final 27 points. All that means nothing, however, as Clemson is going to be out for blood in the Fiesta Bowl, which is ironically the scene of the last time these two programs met in the playoff and Clemson won 38-0. While it’s impossible to avoid a hard game in a four-team playoff, I do believe LSU and Ohio State were both fighting to not play Clemson in the semifinal.
Meanwhile, the scoreboards should get a workout in Atlanta for LSU-Oklahoma. The Sooners’ defense is better than it was last year, but it’s still not good and LSU should be able to light Oklahoma up for over 550 yards and 45 points. Oklahoma has Jalen Hurts, who has never lost to LSU and will certainly be up for the challenge of going score for score with likely Heisman winner Joe Burrow. All in all, we’ve got two games that everyone should want to see.
Thoughts on the Rest
Oregon was clearly the class of the Pac-12. I think most observers were rooting for Utah just to break up the monotony of teams in the playoff, but anyone who saw USC light up Utah’s secondary earlier this season knew that Oregon was a bad matchup for the Utes. As a reward, the Ducks get the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin, and the visual appeal of over 100,000 people with half in red and half in green will be a nice way to enjoy that New Year’s Day dinner.
If you thought what Ohio State did to Michigan was brutal, wait until you see what Alabama does to the Wolverines. The last time the Crimson Tider weren’t in a “big bowl” was the 2011 Capital One – Citrus) – Bowl when they just humiliated Michigan State, 49-7. Expect something similar in Orlando this time as well. Will it be Jim Harbaugh’s final game at Michigan before heading back to the NFL? Maybe.
Penn State versus Memphis in the Cotton Bowl is a hard pass, but Baylor versus Georgia in the Sugar Bowl intrigues me greatly. I have a new respect for Matt Ruhle and the Baylor Bears after their 30-23 overtime loss to Oklahoma. Baylor seemed overmatched early, went down to a third-string quarterback, and just kept fighting. Georgia is the type of team that likes to overpower opponents in the trenches. The Bears have shown that when they get pushed, they push back.
As for the other bowls, SMU versus Florida Atlantic in the Boca Raton Bowl should be good fun. Boise State versus Washington will match up the last two Boise State coaches as Washington coach Chris Petersen will coach his final game with the Huskies against Bryan Harsin, the guy who followed him at Boise State.
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