Tag Archives: College Football Playoff

2017-2018 College Football Bowl Projections

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National Championship Game-Mercedes Benz Stadium-Atlanta, Georgia: Ohio State vs. Alabama

National Champion: Alabama

Roll Tide as the dominance continues in Tuscaloosa for Nick Saban.

Rose Bowl (National Semifinal): USC vs. Ohio State

It’s a battle between perennial Big Ten and Pac-12 powerhouses in order to reach the National Championship Game.

Sugar Bowl (National Semifinal): Florida State vs. Alabama

These two teams began the year by facing each other and someone’s season will come to an end here in New Orleans.

New Orleans Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Southern Miss

Southern Miss knows a thing or two about this bowl game as they’ve appeared in it more than any other school.

Cure Bowl: Memphis vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

This has the making to be one of the better bowl games of the season.

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. UCLA

Will making a bowl game be enough for Jim Mora to save his job at UCLA?

New Mexico Bowl: Wyoming vs. Louisiana Tech

There will be plenty of scouts in attendance to watch quarterback Josh Allen in his last collegiate game for Wyoming.

Camellia Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Troy

Don’t tell the folks in the Mid-American or Sun Belt Conferences that this game is not important.

Boca Raton Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Houston

The scorekeepers will earn their paychecks in this one.

Frisco Bowl: Cincinnati vs. BYU

As usual BYU is a team that nobody wants to face.

Gasparilla Bowl Tulsa vs. Middle Tennessee State

This game might be indoors at the home of the Tampa Bay Rays, but these are two teams that know a thing or two about slinging the football around.

Bahamas Bowl: UTSA vs. Miami (Ohio)

I don’t think that either one of these teams will mind having to travel to the Bahamas for this one.

Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego State vs. Toledo

The run game of San Diego State versus the passing attack of Toledo; something has to give here.

Birmingham Bowl: Central Florida vs. Mississippi State

There will be some paint swapping in Birmingham on this day.

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Army

One meeting during the regular season is not enough for these service academies.

Dollar General Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Western Michigan

No team has appeared in this game more than Arkansas State.

Hawai’i Bowl: Colorado State vs. SMU

The football will be flying through the Honolulu night between two teams that can put up a ton of points.

Quick Lane Bowl: Boston College vs. Maryland

It’s rare that two teams meet in the same bowl game in consecutive years, but that’ll be the case here with Boston College and Maryland.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: TCU vs. Temple

TCU will make the short trip for this bowl game to face a Temple team that is just happy to be there.

Cactus Bowl: Texas vs. Washington State

It’s a weird site when Texas is merely happy to be playing in a bowl game.

Independence Bowl: Missouri vs. Pittsburgh

The biggest question surrounding this game will be which team will be more enthused about being in Shreveport.

Pinstripe Bowl: Nebraska vs. North Carolina State

New York City will be covered in a blanket of red in late December.

Texas Bowl: Baylor vs. Texas A&M

Will this game mark the end of the Kevin Sumlin era at Texas A&M?

Foster Farms Bowl: Oregon vs. Iowa

A bowl game in the first year of the Willie Taggart will be a step in the right direction for Oregon.

Military Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Navy

Triple-option versus triple-option as Ken Niumatalolo faces off against the man who started the turnaround at Navy in Paul Johnson.

Camping World Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Kansas State

Two of the most underrated programs in college football will square off in a contest that could be one of the better ones of the bowl season.

Alamo Bowl: Colorado vs. Oklahoma

Two former Big 12 Conference foes will meet in San Antonio and add to this game’s history of high scoring affairs.

Holiday Bowl: Indiana vs. Stanford

The folks from Palo Alto will make the trek down Interstate-5 to see their team put a stamp on a solid campaign on the gridiron.

Belk Bowl: Louisville vs. South Carolina

The big question will be whether or not that Louisville be interested in showing up for this one.

Sun Bowl: Clemson vs. Utah

This game could be a preview of two teams who are ready to do bigger and better things in 2018.

Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Michigan State

The first team to score 20 points will more than likely win this one.

Arizona Bowl: New Mexico vs. Notre Dame

Notre Dame appears to be in turmoil, but don’t expect their former head football coach in Bob Davie to feel sorry for them.

Cotton Bowl: LSU vs. Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State barely missed making the College Football Playoff, and they won’t have a chance to feel sorry for themselves as they’ll take on a very game LSU team.

TaxSlayer Bowl: Minnesota vs. Tennessee

This will be an interesting matchup between a pair of energetic head coaches in P.J. Fleck (Minnesota) and Butch Jones (Tennessee) who won’t make this just another trip to Northern Florida.

Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. West Virginia

This game will more than likely end with each team scoring at least 40 points.

Fiesta Bowl: Washington vs. Michigan

After both of these teams barely missed making the College Football Playoff, this could be the best game during the bowl season.

Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Penn State

College football is in a better place when Miami and Penn State are good at the same time.

Outback Bowl: Northwestern vs. Auburn

If you’re a fan of teams that can run the football this will be the game for you.

Peach Bowl: South Florida vs. Georgia

Georgia barely misses out on making the College Football Playoff, but a trip to Atlanta won’t be a bad consolation prize.

Citrus Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Florida

It’s another New Year’s Day bowl game for Florida, but will their fans appreciate it?

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The Outcome That College Football Needed

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Since 2008, the Alabama Crimson Tide have been the premier team in college football as they’ve claimed four national championships while steamrolling over the competition in the process. After the Tide went 6-6 in their first year under head football coach Nick Saban in 2007, they’ve managed to go 112-13 since then while only producing one three-loss campaign. Saban has built a dynasty at Alabama which is not easy to do in this day with parity, but they are the team that college football fans love to hate.

And what has set Alabama apart from the other football programs is that they shine the best in the big games which included going 4-0 in national championship games heading into the 2016 college football season. The Tide won the national championship last year and after entering this past season ranked as the top team in the land, they were looking to become the first squad since the USC Trojans to go wire-to-wire in order to repeat as national champions.

Alabama was able to accept the challenge as they mowed down the competition in the Southeastern Conference and when the regular season was over, they were the only undefeated team in the nation. The Tide would easily defeat the Florida Gators 54-16 in the SEC Championship Game which sent them to the College Football Playoff for the third consecutive year. And after the Crimson Tide made short work of the Washington Huskies in the Peach Bowl, it was back to the title game for them.

The team that had the indubious pleasure of watching Alabama claim the championship trophy last January were the Clemson Tigers. In nine years under head football coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson has become a national power which has seen them win three Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and defeat national recognized teams such as the Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners and LSU Tigers. During the 2015 college football season Clemson was the feel good story as they were the underdog for the majority of their games. And even in defeat to Alabama, they held their own as they lost 45-40.

But whereas the close loss to Alabama might have broken the spirits of some teams, Clemson used it as fuel to their fire as led by junior quarterback Deshaun Watson and senior linebacker Ben Boulware, they took all of the body blows that they could absorb during the regular season which included getting by the Auburn Tigers of the Southeastern Conference 19-13 on the road to start the campaign. And when Atlantic Coast Conference play began, Clemson was pushed to the limit by teams such as the Louisville Cardinals, North Carolina State Wolfpack, and Florida State Seminoles. Clemson did slip up once during the season as they lost at home to the Pittsburgh Panthers 43-42 on November 12. But after the loss to Pittsburgh, Clemson would rebound to win their remaining games which included defeating the Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC Championship Game which sent them back to the College Football Playoff for a second consecutive year.

And just like the previous season, the Tigers would head to the College Football Playoff as heavy underdogs. Clemson would meet the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl who were looking to win their second national title in the last three years. But for the second time in the last four seasons, Clemson got the best of Ohio State in a bowl game. However this time was in dominating fashion as the Buckeyes were taken behind the woodshed 31-0 which paved the way for Clemson to have a rematch with the Tide after they easily dispatched of the Washington Huskies in the Peach Bowl 24-7.

The scene was changing from last year’s battle between these two teams which took place at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. And having the game in Tampa provided more of a buzz for both of these schools which are located in the Southeast; especially for Clemson who had more fans in attendance for Monday night’s championship tilt.

As always there was plenty of anticipation and excitement leading up to the kickoff as one thing was for sure was that the Tigers would not be afraid of intimidated of Alabama when they met them. But when Alabama took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter after a pair of pulverizing touchdown runs from sophomore running back Bo Scarbrough, it appeared to be a familiar tune as the Crimson Tide were ready beat the brakes off of another opponent.

But we forgot to measure the heart of Clemson as they clawed back into the game. And even after the Tigers were trailing 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter, they had Alabama right where they wanted them.

Swinney never wavered from his offensive game plan which called for the Tigers to go uptempo. Clemson wasn’t making substitutions which meant that neither could Alabama as the top-ranked defense in the land was beginning to run out of gas.

Clemson ran 99 plays on offense as they possessed the football for nearly 35 minutes of game time. And when the fourth quarter rolled around, Watson channeled his inner Vince Young as he baffled the Alabama defense, while seeing his stock rise for the 2017 National Football League Draft in the process.

The Tide didn’t have an answer for Watson who led Clemson on three, fourth quarter touchdown drives, and when Scarbrough suffered a broken leg in the second half, he took the Alabama offense to the sideline with him as well.

With just six seconds left in regulation and Clemson traling 31-28 with the football at the Alabama two-yard line, Swinney had a choice as he could get conservative by going for the game-tying field goal, or throwing caution to the wind and becoming a legend in the Palmetto State. Swinney opted to win the game as a field goal would have killed all of Clemson’s momentum heading into overtime. And with just one second left, Watson found sophomore wide receiver Hunter Renfrow in the end zone to give the Tigers their first national championship since 1981. But as much as Clemson’s victory over Alabama will be celebrated throughout the State of South Carolina from now until the cows come home, their victory was huge for the overall landscape of college football.

The Tide have been the team over the last decade and although that they have suffered losses against other marquee programs such as Oklahoma and Ohio State, they’ve never lost in the national championship game; especially when they were presented with a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. Along with Saban’s time as the head football coach at LSU, he was 5-0 in title games before Monday night as he always knew how to push the right buttons. But Saban was done in by a head coach in Swinney that not only had seen his act, but also had the personnel in which he could slay the dragon.

College football may be seeking parity for its game, but in the three years of the College Football Playoff, Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State have all made multiple trips to the field of four with each program claiming the trophy once, while the top seed entering the tournament has never claimed the title which is good for the game.

But as Alabama left Raymond James Stadium on Monday night watching purple and orange confetti rain down, they’ll once again be set for another title push as Saban continues to recruit and develop talent that will be playing in the National Football League in the very near future. However on Monday when Clemson won the title, they won it not only for themselves, but for all of those people who were told they weren’t good enough to accomplish a goal.

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Dabo’s Shot At Redemption

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When Dabo Swinney was named as the interim head football coach of the Clemson Tigers in 2008, nobody knew what to expect as he appeared to be a stop-gap guy. But under Swinney, Clemson would go 4-2 down the stretch which included them beating their in-state rivals in the South Carolina Gamecocks which led to him getting the job on a full-time basis. By 2009, Swinney would have the Tigers in the Atlantic Coast Conference Title Game for the first time in school history which gave him some traction. But when the Tigers went 6-7 in 2010, Swinney appeared to be on the hot seat. However Clemson’s decision to stick with Swinney has been extremely beneficial for everyone involved as the program has gone to new heights.

In 2011, Swinney would lead Clemson to their first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship since 1991. And although that Clemson’s season didn’t finish on a positive note as they were blown out by the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Orange Bowl 70-33, they were headed in the right direction. Since then Clemson has won at least 10 games in each season while they’ve defeated some of the nation’s elite programs such as that of the LSU Tigers of the Southeastern Conference and the Oklahoma Sooners of the Big 12 Conference. The last two years have seen Clemson win the ACC, while also having a spot in the College Football Playoff.

In 2015, Clemson had their moment in the spotlight which saw them as the top-ranked team for the majority of the season. The Tigers set a school record by winning 14 games and they played for their first national championship since 1981. But unfortunately for Swinney and the Tigers, the Alabama Crimson Tide were too much for them in the title game. But instead of sulking after the 45-40 loss to Alabama, the Tigers set out to take their experience from 2015 and improve on it.

Deshaun Watson

With quarterback Deshaun Watson returning for his junior season, the Tigers began the 2016 college football season ranked second in the Associated Press Poll, and unlike 2015, they wouldn’t be able to sneak up on anyone.

Clemson took everyone’s best punch this year which included losing by a point at home to the Pittsburgh Panthers on November 12, while also having close calls against the Auburn Tigers, Troy Trojans, Louisville Cardinals, North Carolina State Wolfpack, and Florida State Seminoles. And after Clemson survived a fierce battle with the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game, they were headed for the College Football Playoff for the second consecutive year.

Just like last year’s Orange Bowl against Oklahoma, along with the title game versus Alabama, Clemson would be the underdog when they took the field against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl which was one of the national semifinals. The Buckeyes were national champions in 2015, and aside from winning the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2016 college football season, they were led by a head football coach in Urban Meyer that has won three national titles.

Clemson would begin the contest with Watson throwing an interception on their first drive. But Clemson’s defense would shut down one of the best offenses in the nation, while Watson and the Tigers offense would navigate through a defense that was expected to give the Heisman Trophy finalist fits. And when it was all said and done, Clemson defeated Ohio State 31-0 and they would be heading back to the title game as they won at a place in University of Phoenix Stadium that saw them denied a national title last January.

So now Clemson is headed back to the title game and they’ll be facing a familiar foe in Alabama. The only things that have changed heading into the title game are that this year it will be at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, while Alabama will be the designated home team. Clemson is still the underdog as Alabama is led by head football coach Nick Saban who has won five national titles and is one of the most revered minds that college football has ever seen.

On the other hand there is Swinney who is originally from Birmingham, Alabama and played for the Tide on their national championship team in 1992 as he is once again looking to lead Clemson to college football’s holy grail. Swinney was initially a walk-on at Alabama before earning a scholarship and just as he had to earn his stripes at ‘Bama, the same can be said about his coaching career at Clemson. Swinney has never been afraid to slay the giant as most of the Tigers recent success within the Atlantic Coast Conference has come at the expense of the Seminoles who dominated the conference for nearly two decades. And that lack of fear will once again be on display this Monday night when the Tigers clash with the Tide.

America has been long known as a country where people get second chances and after being so close to toppling Alabama last January, Clemson and Swinney will get another chance to forever etch their names into college football lore.

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What To Watch For In The 2016-2017 College Football Playoff

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Let the games begin.

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A Very Tough Task

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The College Football Playoff Committee had a very difficult job on their hands, but the right four teams are in the playoff.

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2016-2017 College Bowl Projections

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College Football Playoff

Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oklahoma 

This will mark the second time that these two clubs meet this season, and it should be a dandy.

Peach Bowl: LSU vs. Miami  

It’s a new team and a new conference for Mark Richt, but he’ll still struggle against LSU.

National Championship Game-Raymond James Stadium-Tampa, Florida

LSU vs. Oklahoma

A year after nearly losing his job at LSU, Les Miles is once again king of the mountain.

National Champion: LSU

Orange Bowl: Boise State vs. Clemson 

Clemson is definitely worthy of getting back to the College Football Playoff, but making the Orange Bowl isn’t a bad consolation prize.

Cotton Bowl: Tennessee vs. Notre Dame

A trip to the Cotton Bowl will climax the end of a great season for two programs that are on the upswing.

Rose Bowl: UCLA vs. Michigan

It hasn’t taken Jim Mora and Jim Harbaugh that long to get their respective programs back on the national scene.

Sugar: Alabama vs. Oklahoma State

Will a consecutive trip to the Sugar Bowl bring a different outcome for Oklahoma State after they were blown out by Ole Miss this past January?

New Mexico Bowl: Marshall vs. San Diego State

There will be plenty of offense on display at the New Mexico Bowl between Marshall and San Diego State.

Las Vegas Bowl: Air Force vs. Arizona

The triple-option attack of Air Force versus the spread offense of Arizona will lead to an intriguing contest.

Cure Bowl: East Carolina vs. Georgia State

Georgia State and their powerful running game don’t get enough respect around the nation, but they could get some here.

Camellia Bowl: Toledo vs. Troy

This could be a sleeper matchup during bowl season.

New Orleans Bowl: Georgia Southern vs. Southern Mississippi

Georgia Southern will arrive on Bourbon Street with an attitude to run the football.

Miami Beach Bowl: Tulsa vs. Northern Illinois

Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans can use this game as a chance to fine tune his resume as he’ll be one of the first quarterbacks selected in next year’s National Football League Draft.

Boca Raton Bowl: Connecticut vs Middle Tennessee

Bob Diaco is building his program at Connecticut and a bowl appearance would be rewarding to him and his players.

Poinsettia Bowl: Nevada vs. BYU

Although that Bronco Mendehall is no longer coaching at BYU, this program still has what it takes to make a bowl game.

Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio vs. Colorado State

It’s a battle of teams that wear green on the “smurf turf” of Boise, Idaho.

Bahamas Bowl: Memphis vs. Western Kentucky

The explosiveness of Western Kentucky’s offense is no longer a secret.

Armed Forces Bowl: Navy vs. Texas Tech

The triple-option attack of Navy against the pass happy offense of Texas Tech should make for an intriguing contest in Fort Worth, Texas.

GoDaddy Bowl: Appalachian State vs Western Michigan

After a strong season at Western Michigan, this could be the last game there for head football coach P.J. Fleck who could be ready to take over a bigger program.

Hawaii Bowl: Stanford vs. UNLV

It’s not the Rose Bowl that we’re accustomed to seeing Stanford in, but they will gladly take a trip to Honolulu after a down year.

St. Petersburg Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Bowling Green

The scoreboard operator at Tropicana Field will be busy as both of these offenses can score with the best of them.

Quick Lane Bowl: Indiana vs. Duke

Indiana versus Duke is no longer simply reserved for the hardwood anymore.

Independence Bowl: Missouri vs. Virginia Tech

For a pair of first year head coaches in Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech) and Barry Odom (Missouri), a bowl victory can do wonders for their respective programs.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. Minnesota

Louisiana Tech won’t be intimidated by playing a team from a power conference.

Military Bowl: North Carolina State vs. Temple

After a strong season it will be interesting to see if Temple will show up for this one.

Holiday Bowl: Penn State vs. Washington

This will be a contest of teams that are on the verge of breaking through in their respective conferences.

Cactus Bowl: Kansas State vs. Utah

There will be plenty of physicality on the field with two teams that are among the toughest in their respective conferences.

Pinstripe Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Wisconsin

The Ramblin’ Wreck makes its way up I-95 to the House that Jeter built.

Russell Athletic Bowl: West Virginia vs. Florida State

This contest is New Year’s Day worthy, but we’ll get it in late December.

Foster Farms Bowl: Nebraska vs. Washington State

Will Nebraska make it consecutive wins at Santa Clara in this game?

Texas Bowl: TCU vs. Texas A&M

Watching TCU and Texas A&M meet on the gridiron will bring back memories when these two schools called the Southwest Conference home; and it doesn’t hurt that the game will take place in Houston.

Birmingham Bowl: Houston vs. Kentucky

This could be Houston’s final audition before joining the Big 12.

Belk Bowl: Mississippi State vs. North Carolina

Mississippi State will have their hands full as this will be a de facto home game for North Carolina in Charlotte.

Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon

A bowl victory for Texas could be the springboard that they need to get back on the national scene.

Liberty Bowl: Baylor vs. Arkansas

After a tough year for both Baylor and Arkansas, they’ll both be happy to have the chance to finish on a positive note.

Sun Bowl: Louisville vs. USC

Louisville will be happy to travel to El Paso, but will it be the same for the Men of Troy?

Arizona Bowl: New Mexico vs. South Florida

Very quietly Bob Davie has done a good a developing a respectable program at New Mexico.

Music City Bowl: Auburn vs. Pittsburgh

Will a trip to Nashville signal the end of Gus Malzahn’s run at Auburn?

Citrus Bowl: Georgia vs. Iowa

This will culminate the end of a solid first year at Georgia for Kirby Smart as he gets his squad to a New Year’s Day bowl game.

TaxSlayer Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Northwestern

Hugh Freeze is accomplishing one of his goals as Ole Miss is consistently playing on or around New Year’s Day.

Outback Bowl: Michigan State vs. Florida

After struggles by both teams, they will be thankful to get it on in Tampa on New Year’s Day.

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