College Football Playoff predictions by: Bradford Brooks

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This season of college football was exciting as ever, and filled with plenty of controversy. Especially with the selection of the college football playoffs this past sunday, as the college football playoff committee did something it has never done during its three year tenure by selecting two teams from the same conference.

In addition, they committee did not select BIG 10 Champion Ohio State, who defeated Wisconsin this past Saturday in the BIG 10 Championship Game 27-21. Instead the selection committee decide to select the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference champion and defending national champions Clemson as the 1 seed, Big 12 champion Oklahoma as the 2 seed, South Eastern Conference champion Georgia, and finally Alabama who didn’t win it’s conference (SEC), but was viewed as the better team and more worthy of the final spot.

This is the second year that the college football playoff selection committee has put a team into the four team playoff bracket after not winning its conference. Despite Ohio State defeating Wisconsin and capturing the Big 10 title, their  31 point loss to Iowa on the road was a deciding factor for the playoff selection committee.  Alabama will face off in a championship rematch when they face Clemson January 1st in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and Georgia will compete against Oklahoma on January 1st in the Rose Bowl.

Predictions

No. 3 Georgia vs No. 2 Oklahoma (January 1st, 5 p.m. ET on ESPN at Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California)

For the first time in 12 years the Georgia Bulldogs are the champions of the SEC. Head coach Kirby Smart’s team led by their dominant front seven, with a number 4 ranked defense in the country, will be facing off against the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners who are are led by Heisman trophy frontrunner ,quarterback Baker Mayfield, have the number 1 offense in college football and are averaging 44.9 points per game.  

Georgia has been dominant all season, only dropping one game to Auburn in the regular season, who they were able to defeat in their rematch in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs will be facing an Oklahoma team who generate an average of 385 yards per game through the air and 144 rushing yards on the ground per game. The Bulldogs have a stable of running backs with Nick Chubb,  Sony Michel, and freshman signal caller, quarterback Jake Fromm, who should have plenty of opportunities to make some plays in the air.

But in this game the Sooners will ultimately find a way to win as they have been able to do all season. Baker Mayfield has shown up in every test thrown at him this season and that trend will most likely continue as he plays on this big stage.Oklahoma wins a very good game against Georgia.

*An interesting fact in the three years of the CFB playoffs, the number 3 seed in the playoff has never won a game.*

Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Georgia 38

No. 1 Clemson vs No. 4 Alabama (January 1st, 8:45 p.m. ET on ESPN at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana)

The trilogy continues as the Clemson Tigers will face off for the third time in a row against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Both teams have defenses that rank in the top 10 of college football.

This will be a clash between two great programs lead by two great coaches in Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney. The Tigers defense anchored by playmakers on the defensive line will look to contain Alabama and their dynamic rushing attack. Both of these programs have dealt with injuries this season, with many coming over the past couple of weeks, while Alabama looks to bounce back after being defeated in the Iron Bowl.

Although Alabama has dealt with offensive struggles over the course of the season, Clemson will have to ultimately have to stop the run and force Quarterback Jalen Hurts to try to win the game with his arm. This game will be a fight until the very end,  but Clemson has proven to be the best team in college football this season as they have been clicking on all cylinders on both sides of the ball. In a tough game, Clemson will win for the second time in a row and go on to play in their third consecutive national championship.

Prediction: Clemson 27, Alabama 21  

College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T

No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (January 8th, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia)

The nation’s most complete team and the nation’s best quarterback square off, but Clemson knowing what it takes to finish the job,will go on to win the national championship. Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins will shine in his final college game as the Tigers become the first team to repeat since Alabama in 2012.

Prediction: Clemson 38, Oklahoma 35

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