Playoffs?! We’re talking about playoffs?!
Game 1: (2) Oregon vs (3) Florida State
It seemed as if the College Football Playoff committee was doing everything in their power to drop Florida State. The undefeated Seminoles dropped as low as No. 4 before the committee realized they couldn’t leave the undefeated reigning champions out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. Wins haven’t come easy in turbulent season for FSU. Quarterback Jameis Winston seems to rarely use his brain off the field, involving himself in a number of incidents that have created character concerns for NFL teams. Winston got himself suspended for the Clemson game and FSU barely pulled out a much needed victory. FSU doesn’t win emphatically, but they get the job done week in and week out. The real MVP for Florida State has been their defense. FSU’s big, athletic D-Linemen plug up rushing lanes and consistently harass the quarterback. They will get all they can handle from Oregon in that position. Oregon is led by none other than the 2014 Heisman Award winner, Marcus Mariota. Oregon is fast, flashy, and scores points in bunches. Mariota and Co. avenged an early season defeat that saw them slip in the AP Poll with a dominating 51-13 victory over Arizona. Mariota leads a overpowering offense that utilizes all sorts of trick plays to confuse the defense. Mariota can hurt you with his legs or his arm. If anyone is equipped to contain Mariota, it’s this Florida State defense. Florida State’s best shot is to consistently get Mariota on the ground early. If they can get into his head and cause hesitation or make him throw it before he wants to, he can be beaten. However, Mariota is a big, tough, QB who is a high character individual who I don’t think will crumple under pressure. When considering this game, you can’t forget about Mariota’s counterpart, Jameis Winston. Last year’s Heisman winner vs this year’s is a big attraction of this game. When’s he’s on the field, Winston has been one of the most clutch players in College Football. Winston is even bigger than Mariota and is nearly impossible to sack. Winston has developed very good pocket presence and has a rocket launcher arm. Winston tends to rely too heavily on his favorite target, Rashad Greene. Oregon should look to keep him contained and prevent anything big over the middle of the field. Oregon’s defense lacks big names other than corner Ife Epkre-Olomu but has done a nice job this year. Florida State is defending their title and Winston plays well in big games. Mariota and Winston duke it out in a thriller that Florida State takes on a Robert Aguayo field goal. 45-42 Florida State due to Winston’s clutch fourth quarter play and FSU’s ability to stop the run.
Game 2: (1) Alabama vs (4) Ohio State
Ohio State just finished a 59-0 thrashing of Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. They contained Melvin Gordon, holding him to a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. The same Melvin Gordon that set a NCAA record for rushing yards in a game, 408 on only 25 carries. That’s 16.3 yards per carry! And Ohio State locked him up and sent a message to the College Football Playoff committee. The absolute whipping of one of the nation’s best teams was enough to vault them over TCU into the playoffs. However, Ohio State is on their third QB this season. JT Barrett was an excellent stand in for Braxton Miller, playing well enough to merit whispers of potential QB competition next fall. But Barrett broke his ankle in the Michigan game, so it’s up to Cardale Jones, who began the season as the third string quarterback, to win a playoff game against big bad Alabama. The Crimson Tide have been the most dominant college football team in the past six years. Alabama faltered early this year, losing to Ole Miss and narrowly escaping a mediocre Arkansas team. They righted the ship with a 59-0 obliteration of Texas A&M and reclaimed the number one spot with a 25-20 victory over Mississippi State, who was number one at the time. It’s been smooth sailing for ‘Bama ever since. They erased the haunting memory of last year’s “Kick 6” in the Iron Bowl by hanging 55 on Auburn’s previously well regarded defense. Alabama is led by a trio of stars on the offensive side of the ball. First is TJ Yeldon, the latest in a long list of great Alabama running backs. One of the key match ups in this game will be Yeldon against an Ohio State defense that effectively neutralized Heisman runner-up Melvin Gordon. The second star for Alabama is quarterback Blake Sims. A relative unknown entering this season, Sims has emerged as a prolific passer who is smart and has a good arm. Sims is far more athletic than predecessor AJ McCarron, and he can extend plays with his feet. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin doesn’t usually draw up designed runs for Sims, but he will be looking to mix in some trickery if necessary. After all, it is a playoff game. The third and most prestigious star is wide receiver Amari Cooper. Far and away the best receiver in the country, Cooper will assuredly go in the Top 10 of next year’s NFL draft, if not Top 5. Cooper is better than Sammy Watkins, better than Mike Evans, better than Brandin Cooks, the Biletnikoff Award Winner last year as CFB’s best receiver. Cooper destroyed Auburn in the Iron Bowl to punctuate a season in which he has been absolutely unfair. Cooper is strong. fast, has great hands, and terrific instincts. If you’re looking for a receiver to compare him to, think AJ Green of the Cincinnati Bengals. Cooper has 115 catches for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The combination of these three will be tough to stop for Ohio State. Ohio State overcame numerous injuries and played well when it counted this season, but the Tide will Roll right over the Buckeyes. Decided early, Ohio State puts in effort all night long and scores late to make this one look better in the box score than on the field in a 35-24 Alabama victory.
Unstoppable Force meets Immovable Object #BamavsOSU
Credit for the Image goes to: http://www.al.com/alabamafootball/index.ssf/2014/09/not_too_early_to_mention_amari.html
Credit for the Image goes to: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1883168-jameis-winston-wins-2013-davey-obrien-award
Marcus Mariota has been en fuego this season.
Credit for the Image goes to: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000361817/article/jameis-winston-marcus-mariota-to-attend-manning-camp
Can Cardale Jones (#12) step in effectively for JT Barret?(#16)
Credit for the Images: http://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football/2014/12/45204/cardale-jones-in-his-own-words-ohio-states-newest-quarterback-is-still-great-on-twitter