After bowl selection, several of our staff got together to talk about the playoff and give our takes on who will win it all. Before we get too far, though, we should address the elephant in the room. And by elephant, we don’t mean the Crimson Tide’s mascot.
Our panel of writers, editors, and production staff agreed that Texas A&M deserves to be in this playoff. Their lone loss was to Alabama, and they played nearly twice as many games as Ohio State. If Notre Dame is in after a win and a loss against Clemson, then there is no reason that the Aggies should be on the outside looking in. It was an egregious mistake by the selection committee.
Now that we have that out of the way, I want to thank Derek King, Gene Bonds, and Don Glenn for joining me on this project. Here are our picks for the College Football Playoff:
Rose Bowl: Alabama v. Notre Dame
Notre Dame had a good year, a great one, in fact. However, their opponent had an even better one. As Gene put it, “Roll Tide!” Gene was the lone panelist that thought Notre Dame, not Ohio State, should have lost their spot to Texas A&M. It comes as no surprise then that he has Bama rolling all over the Irish. With three top-five Heisman finalists, the entire panel sees this playing out the same way. While Notre Dame looked great most of the year, they got exposed when Trevor Lawrence was back in the ACC title game lineup. Bama should win this easily.
Brian: Alabama 45-17
Derek: Alabama 34-24
Gene: Alabama 35-17
Don: Alabama 31-28
All-State Sugar Bowl: Clemson v. Ohio State
Ohio State was given an early Christmas present with the invite to this party. Their two ranked wins were against an eventual 4-5 Penn State team (#18 at the time) and a 12-point win over #15 Northwestern in the Big Ten title game. Their remaining wins were against the rest of the bottom-feeding Big Ten teams in a down year for the conference overall. Clemson’s only loss was a seven-point, double-overtime defeat on the road against Notre Dame. Oh, and they were without the consensus number one overall NFL draft pick in QB Trevor Lawrence. Put Ohio State in the “it’s an honor just being nominated” category for this one.
Brian: Clemson 42-24
Derek: Clemson 54-48
Gene: Clemson 38-21
Don: Clemson 36-21
College Football Championship
The entire panel has Alabama and Clemson lining up for yet another championship matchup. This is where we were just a little divided. These are two very well-matched teams. Both teams have explosive offenses featuring a quarterback that can absolutely take over a game when needed. The real question will be which defenses show up. Does the Alabama that gave up 48 points to Ole Miss show up? Or how about the Clemson defense that gave up 47 points to a Notre Dame team they later held to 10? The adage that defense wins championships will hold here. This one should be another shootout with whichever defense makes the big play sealing the win for their team.
Brian: Clemson 47-42
Derek: Clemson 46-42
Gene: Alabama 38-31
Don: Clemson 37-35
Let’s just hope this season doesn’t end as tumultuous as it began.