The Cold Hard Truth: On Sports

College Football Playoff Games Not That Close

College Football Playoff Games Not That Close

By James Bell


There was so many commercials and promotions leading up to the semifinal games of the College Football Playoff to try to get the fans psyched for the matchups on December 31st, but once the games actually happened, there was no doubt who the better teams were. Let’s get into what happened in each game.

2016 Peach Bowl

The first semifinal of the College Football Playoff had the defending national champions and SEC champion Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Washington Huskies who won the Pac-12 championship over Colorado. There were many that didn’t think that Washington had a shot against the Tide, with Alabama being in the playoffs for the third year in a row and winners of 25 consecutive games. It didn’t help that this game was in the Georgia Dome which was the site of the SEC Championship where Alabama has been five times in the last six seasons. Washington came in there with some confidence as they looked like they were not intimidated early by taking a 7-0 lead, but the Tide came right back and drove the ball down the field to tie the score. After that happened, the Tide dominated on defense to cause turnovers and disrupt the play of Jake Browning to take the Peach Bowl with a 24-7 victory. For a while in the first half, the Tide had a 10-7 lead and it looked like they were heading into halftime with that lead. However, the stellar defense did what it has been known to do all season: return turnovers for touchdowns. Ryan Anderson returned an interception to the end zone to put Alabama ahead 17-7 at halftime and gave the team its 11th defensive touchdown which leads the country.

Field position was the story of the game as Washington’s offense was pinned behind their 20 yard line for most of the game while Alabama had a better spot in most of their drives. With that advantage, the Tide defense went after Browning and the running game was nonexistent for the Huskies (which has been the case for many teams against Alabama) while the Tide got the ball to Bo Scarborough who had the best game of his career with 180 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. One of them came on a 68 yard run which capped off a 98 yard drive which came after his run to get them out of bad field position in a 3rd down play. The Crimson Tide will return to the national championship game for the 5th time in 8 years under coach Nick Saban and complete an undefeated season.

2016 Fiesta Bowl

In the Fiesta Bowl, there was a matchup between a team that won the first College Football Playoff national championship and a team that was very close to winning the second College Football Playoff national championship. Ohio State got back to the semifinals after not getting there last year due to a loss to Michigan State to keep them from winning the Big Ten. This time around, they didn’t have to win the conference as they had wins over Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Michigan who all finished in the top ten to end the season. Clemson started the year as the #2 team in the country on media polls, but seemed to get by the season with close wins over teams like Auburn and Troy and lost to Pittsburgh at home. However, they won the ACC Championship Game over Virginia Tech to get in the Fiesta Bowl which is what they wanted to do all along. Now all they had to do was beat Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl to get back to the national championship game…they did that with an emphatic statement.

Clemson came out of the gate on defense to stifle the Buckeyes and two missed field goals by Ohio State in the first quarter foresaw what was in store for coach Urban Meyer’s team as the Tigers dominated from start to finish to win 31-0….that’s right, 31-0. This was the first time that a Buckeye team coached by Meyer has been shut out. It started with the defensive line taking advantage of the woes on Ohio State’s offensive line, as left guard Michael Jordan had a leg injury coming into the game and couldn’t play like he had during the season so players like Clelin Ferrell and Carlos Watkins were seen getting at JT Barrett, Curtis Samuel, and Mike Weber early and often. They dared Barrett to make plays throwing the ball and he could not do it. He went 19 for 33 with only 127 yards with 2 interceptions. On the flip side, Deshaun Watson did have two interceptions of his own, but he also had three total touchdowns and 316 total yards. To summarize the blowout that this game had, look at the amount of first downs that each team had: Clemson 24, Ohio State 9. The Buckeyes could not do anything at all when they had the ball.

Now, we look forward to the College Football Playoff National Championship which is a rematch between Alabama and Clemson. Last year, we saw a great game from start to finish and Alabama came out of there with a 45-40 win. This year, we will see if the Tide repeats or if Clemson gets their revenge.

College Football Playoff Games Not That Close
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College Football Playoff Games Not That Close

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