OK – Actual bowling is a future issue, but – we get great National Championship Bowl Games on New Year’s Day – Where They Belong.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Last year at this time, Nebraska and Tennessee were getting ready to play each other in a well-deserved bowl game right here in Tennessee. Flash forward to this year and neither team is in a bowl game at all, and both now have brand new coaches. The stay the same part – well, Alabama and Clemson are both in the title picture again this year, the two repeats from 2016. The kicker is that they have to play each other in the first round. Lots of folks think the winner of the Sugar Bowl will win it all. But hold on there – Oklahoma looks like they can outscore anybody, and if Georgia can beat them, they can beat anybody. What a delectable pair of offerings on New Year’s Day. And adding to tradition, the Georgia-Oklahoma game is in the Rose Bowl, the granddaddy of them all as Keith Jackson used to say. These are very tight ball games; here’s the breakdown:
At press time, Georgia was actually a 2-point favorite in the Rose Bowl, set to kickoff at 5:00 local time, or thereabouts. Oklahoma is led by Heisman Trophy Frontrunner Baker Mayfield, who has completed 262 of 369 passes for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns with just five interceptions; the Sooners lead the country in total offense with 583.3 yards per game; they are seventh in passing (367.4) and 45th in rushing (215.9).
The SEC champion Bulldogs, on the other hand, rank 12th nationally in rushing defense (112.6 yards per game), but more importantly — and perhaps more pertinent — are second in pass defense, allowing just 158.3 yards per contest.
This has all the makings of one of those “who knows” games, typically the most entertaining. The old adage is, a good defense will beat a good offense, and vice-versa. But if a team like Oklahoma gets an early jump and gets going, brother watch out!
Can you believe it – #1-ranked Clemson drew No. 4 Alabama in New Orleans -marking the third time in three years that the Tigers and Crimson Tide will meet in the postseason.
In case you don’t remember, Alabama defeated the Tigers 45-40 in the National Championship Game in 2015; then Clemson returned the favor last year, knocking off Alabama 35-31 in the title game to win its first national championship since 1981. One of the most thrilling games in recent memory, by the way.
Well, they’re at it again. Not much to say here really – on paper, on film, on commentary, these are the best two teams in the country and this should be a real shootout – high-scoring or not. You never know how these types of games will evolve; sometimes it is a defensive tussle with a few really bright offensive moments. But often they are who can outscore the other – which is plenty great to watch, by the way.
Luckily for me, we are home this weekend, so I get to sit in my recliner, sip a libation or two, and enjoy what promises to be one of the better sets of college playoff bowl games in recent memory – and it’s just the semi-finals. Is this a great country or what!