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2015 College Football Playoff Preview

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The 2015-16 College Football Playoffs begin on New Year’s Eve and will continue until the title game on January 11th. The four teams that earned a spot in the playoffs are, in order of seeding: #1 Clemson Tigers, #2 Alabama Crimson Tide, #3 Michigan State Spartans, #4 Oklahoma Sooners.

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There is very little left to talk about, the college football season comes down to this, three games. (Two Semi-Finals, One National Championship) We wanted to give you a chance to preview the games and we even went as far as to give our predictions for all three games. Enjoy.

Capital One Orange Bowl

Orange Bowl 560x140Who : Clemson Tigers vs. Oklahoma Sooners

When: December 31st, 2015

Where: Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL

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Team : Clemson Tigers (#1)

2015 Record: 13-0

Conference Record: 8-0

Most Important Players

  • DeShaun Watson, Sophomore, QB – 69.5% Completion Pct., 3,512 Passing Yards, 887 Rushing Yards, 41 Total TDs, 11 Interceptions
  • Wayne Gallman, Sophomore, RB – 1,332 rushing yards, 10 TDs, 111 Rushing YPG
  • Shaq Lawson, Junior, DE – 55 Tackles, 22 Tackles for Loss, 9.5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble
  • Kevin Dodd, Junior, DE – 51 Tackles, 15 Tackles for Loss, 8 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Blocked Kick/Punt
  • Cordea Tankersly, Junior, CB – 39 Tackles, 5 Interceptions, 1 Sack, 7 Passes Defended
  • Jayron Kearse, Junior, S – 52 Tackles, 6 Passes Defended, 1 Interception, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 Blocked Kick/Punt

Keys to Success

  • DeShaun Watson needs to continue leading his team like Vince Young did with Texas a few years ago. The Clemson Tigers Win or Lose behind him.
  • Score points early on so when the Oklahoma offense begins to get going, as they have done for the last month, Clemson will be able to adjust.
  • The Defensive Line has to get pressure on Baker Mayfield early and often to rattle him enough to keep points off the boards.
  • Clemson defeated Oklahoma last year in the Russell Athletic Bowl 40-6. They know they can beat these guys and have nothing but confidence heading into this matchup.

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Team : Oklahoma Sooners (#4)

2015 Record: 11-1

Conference Record: 8-1

Most Important Players

  • Baker Mayfield, Junior, QB – 68.6% Completion Pct., 3,389 Passing Yards, 420 Rushing Yards, 42 Total TDs, 5 Interceptions
  • Samaje Perine, Sophomore, RB – 1,291 Rushing Yards, 16 Total TDs
  • Sterling Shepard, Senior, WR – 79 Receptions, 1,201 Yards, 11 TDs
  • Eric Striker, Senior, LB – 61 Tackles, 16 Tackles for Loss, 7.5 Sacks, 3 Passes Broken Up, 1 Forced Fumble
  • Charles Tapper, Senior, DT – 45 Tackles, 10 Tackles for Loss, 7 Sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles, 1 Fumble Recovery
  • Zach Sanchez, Junior, CB – 44 Tackles, 0.5 Sack, 7 Passes Defended, 6 Interceptions, 1 Defensive TD
  • Jordan Thomas, Sophomore, CB – 44 Tackles, 5 Interceptions, 4 Passes Defended, 1 Defensive TD

Keys to Success

  • Stop DeShaun Watson. It’s that simple. He is their offense. If you shut him down, you have a 95% chance of beating the Tigers.
  • Be Aggressive on Offense. Over the past 7 games, Oklahoma has put up 52 or more points, 5 times. Clemson is going to gamble on defense, Oklahoma needs to use that to their advantage and make Big Plays.
  • Special Teams will be the deciding factor between these two evenly matched opponents. If OU can control the field and Time of Possession, they roll on to the title game.

Prediction – On paper, this looks to be a perfect matchup between two of the best offenses in the country. It has the feeling of a high-scoring touchdown fest but knowing the importance of this game, both defenses will show up and be the reason this one stays grounded.

Final Score – Oklahoma over Clemson, 41-38

Goodyear Cotton Bowl

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Who: Alabama Crimson Tide vs Michigan State Spartans

When: December 31st, 2015

Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX

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Team : Alabama Crimson Tide (#2)

2015 Record: 12-1

Conference Record: 8-1

Most Important Players

  • Derrick Henry, Junior, RBHeisman Trophy Winner, 1,986 Rushing Yards, 23 TDs
  • Ryan Kelly, Senior, C – All-American, Rimington Trophy Winner (Best Center in the Country)
  • Jonathan Allen, Junior, DL – 34 Tackles, 12.5 Tackles for Loss, 10 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles
  • Tim Williams, Junior, LB – 18 Tackles, 11.5 Tackles for Loss, 9.5 Sacks
  • A’Shawn Robinson, Junior, DT – 42 Tackles, 7.5 Tackles for Loss, 3.5 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovered, 1 Blocked Kick/Punt
  • Reggie Ragland, Senior, LB – 90 Tackles, 6.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.5 Sacks, 2 Fumbles, 6 Passes Defended

Keys to Success

  • Ground and Pound, this has become Alabama’s game. If they can push hard enough against the best defensive line in the country, they will easily win on the ground.
  • Force Michigan State to play from behind.The Alabama defense is too strong to allow any comeback late in the game.
  • Don’t Make Mistakes. 5 Turnovers against Ole Miss ended their perfect season chances, if they turn the ball over more than 3 times, the Spartans are going to win.

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Team : Michigan State Spartans (#3)

2015 Record: 12-1

Conference Record: 8-1

Most Important Players

  • Connor Cook, Senior, QB – 2,921 Passing Yards, 24 TDs, 5 Interceptions
  • Aaron Burbridge, Senior, WR – 80 Receptions, 1,219 Receiving Yards, 7 TDs
  • Malik McDowell, Sophomore, DT – 39 Tackles, 12 Tackles for Loss, 4.5 Sacks, 1 Interception, 2 Forced Fumbles, 1 Blocked Kick/Punt, 1 Defensive TD
  • Riley Bullough, Junior, LB – 95 Tackles, 7 Tackles for Loss, 4 Sacks, 2 Interceptions, 2 Forced Fumbles, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 Defensive TD
  • Jack Allen, Senior, C – All-American, Rimington Award Finalist
  • Jack Conklin, Junior, OT – All-America

Keys to Success:

  • Stop Derrick Henry. That’s all they have to do to win, we guarantee it. He has single handedly helped the Crimson Tide out of some very gaping holes this season. Stop him, and you stall their offense, keeping their defense on the field longer which is exactly where you want them to be.
  • Beat the Alabama Offensive Line.
  • Connor Cook needs to be an NFL QB. He needs to come out against Alabama and play the best game of his career for them to win.

Prediction – Nick Saban was embarrassed last year when Ohio State shocked everyone and beat his Crimson Tide. It is rare to see Nick Saban get upset on this grand a scale two years in a row. Michigan State’s defense is going to be the toughest Alabama has seen all year but, then again, so was Florida. With the help of Derrick Henry, this could be the best game of the day.

Final Score – Alabama over Michigan State, 27-17

National Championship

2016

Who: Oklahoma vs. Alabama

When: January 11th, 2016

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ

Coaching Staff – The coaching staff’s for both Oklahoma and Alabama are some of the best in the NCAA. Bob Stoops has been the Head Coach of OU for 17 seasons and has a National Title too. Nick Saban has 4. The matchup between Bob Stoops and Nick Saban gives us all the chills. These two guys are going to throw everything they have at each other to win.

Oklahoma’s Offense vs. Alabama’s Defensive Line –  Oklahoma’s best weapon is Baker Mayfield and as this season has shown us, the only way to beat Alabama is to have a QB that can be a threat on the ground too. Ole Miss’s up-tempo style was too much for Alabama to stop and it wore them down. OU has the same style only Baker Mayfield is a much better QB. Can he use his legs to run over Alabama’s Defensive Line?

Final Results – The game of the year indeed. If we get the pleasure of an Oklahoma and Alabama National Title, then we are going to be very satisfied when this one is over.

Oklahoma wins in a nail-biter over Alabama, 27-21

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