The College Football Playoff is set to kick off on New Year's Day with two incredibly intriguing matchups. Oklahoma and Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield will go up against Georgia in the Rose Bowl, while Clemson and Alabama are meeting the Sugar Bowl, marking the third consecutive season in which they have met in the playoff.
There is also plenty of history being made this year, as it's the first time two teams from the same conference (SEC) are in the playoff while Alabama is the only team to qualify all four years.
How will these games shake out? Here's our preview & prediction for both games:
This game will be determined by the answers to two questions - Can Georgia's defense slow Baker Mayfield, and can Oklahoma's defense slow Georgia's dominant rushing attack? Neither has really happened yet this season, which makes me think this will be a high-scoring game.
Mayfield has been dealing with the flu, but he's expected to play and perform at a high level, which I think he will. He always plays his best on the biggest stages and he'll have Oklahoma's offense - the best in the sport - playing at a high level. We've seen the Sooners shred good defenses (namely Ohio State) with ease, and I don't think Jake Fromm will be able to produce enough of a passing game for Georgia to keep pace on the scoreboard.
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This game is going to be so much fun. Alabama is looking for revenge for last season's national championship game loss, while Clemson is largely still playing for respect as they're underdogs to the No. 4 ranked Tide.
Everything in this one signals that Clemson is the better team. Their defensive line is the most dominant unit in all of college football, they haven't lost when quarterback Kelly Bryant is healthy, and Alabama is dealing with injuries to their linebacking core. However, Nick Saban is 10-2 in his Alabama career in "revenge" games and is 5-1 against teams ranked No. 1. They simply don't lose these kinds of games. Because of that, I think he'll have the perfect gameplan in place that will lead the Tide to a win.
Prediction: AlabamaBack to the NCAA Newsfeed