Later today, we ring in 2016. However, from a sports standpoint 2015 is sure to go out with a bang. A full slate of college football is on tap, highlighted by the two national semifinals. The winners will play each other for the National Title on January 11th Here is a snapshot of both games.
Orange Bowl- Clemson (13-0) vs. Oklahoma (11-1) 4 ET ESPN
Two high-powered offenses here. Oklahoma comes in with the most versatile QB in the country, Baker Mayfield. The Sooners also have two talented running backs led by Samaje Perine. They have destroyed everyone since an inexplicable loss to rival Texas. They just seem to be on a mission to me. Also, I give Bob Stoops a major coaching edge here over Dabo Swinney, for whom this is uncharted territory. Clemson is undefeated. That says a lot, but their recent close wins against lesser opponents suggest to me they may be running out of gas. Heisman finalist QB Deshaun Watson and a talented defensive front seven will keep the Tigers in it, but I like OU in a shootout.
Cotton Bowl- Michigan State (12-1) vs. Alabama (12-1) 8 ET ESPN
These teams handle business much the same way. Run first offenses, extremely physical, and do not make mistakes. The dirty little secret about Alabama is that the formula to beat them is simple. Their QB play has been awful this year. They are a one man offense spearheaded by Heisman winner RB Derrick Henry. All teams have to do is have a defense good enough to contain Henry, force them to throw as often as they run, and have their QB make a few plays against their great defense. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Look at Alabama’s record. However, the Spartans fit this bill nicely. Their QB Connor Cook is the only QB in this playoff with a shot at playing on Sundays and their defense is the best in the country. MSU as a 10 point underdog here is a joke. In fact, I will take the outright upset in a low scoring fist fight. Happy New Year!