Crimson Tide 24, Washington 7
It wasn't a Mona Lisa for the Crimson Tide offense, but Bo Scarbrough got the job done with 180 yards on 19 carries and a pair of 7's, the second of which was an all world highlight reel 68 yard scamper, that showed his explosive power and speed. Quite a football player.
The defense scored it's 11th touchdown of the season as OLB Ryan Anderson intercepted a Jake Browning pass and took it back to the house for 26 yards in a pivotal play in the second quarter. Along with 11 defensive TDs, Alabama now has 15 non-offensive TDs this season. That's a huge wow.
So it's onto the national championship game for the Crimson Tide. Jalen Hurts is going to have to play better for the Tide to beat Clemson. The Tigers destroyed Urb and Ohio State, 31-0, and looked super doing it. Deshaun Watson did throw two ints though, and now has 17 on the season. I guess Dabo and the coaches can live with Deshaun's mistakes as compared to all the awesome plays he makes. But Alabama is a high intercepting team with 16 on the season. Superb safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has 6 this year as he added to his 5 int total with one on Saturday. There are so many good players on this football team, and this defense is maybe the best ever in college football. This group makes a legitimate claim to that even though Alabama, under Bear Bryant and NIck Saban, Nebraska, Miami, Florida State and others have all had terrific defenses. But I'd put this one in the top 3, and maybe the best ever. If they do the same thing they've been doing all season against Clemson, I would give them that title.
But Clemson is highly explosive on offense and will try to throw the ball downfield against a secondary that's really good, but can be, at times, susceptible to downfield passing and the deep ball. So that'll be a key matchup; Deshaun and the Clemson passing game vs. the Crimson Tide secondary. Of course, the Bama defensive line and the Clemson o line will be key as well. And Clemson's talented, physical defensive front will test Cam Robinson and company upfront for the Tide. Jalen Hurts get something done in the passing game will really help the Tide's cause. I anticipate Bo Scarbrough running well, but if he gets slowed down it could be up to the freshman to get something done through the air. He definitely has the targets in Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart, Gehrig Dieter and O.J. Howard. But Hurts will have to be more of a factor passing the ball than he was Saturday when he completed only 7 of 14 for 57 yards. His running will be helpful for the Tide though. Also, can Deshaun and Tigers running back Wayne Gallman get something done on the ground against the No.1 rushing defense in the country. That's a big question mark. Washington coach Chris Peterson said he knew it would be tough to run against the Crimson Tide defense, but he had to try. Clemson will have to run it some, and Gallman and Deshaun had some success in last year's championship game.
This is the game people have been waiting for. Expecting an epic at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, a week from today at 7 PM CT/8 PM ET on ESPN.
Overall: 220-109, 67%
No. 14 Auburn (8-4) vs. No.7 Oklahoma (10-2)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, N'Awlins (76,468)
7:30 PM CT/8:30 PM ET
Brent, Jess, Kaylee
Refs: Big Ten, John O'Neill
Kerryon Johnson needs 138 yards to break the 1,000 yard barrier for Auburn. Kerryon has rushed for 862 yards and 11 TDs. Kamryn Pettway has already rushed for 1,137 yards and 7 TDs while battling a hamstring injury in the latter part of the season. Both are healthy as is quarterback Sean White, who completed 65% of his passes for 9 TDs against 3 Ints. Carl Lawson returned to his form from two years ago with 12.5 tackles for loss of -75 yards, and 9 sacks for -62 yards. Oklahoma has an uber explosive offense with dual threat running backs Joe Mixon (1,183 yards, 8 TDs) and Samaje Perine (974 yards, 11 TDs). They are hosses and have tremendous speed. They will be a load to handle for the Auburn defense. And quarterback Baker Mayfield has been super completing 71% of his passes for 38 TDs against 8 ints. Wide receiver Dede Westbroook has caught 74 passes for 1,465 yards and 16 TDs. Johnathan Ford, Carlton Davis and the Auburn secondary will have to be on alert. And the front seven will have to figure out a way to contain Mayfield as he is also an excellent runner.
The Tigers are a 2 1/2 point underdog, but the line has dropped from 5. A lot of people believe AU can pull off the upset. I agree with them.
Tigers 35, Sooners 31
No.8 Wisconsin (10-3) vs. No. 15 Western Michigan (13-0)
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX ( 100,000)
12 PM CT/1 PM ET
Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams
Refs: ACC, Riley Johnson, lead whistle
It looks like somewhat of mismatch as Wisconsin has the power of the Big Ten playing a MAC team. But this MAC team is really good. This is no mismatch. Corey Clements has rushed for 1,304 yards and 14 TDs for the Badgers. Dare Ogunbowale and Bradrick Shaw, from Hoover High School, are also explosive, powerful runners for Wisconsin. But I like the grit and toughness of this Western Michigan team. Quarterback Zach Terrell has completed 71% of his passes for 32 TDs against only 3 Ints. Corey Davis is one of the best wide outs in the country having caught 91 passes for 1,427 yards and 18 TDs. Jarvion Franklin has rushed for 1,300 yards and 12, 7's. This is an explosive offense.
Wisconsin is an 8 1/2 point favorite, but Western coach P.J. Fleck and his team have already beaten Northwestern and Illinois out of the Big Ten. I like Fleck and his team to make it a trifecta over the Big Ten.
Western Michigan 31, Wisconsin 30
No.5 Penn State (11-2) vs. No. 9 USC (9-3)
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA. (92,542)
4 PM CT/5 PM ET
Chris, Herbie, Sam
Refs: ACC, Duane Heydt
This should be a really good football game with two of the hottest football teams in the country heading into the Grandaddy of them all. Penn State plays pretty good offense and solid defense. USC is really good on offense and has become pretty stellar on defense. The Nittany Lions are led by quarterback Trace McSorley, who has completed 58% of his passes for 25 TDs against 5 ints. His favorite target is Chris Godwin, who caught 50 passes for 795 yards and 9 TDs in the regular season. Saquon Barkley has rushed for 1,302 yards and 16 TDs.
USC made a quarterback change the fourth game of the season when Coach Clay Helton turned the offense over to freshman Sam Darnold. And Darnold responded. Darnold completed 68% of his passes for 26 TDs against 8 ints. The Trojans went on to win 8 straight after starting 1-3. Included in that win total was a 26-13 victory over Washington at Seattle. Darnold's No.1 target is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who caught 63 passes for 781 yards and 9 TDs. Ronald Jones II is a terrific running back, having rushed for 1,027 yards and 11 TDs. Adoree Jackson posted 4 ints on defense. The USC offense and defense came alive in week 4 and never looked back. Same with Penn State. The Nittany Lions won 9 in a row after starting 2-2.
I'm expecting a good game here. I like this matchup. Should be a riveting game to watch.
USC 34, Penn State 31
No. 17 Florida (8-4) vs. Iowa (8-4)
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa (65,890)
12 PM CT/1 PM ET
Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Jerry Punch
Laundry; Big 12, Brad Van Vark
I like the Gators to take care of business in what is essentially a home game for them. The Gators get just enough offense and shut the Hawkeyes offense down on defense.
Gators 17 Iowa 7