College Football Playoff Preview

It’s finally here: the inaugural College Football Playoff. By now we all know who is playing in each game, but let’s take a closer look at each game and get to know the contenders.

The College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl

2 Oregon Ducks vs 3 Florida State Seminoles

January 1, 2015 at 5:30 PM

Florida State hasn’t lost a game since Manti Te’o had a girlfriend. Oregon is riding an 8 game win streak after dropping an early season game to Arizona (who they then demoralized in the Pac 12 Championship Game). Both quarterbacks have Heisman Trophies. It’s the oh-so controversial Jameis Winston versus the quiet and reserved Marcus Mariota. By all imaginations, this would be a great National Championship matchup. Let’s take a look at some numbers.


According to, Oregon is one of the top offensive teams in the nation. They rank 3rd in points for, 11th in passing yards per game, and 22nd in rushing yards per game. The high octane attack the Ducks run will be something that Florida State has not seen all season, and this offense will far and away be the biggest challenge that the Seminoles have faced. We all know the big name for the Ducks, Mariota, but there are plenty of playmakers around him who make this offense click. WR Darren Carrington, WR Bryan Marshall, and RB Royce Freeman all will have their numbers called against Florida State.

This offense will have no problem scoring points, as they averaged 46.3 points per game. The question will be about the defense. They gave up more than 20 points just twice in their last 6 games and have been improving as the season went on. That being said, they are 49th in rush defense (according to, and 82nd in Total Defense (also according to Oregon also lost All American Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, their best cornerback, who will be replaced with a redshirt freshman. Expect the Seminoles to attack the redshirt freshman Chris Seisay. He is going to have a lot on his shoulders in his first start. However, Oregon is 3rd in turnover margin at +17, Mainly due to having only 8 turnovers all season, the fewest in the country. Oregon takes care of the ball well on offense, and Florida State will not have many opportunities to create turnovers should they fall behind early.

Florida State

After going 13-0 for the second consecutive season, the Florida State Seminoles seems to lack the national respect they probably deserve. As much as people malign them for the close games against weak competition, they never lost, which is something no other team in the Playoff can say.

Offensively, the team isn’t real flashy. 29th in points for, 14th in passing yards. The glaring stat is that they are 104th in rushing yards per game; their leading rusher has 905 yards on the season. They also have 27 turnovers, with 19 of those being interceptions. Yet as uninspiring as those numbers are, the Seminoles are 13-0. Jameis is the big name on this team, but some names to watch are RB Dalvin Cook, WR Rashad Greene, TE Nick O’Leary, and K Roberto Aguayo. Yes, the kicker. Aguayo, a sophomore, is 100% on extra points for the season, and has only missed three FGs in his entire career: he’s 46/49. If it comes down to a kick, FSU definitely has the advantage.


If Florida State follows the trend of falling behind early, then they may not be able to dig out of this hole. The Oregon offense is too powerful and protects the ball better than anyone in the country, so relying on timely turnovers won’t be a viable strategy. Florida State is going to have to match Oregon punch for punch, which they have proven they can do against Georgia Tech. I expect Jameis to throw at least one interception, probably a bad one at that, but he will have to play like his Heisman campaign for FSU to have a shot. Expect him to put the ball in the air often, as calling their run game effective would be a stretch. However, Florida State does have the big men in the trenches that has always seemed to give Oregon problems, so the battle of the lines will be key.

Final: Oregon 38 Florida State 34


The College Football Playoff at the Sugar Bowl

1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs 4 Ohio State Buckeyes

January 1, 2015 at 8:00 PM

The final game of the “36 hour football bonanza” will be for the final spot in the National Championship Game. The perennial contenders, Alabama, versus the surprise Ohio State Buckeyes. The vaunted SEC versus the lowly Big Ten. No contest, most people say. Well, the numbers say a little different.

Alabama Crimson Tide

The 2014 Alabama Crimson Tide avenged last year’s miracle of the Kick Six by dropping 55 points on Auburn to cap a one-loss regular season. They hung 42 points on Missouri in the SEC Title Game. Before Auburn, the Tide ripped Western Carolina for 48 points. The offense has been at a high level the last three weeks of the season, mainly thanks to WR Amari Cooper. On the season, the Alabama offense ranks 16th in points for, 34th in rushing per game, and 22nd in passing per game. Offensively, QB Blake Sims can be very Jekyll and Hyde. He especially struggles away from Bryant-Denny Stadium, though he had a terrible first half against Auburn there in the Iron Bowl. He has enough athleticism to escape pressure, but sometimes makes poor decisions throwing the football. However, if Amari is left in one-on-one coverage, expect Sims to find him, likely for a touchdown. Even if Amari is kept in check, the Alabama run game led by TJ Yeldon will punish you in attempt to open up room in the passing game.

Their reputation comes heavily from their defense. The Alabama defense ranks 4th in points against, at 16.8. They gave up more than 23 points just once. Auburn scored 44 points on over 600 yards of offense. Auburn, the only true spread team on the Alabama schedule, torched the Alabama secondary for over 450 yards. Alabama is 57th in the country in passing yards allowed per game. This is their weakness on defense.

Ohio State Buckeyes

If you read this blog regularly, then you’re likely very familiar with the Ohio State football season thus far. After losing Heisman Trophy contender Braxton Miller before the season even started, and losing a game early at home to Virginia Tech, many assumed the Buckeyes (and the Big Ten) had lost all hopes for a playoff team. The Buckeyes ran through the rest of their schedule, picking up 11 wins in a row. Even after losing another Heisman contender in Joe Thomas Barrett IV (or, more commonly known as JT Barrett), the Buckeyes dismantled a very good Wisconsin team in the B1G Championship Game with Cardale Jones.

Going into this game, the Buckeyes are known for their offense, especially their running game, as they average 260 yards per game, good for 11th in the nation, at a clip of 45 points per game, good for 5th in the country. However, the Buckeye defense has experienced a 180 revolution from last year. The “Silver Bullets” may finally be returning in Columbus, as the Buckeyes give up just 21 points per game, and the much maligned pass defense has found its way to 15th best in the country. The Buckeyes are also a very opportunistic defense, producing 29 turnovers, 21 of which are interceptions (4th most in the country). However, the defensive line is still the bread and butter of the defense, with 40 sacks on the season (10th in the nation) and 100 tackles for loss (7th in the nation). Expect the defensive line to be in the Alabama backfield, hoping to at least disrupt Blake Sims. However, Sims does have some escapability, which has been a bit of a problem for the Buckeyes, especially against Michigan when Devin Gardner managed to turn sure sacks into positive gains. The Buckeye defense will have to keep contain on Sims. Amari Cooper will also be a problem. Expect to see senior Doran Grant on Cooper, with a safety over the top. To leave Cooper in one-one-one coverage is a mistake, and will likely end with him in the end zone and 6 points for the boys from Tuscaloosa.

On offense, the Buckeyes will have no problem scoring and moving the ball on the Alabama defense. The Buckeyes run a very similar offense to Auburn, who torched Alabama for over 600 yards. Getting playmakers like Jalin Marshall or Dontre Wilson (who may play) into space will open up the middle for the run game of Ezekiel Elliott. The big question mark remains Cardale Jones. He looked great in his first career start, winning MVP of the B1G Championship Game. However, against a defense that has three weeks to prepare against him, it remains to be seen if his confidence gained from Indy will carry over.


I hate predicting games involving Ohio State and having to be objective. Though, given that this is an Ohio State centric website, I suppose showing favor isn’t a sin. This one is going to be a shootout, despite both defenses being pretty strong. Saban and Meyer with three weeks to prepare for each other? I’ll take my chances with Urban this time.

Final: Ohio State 31 Alabama 30



*All stats courtesy of and

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