COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEMI’S (PLAYOFF FINAL 4) ~ (SAT. 12-28)
TIME TO GET IT ON – COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF (SEMI’S) FINALLY HERE !
LSU (-13 1/2 ) vs. OKLAHOMA ~ TOTAL: (76)
CLEMSON (-2 1/2) vs. OHIO STATE ~ TOTAL: (62 1/2)
LSU OFFENSE (#2) ~ (167 RUSH, 387 PASS) vs. OKLAHOMA DEFENSE (#24) ~ (132 RUSH, 199 PASS allowed)
OKLAHOMA OFFENSE (#1) ~ (251 RUSH, 303 PASS) vs. LSU DEFENSE (#31) ~ (120 RUSH, 222 PASS allowed)
CLEMSON OFFENSE (#3) ~ (253 RUSH, 295 PASS) vs. OHIO STATE DEFENSE (#2) ~ (100 RUSH, 148 PASS allowed)
OHIO STATE OFFENSE (#5) ~ (272 RUSH, 259 PASS) vs. CLEMSON DEFENSE (#1) ~ (106 RUSH, 139 PASS allowed)
LSU: (9-3) ATS – (7 OVERS, 5 UNDERS)
OKLAHOMA: (5-8) ATS – (3 OVERS, 8 UNDERS) ~ Note: Last 4 all Unders
CLEMSON: (10-2) ATS – (5 OVERS, 7 UNDERS) ~ Note: (7-0 ATS last 7 games this season)
OHIO STATE: (10-3) ATS – (7 OVERS, 6 UNDERS)
Three Unbeaten teams that may be 3 of the best all around teams we’ve ever seen in College Football will take the field on Saturday, with one outsider that has been here before many times. LSU got the lucky draw by the Committee avoiding playing one of the two other unbeaten teams (Ohio State and Clemson). They also got a huge break when Oklahoma suspended 3 starters, including one if it’s top 2 Defensive Players. LSU does have a key injury watch, as stud RB C. Edwards-Helaire is nursing a very sore hamstring and will be a game time call. Ohio State also will wake up Saturday concerned with the knee injury it’s stud QB J. Fields is nursing. At this point every single injury to a key player is big as these teams are all absolutely loaded on both sides of the ball.
The madness will start off with a very rare #1 Offense vs. #2 Offense as Oklahoma high octane Offense will face LSU just as high octane Offense. Both average exactly 554 total yards per game and both possess talent across the board, rushing, passing and receiving. LSU has only failed to score inside the Red Zone two times this entire season. Two times! Wow this is really nearly impossible to do as many teams will miss FG’s or catch a bad break on a tip ball or fumble. Not LSU, as they have been simply too hard to stop, rushing it when needed but passing it all over the yard for an incredible 387 passing yards per game by Heisman Winner QB Joe Burrow. It’s been one of the greatest Offensive seasons ever by Burrow, as he’s completed 78% of his passes, throwing the ball to two superstar wide receivers, J. Chase (73 catches, 1489, 18 TD’s) and J. Jefferson (88 catches, 1,207, 14 TD’s). With Helaire rushing it for 1,689 and 17 TD’s, it’s pick your poison, and no matter your pick, you LOSE.
Oklahoma on Offense may be better than the past two years with Mayfield and Murray at the QB spot, as QB Hurts is 72%, 32 TD passes but also 1.255 rush yards and 18 rush TD’s. He’s got superstar weapons to throw too as well with WR Cee Dee Lamb (20.8 yards per catch), the guy I feel is the best big play (deep threat) in the country. QB’s like Fields are just impossible to stop for 4 quarters, and LSU Defense did allow Ole Miss to gain 614 total yards on them. Ole Miss is a poor mans Oklahoma, so you can fully expect Oklahoma to score there share of points in this one. They may need to with the key Sooners out on Defense, one that allowed points on all but 3 possessions inside their red zone this season.
The nightcap features another rare one as we will see two Top 5 Offenses and the top 2 Defenses in the nation. Ohio State played a tougher schedule, but Clemson, after winning by just 1 point vs. North Carolina, went on a mission to seek and destroy every opponent. They did it winning their final 8 games by at least 31 points. In fact, Clemson only allowed one team all year to hit the 20 point mark, North Carolina. Clemson allowed 8 opponents to 10 points or less. Last year I thought Clemson’s Defense was one of best all time and that unit allowed (13.1) points per game. This years Defense isn’t as loaded with big names, but all around they allowed an incredibly stingy (10.6) points per game. Wow. Clemson has won 28 straight games and is definitely not given the elite credit for this season’s club like in past. Why? I have no idea. QB T. Lawrence started a little erratic, throwing 5 Int’s the first 3 games, making some really bad reads. But then he got fully into the zone he showed us last season, and he wasn’t picked off again after October 19th. He’s also added a running dimension to his game this year, rushing for 407 yards and 7 rush TD’s. He may have the best Offensive Line in the nation. He’s also got my favorite wide receiver in the country, Tee Higgins. He has been uncoverable this season, with 1,500 pass yards and 17 TD’s (many just insane catches while covered like a blanket). Clemson is 4th best on 3rd Downs but won’t be facing weak ACC opponents, they will face an Ohio State secondary that has only allowed 7 Passing TD’s all season.
Let’s face it Ohio State can’t win without it’s star QB Fields on the field for 4 full quarters. Yes the Buckeyes came back to beat Wisky in the Big Ten Title game, but Fields was sacked 5x and rushed for a whopping 1 yard. He not only needs to play 4 quarters, but he likely needs his best 4 quarter game of his life. It’s interesting to see if Ohio State HC Day calls more running plays for it’s stud RB J.K. Dobbins, who I feel often gets left out with too many other weapons and Fields running it so much.
KEYS TO BOTH GAMES:
1). INJURIES TO STAR PLAYERS AND SUSPENDED STAR PLAYERS (who can pick up the slack the most?). I never like betting damaged goods and I don’t like where Buckeyes Fields is with his injury being one that can really hinder his talents more than any other player who comes in injured.
2). I haven’t seen one person pick Oklahoma to win this game vs. LSU straight up. They haven’t won a semifinal Playoff game in 3 tries but they definitely should not be counted out. If you score 63 times in 69 Red Zone tries, you have an Offense to keep up with anyone. What’s not talked about is Oklahoma has a better overall Defense than LSU has, albeit very slightly. I will say LSU closed the season like Clemson, playing lights out on both sides of the ball. LSU shut down Texas A+M and Georgia in it’s final 2 games, playing inspired on every single play. Usually super teams take some plays off, but LSU didn’t the final 2 games on either side of the ball. Ohio State Defense got exposed a bit vs. Michigan and Wisconsin in it’s final 2 games and will need to play so much better vs. Clemson as the Tigers Offense is simply as loaded across the board and they seem like they are on a mission like I’ve never seen a team be that just won the National Title last season. I just love RB T. Etienne and feel he is the X factor. If the Buckeyes don’t slow him down, they have ZERO chance to win.
3). CLEMSON beat Ohio State in the Semi’s in 2016 (31-0). If Fields his healthy, no way they win big as Fields has thrown 1 interception all season. ONE. Insane.
4). OHIO STATE: Over rated? Well they did pad some nice stats facing 5 Offenses ranked over #100 and Cinci at #86 and Michigan at #69 isn’t really beating down much. Their Defense allowed 20 points or more four times. Late in season Michigan and Wisconsin moved the ball pretty easily. Banged up QB and a Defense that played really nobody all season is a tough call to make a wager on them.
Rarely will we ever get to watch the #1, 2, 3 and 5 Offenses facing off in a Semifinal Round of the CFB Playoff. Then also seeing the #1 vs. #2 Defenses facing off as well. All 4 teams are well deserving of being here and I’d be shocked if any of the 4 lays a huge egg. None of these 4 has faced an Offense like they will face and so that means the teams that play the Best Defense, and it doesn’t mean they must pitch a Shutout, will win these two games. Just get your popcorn ready and enjoy something we may never see again. This is two Heavyweight fights and if Oklahoma can fill in for some key missing Defensive studs, this can be two really exciting games to see who plays for the National Title.
Enjoy both games and have a WINNING weekend ahead.
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