College Football Playoffs On ESPN UPSTATE

How They Got Here

December 12, 2018 - 1:33 pm

Alabama, Clemson, and everyone else…right?

That is what we were led to believe at the start of this season, but despite Alabama and Clemson still being undefeated and atop of the rankings, things are anything but predictable.

Let’s start with the #1 versus #4 matchup between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Oklahoma Sooners, down in Miami for the Orange Bowl.

Alabama has been the number one team in college football since their walk off touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs in last year’s National Championship game, and they’ve played like it in 2018.

Nobody came within 22 points of beating the Crimson Tide in the regular season. Saying that they dominated their regular season opponents is an understatement. The tide ROLLED. But their recent showdown in Atlanta for the SEC Championship was different than the types of games Alabama had grown used to.

Georgia showed up and gave Alabama their best shot, leading almost the entire game. Then Alabama’s star QB, and Heisman Trophy runner-up, Tua Tagovailoa, went down with an injury giving way for Alabama’s back-up QB, Jalen Hurts, to lead his team to a come from behind win over Georgia 35-28.

Alabama’s win over the Bulldogs clinched the Crimson Tide their 27th SEC title and their 5th straight playoff appearance.

Georgia perhaps provided future teams an effective game plan for beating Alabama. That, combined with the possible lingering injury to Tagovailoa, could spell trouble for the Crimson Tide against the Oklahoma Sooners.

The Sooners, led by Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, have been nothing short of entertaining to watch this season. Their high powered offense haven’t struggled to score on anyone this year.

Oklahoma’s only loss of the season, which they later avenged in the BIG 12 title game, was against the Texas Longhorns, their archrival.

Alabama should have no trouble scoring points on the Sooner’s weak defense, but the Sooner should be able to return the favor with their high powered offense. Expect a possible shootout in Miami, and don’t forget you can catch that game right here on ESPN Upstate on the 29th of December.

The #2 versus #3 matchup in Dallas, for the Cotton Bowl, features two unbeaten teams, the Clemson Tigers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Clemson started their season with a couple of close calls and a quarterback controversy.

The Tigers nearly lost their season opener on the road at Texas A&M. It wasn’t long after that when their starting QB at the time, Kelly Bryant, announced he would be transferring out of Clemson.

The announcement came after Bryant spent the first few weeks of the season splitting snaps with current starter Trevor Lawrence.

The week following Bryant’s transfer, Clemson went down to the wire with Syracuse, but escaped with a win. Since then, the Tigers have done nothing but dominate on both sides of the football against a slew of ACC opponents.

All their success and hard work eventually led to an historic 4th straight ACC Championship, and yet another playoff appearance.

Love them or hate them, there is no shying away from the fact that Clemson just might be the most complete team in this year’s playoffs.

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, led by coach of the year, Brian Kelly, look to continue their undefeated season against the Clemson Tigers.

The Fighting Irish got their staple win early in the season when they took down the Michigan Wolverines back in week 1.

They would go on to struggle against Ball State and Vanderbilt the following 2 weeks, before naming Ian Book as the starting QB. Since Book took over it has been smooth sailing for Notre Dame.

Many say Notre Dame’s resume doesn’t stack up well against the other three playoff teams, but wins over Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Northwestern, and Syracuse tell a different story. And besides, going undefeated  is no small accomplishment in college football.

These two unbeaten teams will be the first playoff game on the 29th of December, and you can also catch that one right here on ESPN Upstate.

ESPN Upstate’s exclusive coverage of the College Football Playoffs will begin at 3pm on December 29th.

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