The College Football Playoff is hours away, and like we did in our inaugural year. we’re giving you insight from our club’s contributors. Four teams earned their way to compete for a national championship. Check out what ASN’s writers have to say about the games.
LSU 45, Oklahoma 40
We’re graced with a matchup featuring two high powered offenses and two Heisman Trophy nominated quarterbacks. The clear difference between these two squads is how battle-tested LSU has been all year. We’ve seen them take on the big dogs of the SEC and finish the year without a loss. Oklahoma, however, has one loss to an unimpressive Kansas State team. There’s always a hot team that finishes strong during the CFP, and this year it’s LSU.
Clemson 38, Ohio State 35
How crazy is it that the third team in the country is undefeated and coming off a national championship? This Clemson squad may have lost a ton of defensive studs to the NFL, but like any powerhouse, they recruited well enough to replenish quickly. In 2019, their offense is more mature and ready to repeat. While Ohio State is very talented, Clemson has a slight edge.
LSU 45, Oklahoma 38
Both LSU and Oklahoma have great offenses, but they also have shaky defenses. Joe Burrow should be able to tear up the Sooners’ defense and make Hurts keep up with them. Jalen Hurts and the Sooners offense has enough firepower to keep up with LSU with the chemistry between Hurts and CeeDee Lamb. This game will be a shootout and the last shot is going to win the game.
Ohio State 35, Clemson 21
This game will be close at the start, but like most of Ohio State’s games this season, the Buckeyes will pull away and be able to chew the clock in the fourth. Ohio State has no glaring weaknesses and is the most complete team in college football. Clemson has too much to handle on both sides of the ball. Even with Trevor Lawrence and Justyn Ross on offense, they will struggle to move the ball against the Buckeye defense led by Chase Young and Jeff Okudah.
LSU 38, Oklahoma 28
Both of these teams are going to come out firing because of their big offenses. Look for both receivers Ja’Marr Chase and CeeDee Lamb to have big-time games in this one. Although the Oklahoma defense has improved vastly from previous years, Joe Burrow and the number one offense will be too much for them to handle. This game will be an outstanding quarterback duel from two of the best in the country, but LSU will hold on to advance to the National Championship.
Clemson 28, Ohio State 27
No one has been talking about Clemson all year ever since they had that close game with North Carolina, everyone seemed to write them off. Besides that game, they handily defeated all of their opponents. Trevor Lawrence had a great season and he has the experience already in a big-time game. Justin Fields was also very good this year and was a Heisman candidate, but I think Lawrence will outduel him. Clemson will have to fight hard to overcome the likes of potential top-three pick Chase Young on the defensive line and Jeff Okudah in the secondary. This will be a dog fight all the way through, but Clemson will squeak by with a close win.
LSU 41, Oklahoma 27
The first semi-final will feature two of the most high-powered offenses in all of college football. LSU’s offense is averaging 554.4 yards per game, which ranks first nationally. Oklahoma is right behind them with a mark of 554.2 in that category. Jalen Hurts is the third-consecutive transfer quarterback to lead the Sooners to the playoff. There aren’t many quarterbacks who have been better than Hurts this year, but one of them happens to be the guy on the other sideline. Joe Burrow has looked like a completely different player this year, transforming from a mediocre signal-caller to the best player in college football. Burrow completed 77.8% of his passes for 4,715 yards and 48 touchdowns this season. I think this game will be close for the first half but ultimately Burrow and the Tigers offense will be too much to handle for the Big 12 champions.
Ohio State 28, Clemson 24
This is a game I’m really excited about. Two great sophomore quarterbacks from the state of Georgia facing off in Glendale, AZ. Clemson has flown under-the-radar despite being the reigning national champions. The Tigers have no marquee wins and narrowly defeated UNC in late September 21-20. However, don’t count out the Dabo Swinney’s squad, they’re no stranger to the playoff this being their fifth-straight. Trevor Lawrence has quietly been one of the best quarterbacks in the country tossing 34 touchdown passes. All-American linebacker Isaiah Simmons is a likely top-15 NFL draft pick and will lead the Clemson defense. On the other side, the Buckeyes are making their first playoff appearance since the 2016-17 season where they were blanked by these Clemson Tigers 31-0 in the semifinal. The offense led by quarterback Justin Fields and running back J.K. Dobbins who have combined for 72 total touchdowns in 2019. Combine that with the best defensive player in college football Chase Young who recorded 16.5 sacks in just ten games. This one will be really close but the Buckeyes playmakers will do just that down the stretch and advance to their first national championship since 2015.
LSU 38, Oklahoma 27
Everyone expects this game to be a slugfest between two powerhouse offensive attacks, but I don’t see it playing out as such. Yes, 38-27 is a high-scoring affair by most standards, but I think it is relatively low considering LSU averages 46.3 points per game to Oklahoma’s 41. I think that there will be jitters between both sides to start the game as they get to know each other’s styles early on, but eventually that Sooner defense won’t be able to stifle Heisman winner Joe Burrow and the LSU offense. The final score is going to reflect a much closer game than it will be in reality. A couple of garbage time scores by Oklahoma at the end but ultimately LSU is going to run away with this game.
Ohio State 37, Clemson 45
This has the makeup to be the game of the year. Both teams are probably the most well-rounded teams in college football with no relative weaknesses. With first-round NFL draft talent littered on both sides of the ball every snap of the game, it should be a barn-burner. Now, these teams have star-studded defenses but these offenses are simply too much to handle for any defense. This game will be back and forth but ultimately I give the edge to the team with the advantage in these two areas. Those areas would be coaching and championship pedigree. I believe that Clemson has been there, done that time and time again in the college football playoff and that tiny edge makes a huge difference in what I anticipate to be a close game like this. Clemson wins, but it will not come easily by any means.
LSU 55, Oklahoma 31
This game features the two best offenses in college football to date, led by Heisman caliber QBs. I believe that both attacks will be on display early and often. Ultimately I think that the deciding factor will be that Oklahoma has not faced an offense close to this caliber to date. The Sooners have allowed 48 to Kansas State, 41 to Iowa State, there are glaring holes in that defense. LSU’s defense is not elite, but they have held their own against the most difficult conference in college football. Even when they gave up 41 to Alabama, Burrow had the Tigers in the driver’s seat from start to finish. LSU can potentially put up 50+ in a win today.
Ohio State 38, Clemson 35
Once again we have a battle of two phenomenal QBs, and I believe this will be the better of the two playoff games. Justin Fields health has been a major concern, especially after saying he is at, “80-85 percent.” However, he hasn’t missed a single rep of practice since re-aggravating his knee. Although Clemson hasn’t gotten the same respect as last year, Trevor Lawrence still leads a 13-0 team with 3,172 yards, 34 TDS and 8 INT. The Tigers are no slouch, and tonight we should be in store for an awesome matchup. However, I lean towards the Buckeyes because of their phenomenal defense. Yes, Clemson is the number one ranked defense in the nation. However, Ohio State has two potential top-5 picks in Chase Young and Jeff Okudah. They’ll be the toughest test for Clemson this season, and I think they’re the most complete team in the country. This should be an amazing game, and must watch TV.