Final Four enter college playoffs

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Final Four enter college playoffs

The College Football Playoff Quarterbacks Photo Courtesy: Rivals.com

The College Football Playoff Quarterbacks Photo Courtesy: Rivals.com

The College Football Playoff Quarterbacks Photo Courtesy: Rivals.com

The College Football Playoff Quarterbacks Photo Courtesy: Rivals.com

Joe Heisler, Features Editor

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In the fifth year of the College Football Playoff, the games look as entertaining as ever. With traditional powerhouses playing, Alabama vs Oklahoma and Clemson vs Notre Dame, this year’s playoffs may prove to be one of the best.
Of the four teams in the playoff, the combined record of the team’s are 30-1, with the one loss being Oklahoma’s three point loss to Texas in October. The average point differential of these four teams is 24.8. That is the largest of any playoff thus far, showing the dominance these 4 teams have played with this season.
Oklahoma, as previously stated, is the only team to have suffered a lost this season, giving them the four seed. They avenged their lone loss on December 6th when they beat Texas 37-29 in the Big 12 Championship. When Oklahoma takes the field, it is an offensive explosion, being first in the nation in points and yards per game, fifth in passing, and eighth in rushing. This has been led by Heisman winning quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray has 4,053 passing yards, 40 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions to go along with 852 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Despite having one of the best offenses in the nation, their defense is nowhere near as good. The defense has allowed the seventh most yards in the nation, has had the worst pass defense, and is thirty-fifth in points allowed per game, all of which are by far the worst in the playoff field. Oklahoma also has victories against top 25 teams Iowa State and West Virginia.
Notre Dame has a much more balanced team than Oklahoma, giving them the 3 seed. Notre Dame is thirteenth in total offense, but is also nineteenth in total defense. Whereas Oklahoma is all one side, Notre Dame can get it done on both sides of the field. Notre Dame is also ninth in points allowed per game and is offensively thirty-fourth in points per game. Ian Book took over the starting quarterback position the fourth game of the season due to struggles from then starter Brandon Wimbush and has not disappointed. Book has 2,468 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. While the numbers aren’t as flashy as other big time quarterbacks, Book has done enough to lead his team to the playoff. Notre Dame has multiple top 25 wins against Northwestern, Syracuse, and seventh ranked Michigan.
While Notre Dame is a newcomer to the playoff field, Clemson is no stranger, proving for an interesting matchup. Clemson has made the field the past 4 years, winning it all in 2016. Clemson is the first in total offense and fifth in points per game, putting up a well balanced offensive attack. However, defense is their overall strength, allowing a mere 13.7 points per game, the ninth fewest total yards, and the fifth fewest rushing yards. Unlike most other teams, Clemson is not headlined by their quarterback. They are headlined by their daunting defensive front, with four of their players projected to be NFL first round draft picks. They have combined for a total of 23 sacks and 48 tackles for loss. The only issue for Clemson is who they’ve played. Out of the playoff teams, Clemson played the least amount of the top twenty-five teams with just two, Texas A&M and Syracuse. Of those games, the margin of victory was a mere six points, leaving many people to wonder whether Clemson is truly battle tested for the playoffs.
The number one seed for the playoff is none other than the Alabama Crimson Tide. With a National Championship winning quarterback as their backup, they must know they’re doing something right. Alabama has the fifth best total offense and are averaging 47.9 points per game, while on defense they are fourth best in total and are only allowing 14.8 points per game, giving them the largest margin of victory in the country. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa headlines this, with 3,353 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. These stats were recorded without playing most 4th quarters because Alabama was winning by so much. Alabama also has multiple top twenty-five wins including Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Missouri, and LSU. Alabama also has the most impressive win of any playoff team, beating number 5 Georgia by a touchdown.
All in all, this playoff should prove to be legendary. Whether it’s multiple close games or one team proving to their nation they are the best, we should be in for a treat.

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