I’m starting this blog post super early, today is December 11, but you won’t see it until either December 18th or 25th. I want to pick apart each team as much as I can and pick the playoff winners, then the final champion. It’s a difficult year, in my opinion, because all of the teams have a lot of the same strengths. Let’s break it down…
December 18th, 2019
(4) Oklahoma vs (1) LSU in Atlanta, GA at 4PM EST
(3) Clemson vs (2) Ohio State in Glendale, AZ at 8PM EST
#1 Clemson – approx 2000 miles
#2 Ohio State – approx 1800 miles
#3 Oklahoma – approx 800 miles
#4 LSU – approx 500 miles
Clemson and Ohio State each have the furthest to travel. They are also playing the late game in a later timezone. This is a disadvantage for both, so you would think that would cancel out. I feel Dabo has been very good at preparing his teams for these games and he has had the most experience of this field. LSU and Oklahoma both have the shorter distances and are playing early in the earlier timezone. I don’t see this as an advantage or disadvantage for either team.
#16 Oklahoma vs #2 LSU
#20 Clemson vs #41 Ohio State
#12 Oklahoma vs #62 LSU
#10 Clemson vs #5 Ohio State
#30 Oklahoma vs #37 LSU
#22 Clemson vs #3 Ohio State
#39 Oklahoma vs #77 LSU
#5 Clemson vs #94 Ohio State
#24 Oklahoma vs #34 LSU
#1 Clemson vs #2 Ohio State
#2 Oklahoma vs #1 LSU
#3 Clemson vs #5 Ohio State
#110 Oklahoma vs #16 LSU
#5 Clemson vs #10 Ohio State
Fewest Penalties Per Game
#109 Oklahoma vs #61 LSU
#39 Clemson vs #47 Ohio State
First Downs Allowed Defense
#60 Oklahoma vs #55 LSU
#1 Clemson vs #9 Ohio State
First Downs Offense
#6 Oklahoma vs #2 LSU
#3 Clemson vs #1 Ohio State
LSU – #3 – 621 PF / 47.8 PG, #27 – 275 PA / 21.20 PG
Ohio State – #1 – 633 PF / 48.7 PG, #3 – 163 PA / 12.50 PG
Clemson – #4 – 605 PF / 46.5 PG, #1 – 138 PA / 10.60 PG
Oklahoma – #5 – 562 PF / 43.2 PG, #50 – 319 PA / 24.50
#4 Oklahoma vs #1 LSU
While all 4 playoff teams this year have elite offenses, these statistically are the top 2. LSU actually has the lowest ranked defense in this playoff field, but Oklahoma isn’t a lot better, statistically, in that respect. Even though this is #4 vs #1, on paper this looks like it could be the closer game. With offenses as high-powered as these, mistakes will make the difference.
As an Alabama fan, I really want Jalen Hurts to get back to a NCG. He deserves to win one. He has more fans than anyone else in college football, for a good reason. Unfortunately, Joe Burrow has a say in this too and he has had a brilliant season. LSU’s rushing offense has become more powerful toward the end of the season, which may be a bad thing for Oklahoma. My only dog in this fight is Jalen, but I’m afraid the SEC Champ gets to play one more game.
LSU 42 – Oklahoma 24
#3 Clemson vs #2 Ohio State
Statistically, these two terms look like #1 and #2. The problem is, I don’t know which is which. Clemson has looked impressive, but only played 2 ranked opponents, while outscoring them 86-27. They also edged past UNC by a point, but have dominated since. Ohio State’s closest game was an 11 point victory over then #8 PSU. OSU has otherwise been dominant and statistically well-deserving of its #2 ranking in CFP Rankings.
In the end, I think Clemson is the most complete team in the country and Ohio State is a year away from going all the way.
Clemson 31 – Ohio State 21
College Football National Championship Game
#3 Clemson vs #1 LSU January 13, 2019 in New Orleans, LA at 8PM EST
I’ve been waiting for this game all year. I wish Alabama could be there, but you can’t get there every year. Not even Alabama can do that. Clemson, on the other hand, has somehow escaped the hatred of being one the top teams year after year. I hate LSU and I can’t hate Clemson, no matter how hard I try. Putting those feeling aside isn’t easy. The one thing that continues to bother me is how close Alabama came to beating LSU with a Tua that wasn’t close to 100%. Unfortunately, rivalry games are not good scales for judging.
While the numbers don’t necessarily back it up, LSU has seemed like the most complete team in the nation. I don’t know if it’s just the buzz or the staggering offense, but this has been their year. Clemson, meanwhile, seems to just be Clemson, except maybe even better than last year. This is a tough one to call, if it even happens. Who knows, I could have written this for nothing! We’ll find out on December 28, 2019. What? You were expecting me to pick a winner already? 😉