College Football Playoff Semifinals Set For Today
The 2016 College Football Playoffs are scheduled for today, with four teams still vying for college football's national championship.
The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the fourth-ranked Washington Huskies in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at 2 pm, followed by the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at 6 pm, featuring the second-ranked Clemson Tigers and the third-ranked Ohio St. Buckeyes.
Both games will be televised on ESPN.
All four teams own national championships, with Alabama winning four of the last seven, while Ohio St. won the inaugural College Football Playoff back in 2014, with Washington winning their last 25 years ago, and Clemson capturing their last one 35 years ago.
Clemson and Ohio State will be playing for the second time in the past four seasons in the postseason, with Clemson rallying for a 40-35 win in the Orange Bowl win in 2013.
The Fiesta Bowl promises to showcase two elite quarterbacks.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has accounted for 43 touchdowns this season and gave Alabama's vaunted defense fits in the national championship game a year ago with his ability to run and pass.
Meanwhile Ohio State's J.T. Barrett has passed for 2,428 yards and 24 touchdowns, while rushing for another 847 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Buckeyes have intercepted 19 passes this season, tied for third most in the country, and their ability to create turnovers could be the difference in the game.
Ohio St. has been outstanding, defensively, all season, ranking third nationally in scoring defense (14.2 points per game) while allowing more than 24 points only once.
Clemson's defense, meanwhile, has been hard to figure out.
The Tigers are tied for second nationally with 112 tackles for loss, but have allowed at least 34 points three times in their last six games.
As for the Peach Bowl, Alabama is the heavy favorite.
The Crimson Tide have been dominant all season and dismantled Florida 54-16 in the SEC championship game, their 15th straight win over a nationally ranked team. They get the No. 4 Huskies in Atlanta, too, which should be a huge advantage for the Tide. It's an easy trip, and they're more than a little familiar with the Georgia Dome.
Washington has to make sure they don't help out Alabama, as if they need to! The Crimson Tide have scored 14 non-offensive touchdowns this season and have allowed fewer than 20 points in 11 of their 13 games.
Alabama is led by quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has thrown for 2,592 yards and 22 touchdowns, while rushing for another 841 yards and 12 scores.
Washington is paced by quarterback Jake Browning, who has thrown for 3,280 yards and 42 touchdowns, along with running back Myles Gaskin, who has rushed for 1,339 yards and 10 TD's.
The two winners advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, scheduled for Monday, January 9 in Tampa, Florida