by Andrew Pasquini – Sports 1140 KHTK
The College Football Playoff features some familiar faces and one new face. The four teams enter the playoff with a combined 50-1 record, the best combined record in the five-year history of the tournament. It is also the first time there are three undefeated teams in the field of four.
Here’s a quick look at the two semifinal games:
Note: both games are on ESPN
Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Clemson (13-0) vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (12-0), 1pm
It’s a battle of two undefeated teams but two teams who have two different histories in the College Football Playoff. Clemson will be making their fourth consecutive College Football Playoff appearance where Notre Dame will be making their first ever appearance.
Clemson is 3-2 in the playoff with a 2016 National Championship to their name. Clemson has been dominate this year, averaging 45.4 points per game while allowing just 13.7. This may be the best Clemson team head coach Dabo Swinney has had led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Notre Dame is coming off their first undefeated regular season since 2012 where they lost to Alabama in the National Championship game 42-14. The Fighting Irish are coming off a dominant season but not one as dominant as Clemson. Notre Dame is averaging 33.8 points per game and allowing 17.3
Orange Bowl: No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1), 5pm
The top two Hesiman vote-getters in Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa take on one another as the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners.
Tagovailoa has led Alabama to a perfect 13-0 record and has dominated this season. The runner-up to the Heisman Trophy has thrown for 37 touchdowns and 3,353 yards while leading Alabama to 47.9 points per game. The defense is what makes Alabama as great as they are, allowing only 14.8 points per game.
As good as Tua has been, Kyler Murray has been better. Murray has 40 touchdown passes for 4,053 yards but hasn’t had the advantage of defense like Tagovailoa has. The Oklahoma defense has struggled allowing 32.4 points per game. In order for the Sooners to have a chance on Saturday, their defense will need to be more of an SEC defense than just a Big 12 defense.