College Football Playoffs on Sling: Washington vs Alabama, Ohio State faces Clemson, Winners to Meet in Title Game

Dec 26, 2016 by Sling Staff

This week presents a veritable orgy of college football bowl games, as Sling brings you 23 showdowns in the span of 6 days, culminating in the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl, aka the College Football Playoffs, pitting the top 4 teams in the land against one another, as they compete for a spot in the National Championship Game.

#4 Washington (12-1) vs #1 Alabama (13-0)
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, College Football Playoff Semifinal
3pm ET Saturday on ESPN

There’ve been doubts all season long about the Washington Huskies, as many have raised questions about their schedule, the strength of the Pac-12 in general, and their loss to then unranked USC, which certainly didn’t help. But USC has since emerged as the #9 team in the country, and Washington has won 3 in a row, including a decisive 41-10 victory over then #9 Colorado in the Pac-12 title game. The Huskies gained 265 yards on the ground, with Myles Gaskin rushing for 159 on 29 carries, and Lavon Coleman racking up 101 on 18 carries, while the Huskies’ defense was on point, holding the Buffalos to 163 total yards, intercepting them 3 times – once for a pick 6 – and forcing 3 fumbles. But Washington QB Jake Browning, who finished 6th in this year’s Heisman voting, had a terrible day, managing to connect on just 9 of 24 for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. A day like that against the Tide would mean disaster.

The Alabama Crimson Tide were the top-ranked team in the pre-season, and have remained #1 throughout. All but one of their victories have been by at least 10 points. They have outscored their 8 nationally ranked opponents by an average of 24.3 ppg. Their 40.5 ppg is 13th in the nation, and their 11.8 points allowed is the lowest in the country. Their defense scored 10 touchdowns, 5 on interceptions and 5 on fumble returns, 3 more than any other team in the country. They allowed the fewest trips into the red zone of any defense in the country, and just 3.45 points per red zone possession, 5th-lowest in the country. They recorded 45 sacks, 4th-most in the country, led by Jonathan Allen, who had 8, and finished 7th in the Heisman balloting. Quarterback Jalen Hurts can play a little bit, completing 65% of his passes for 2,563 yards and 21 touchdowns, while rushing 162 times for 841 yards and 12 TDs. The Crimson Tide are a monster sent from beyond the stars to eat galaxies whole.

#3 Ohio State (11-1) vs #2 Clemson (12-1)
Playstation Fiesta Bowl, College Football Playoff Semifinal
7pm ET Saturday on ESPN

The Ohio State Buckeyes’ playoff hopes came down to the final game of the regular season, against their arch nemesis, the Michigan Wolverines, in a winner-take-all double-overtime affair that will go down in the annals of College Football lore. The Buckeyes kicked field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 17-17, went ahead 24-17 on a 7-yard TD run from JT Barrett in the first OT, only to allow Michigan to tie, and then again fell behind, needing a 15-yard TD run from Curtis Samuel to win it 30-27. The Buckeyes were 7th in scoring at 42.7, and 3rd in points allowed at 14.2, and their only loss of the season came against #5 ranked Penn State, who needed a 60-yard TD return of a blocked field goal with 4:27 to play for the W. In addition to passing for 2,428 yards and 24 touchdowns, Barrett also ran for 847 yards and 9 TDs, Mike Weber, the Buckeyes featured back, collected 1,072 yards and 9 TDs on 177 carries, and Curtis Samuel was a double threat, gaining 704 yards and 8 TDs on the ground, and 822 yards and 7 TDs through the air.

A year after finishing 3rd in the Heisman voting, Deshaun Watson finished 2nd this year, on the strength of nearly identical numbers: 3,914 yards, 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. But take a closer look at Clemson’s schedule and one can’t but wonder if maybe their a little out of their depth here. In 10 games against unranked opponents, the Tigers won by an average of 40-13; against their 3 ranked opponents, they won by an average of just 40-35, never winning by more than 7 – is this really one of the four best teams in the country? Against ranked opponents, Watson completed 65% of his passes for an average of 324 yards per game, but he had 10 touchdowns versus 6 interceptions, so how’s he gonna do against a defense as bruising as the Ohio State, which had 19 INTs this season?

Monday, December 26

Miami of Ohio (6-6) vs Mississippi (5-7)
St. Petersburg Bowl
11am ET on ESPN

Maryland (6-6) vs Boston College (6-6)
Quick Lane Bowl
2:30pm ET on ESPN

NC State (6-6) vs Vanderbilt (6-6)
Camping World Independence Bowl
5pm ET on ESPN2

Tuesday, December 27

Army (7-5) vs North Texas (5-7)
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
Noon ET on ESPN

#24 Temple (10-3) vs Wake Forest (6-6)
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman 3:30pm ET on ESPN

Minnesota (8-4) vs Washington State (8-4)
National Funding Holiday Bowl
7pm ET on ESPN

Boise State (10-2) vs Baylor (6-6)
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
10:15pm ET on ESPN

Wednesday, December 28

#23 Pittsburgh (8-4) vs Northwestern (6-6)
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
2pm ET on ESPN

#16 West Virginia (10-2) vs Miami (8-4)
Russell Athletic Bowl
5:30pm ET on ESPN

Indiana (6-6) vs #19 Utah (8-4)
Foster Farms Bowl
8:30pm ET on FOX

Texas A&M (8-4) vs Kansas State (8-4)
Advocare V100 Texas Bowl
9pm ET on ESPN

Thursday, December 29

South Florida (10-2) vs South Carolina (6-6)
Birmingham Bowl
2pm ET on ESPN

Arkansas (7-5) vs #22 Virginia Tech (9-4)
Belk Bowl
5:30pm ET on ESPN

#12 Oklahoma State (9-3) vs #10 Colorado (10-3)
Valero Alamo Bowl
9pm ET on ESPN

Friday, December 30

Georgia (7-5) vs TCU (6-6)
Autozone Liberty Bowl
Noon ET on ESPN

Nebraska (9-3) vs #21 Tennessee (8-4)
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
3:30pm ET on ESPN

#6 Michigan (10-2) vs #11 Florida State (9-3)
Capital One Orange Bowl
8pm ET on ESPN

Saturday, December 31

#20 LSU (7-4) vs #13 Louisville (9-3)
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
11am ET on ABC and ESPN3

Georgia Tech (8-4) vs Kentucky (7-5)
Taxslayer Bowl
11am ET on ESPN

#4 Washington (12-1) vs #1 Alabama (13-0)
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, College Football Playoff Semifinal
3pm ET on ESPN

#3 Ohio State (11-1) vs #2 Clemson (12-1)
Playstation Fiesta Bowl, College Football Playoff Semifinal
7pm ET on ESPN

*Watch college football on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 by subscribing to Sling Orange, on ABC by subscribing to Sling Orange + Broadcast Extra, or on FOX by subscribing to Sling Blue

All stats courtesy ESPN and SRCFB.

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