#2 Florida vs. #7 Penn State
#3 Texas vs. #6 Utah
REMEMBER TO VOTE IN THE SIDE BAR FOR WHO YOU THINK ADVANCES!!!!!
After two weeks and a whopping 11 votes by the same five or six people, IHS College Football playoff rolls into the semifinals. In the penultimate round, top-ranked Oklahoma takes on Southern Cal, while the Gators of Florida battle the Longhorns of Texas in the other contest.
Even though I believe Alabama would have just enough to edge USC in the quarters, “America” thought otherwise and put the Trojans ahead to round two. All of the other semifinalists were unanimous winners in the minds of the pollsters.
(Note: If you are new to this sports blog, please read here, here, here, or here to better understand the system and past results.)
#1 Oklahoma (13-1) vs. #5 USC (12-1)
At Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, AZ
Two teams that squared off in the 2005 National Championship game in Miami, the Sooners and Trojans meet again in the first semifinal. For the Sooners, it will be a hefty challenge to continue to put up silly offensive numbers against what is one of the best defenses in the last 20 years of college football. Then again, with Oklahoma scoring 60+ points in five consecutive games coming into the tournament, maybe the challenge will be tougher for the Trojans.
The Trojans had their undefeated campaign derailed once again due to an early season upset at the hands of a Pac-10 foe or they could have easily been seeded number one in the tournament. Needless to say, Southern Cal’s success begins and ends with their defense. Even though they lost defensive tackle Cedric Ellis and linebacker Keith Rivers to the NFL following last season’s impressive defensive performance, Pete Carroll’s “D” unit is still shutting offenses down at a surreal pace. The Trojans have allowed just 7.8 points and 206.1 yards per game and 11 total touchdowns during the 2008 season. Maybe the most impressive statistic, however, is the measly 3.38 yards per play that USC has allowed to its opponents. All of the aforementioned defensive stats are top in Division I-A.
For the Sooners to be successful, they will have to turn this game into a track meet. They rank third in the country in total yards per game at 562.1 and are the best in scoring O with 54 points a contest. I suspect the Bob Stoops and his offensive coordinators, Kevin Wilson and Jay Norvell will run multiple personel packages and formations to try and confuse the Trojans D. Also, a change of pace with between no-huddle (the Sooners primary tempo) and huddle will also help to get USC off balance. In the end, if the Sooners cannot eclipse at least half of their average offensive outputs (281 yards and 27 points), I do not see them advancing to the National Championship.
I know I did not have USC defeating Alabama in the last round. But I truly thought whoever won that game would have the inside track to the national title game because of their respective defenses. After all, offense sells tickets, defense wins championships. Trojans get it done.
Trojans 24 Sooners 20
#2 Florida (13-1) vs. #3 Texas (12-1)
At Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
The Gators and Longhorns will do battle at the Granddaddy of them all, in what could have been a BCS national championship preview if Texas had not been bypassed by Oklahoma. On paper, this game should be a track meet, as both teams have offenses that rank in the top five in the country in scoring average at over 43 points a game. Both teams also possess veteran quarterbacks, who are capable of leading their teams in clutch situations. Finally, both teams have experienced and innovative coaching staffs whose leaders have won two of the last three national titles. This Rose Bowl has a chance to be a historic contest, which will be decided in the waning seconds, but in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend.”
The striking difference between these two schools is the defensive performance of each team. The Gators rank ninth in total defense and fifth in scoring defense, while the Longhorns are 50th and 20th in those categories. Both teams played in a great conference, but obviously the Big 12 is known for its offenses and the SEC is known for its defenses. I’ll take the top teams of the SEC (Bama, Florida) over the top teams of the Big 12 (OU, Texas) solely for this reason.
For a team that a friend and rabid Texas fan classified as “8-4, 9-3 at best”, prior to the season’s start, I do not think this team will hang with the Gators for all four quarters. The only way I see Texas winning this game is with a multiple turnover and mistake prone game from Tim Tebow and the rest of the Gator offense. They would have to play at least two quarters like they did against Ole Miss to falter against the Longhorns.
Gators 35 Longhorns 22