Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sports: College Football Playoffs

The last games of college football are underway as the bowl games have finished and the only thing left to be decided is the National Champion. There are plenty of returning teams along with a new team in the hunt for the final win. The bowl games have been surprising enough so I'm sure the playoffs will have plenty of excitement. The winners go on to face each other in Atlanta next week. I'll also take a quick few sentences to talk about 

Rose Bowl: 3Georgia vs 2Oklahoma
The SEC Champions take on the Big 12 Champions in a shootout for the second place spot. Oklahoma struck first with Baker Mayfield and company driving down the field. The teams exchanged touchdowns until Oklahoma pulled ahead. Huge runs kept Georgia in the game but a trick play put Oklahoma up 31-17 at halftime. 
Georgia mounted a comeback in the third quarter scoring two touchdowns on big runs. An interception put the Bulldogs in perfect position to take the lead. Oklahoma managed to respond to tie the game at 38 points. Georgia fumbled on the following drive and the recovery was returned for a go-ahead touchdown. Georgia managed to tie the game up in the last minute of the fourth quarter at 45 points to push the game into overtime. 
Georgia had the ball first and only managed a field goal but their defense held strong and kept Oklahoma to a field goal as well. Oklahoma had possession next and missed their field goal opportunity. Georgia ran the ball in for a touchdown and the victory, a chance to win it all in the National Championship.
Sugar Bowl: 4Alabama vs 1Clemson
A rematch of last year's National Championship pits the reigning champ and leader of the ACC versus the SEC team that was allowed in after losing an important game earlier to miss their conference championship. 
Alabama struck first with a field goal and touchdown in the first quarter to take a ten point lead. The Tigers were only able to respond with a field goal in the second quarter. 
Clemson got another field goal to start the third but the Crimson Tide scored two more touchdowns and rode that lead to a victory 24-6.
Peach Bowl: 12UCF Knights vs 7Auburn Tigers
The undefeated Knights faceoff against the SEC team that managed to beat both the National Championship contenders. It looked like the Tigers were highly favored but they had weaknesses and fell behind 13-6 by the end of the first half. Auburn tied it up and the two teams kept it close until UCF went up by a touchdown. A final interception paved the way for an undefeated season for the Knights and controversy as to whether they should have earned a spot in the playoffs despite a weak schedule.

Orange Bowl: 6Wisconsin Badgers vs 10Miami Hurricanes
The Miami Hurricanes looked to redeem themselves after an embarrassing appearance in the ACC Championship. Miami went up early but the Badgers rallied back to take a ten point lead at the half. Miami got another touchdown and a field goal but could never recover the deficit. Wisconsin may not have taken the Big Ten but they won the Orange Bowl.

Cotton Bowl: 8USC Trojans vs 5Ohio State Buckeyes
Probably the best matchup outside of the playoffs, the PAC-12 champs take on the Big Ten champs. The Buckeyes may have felt snubbed and showed that they deserved better despite rough losses during the season. Ohio State scored 24 points before USC got their first touchdown. The scoreless second half kept the lead in the Buckeyes' corner. 

Fiesta Bowl: 11Washington Huskies vs 9Penn State Nittany Lions
Rounding out the top ten in another PAC-12 vs Big Ten match, the two teams traded off scores even as Penn State remained solidly in the lead. The Huskies were never able to come back and the Nittany Lions took home their bowl game.
This will be the next to last time I write about college football until next season. I'm excited about the National Championship but I'll miss the weekly entertainment. There were a lot of good teams this year and I would like to see an eight-team playoff with one last game during the season. This would allow more teams a chance at the title and a ton of great games at the end of the season. They should also compensate the players more for their effort. 

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