The Penultimate contests that fans and experts have been eagerly anticipating are nearly here. While the numerous Bowl Games that have proceeded the College Football Playoff have been incredibly competitive in their own right, the top four teams that had to fight vigorously from the start to the end of the regular season will get a grand opportunity to earn an accolade that trumps all others: a National Championship. The first semi-final matchup of the day features two elite programs that have utilized divergent strategies and personnel to get this far. Of course, the run-heavy, stout defense of the Bulldogs has been largely unstoppable. Even the lone team that was able to dismantle them earlier in the season eventually succumbed to the Bulldogs oppressive and physical style of play (see SEC Championship game vs. Auburn). Although the Sooners have a capable defense of their own, it his never been their saving grace. Throughout the season, Heisman trophy winning quarterback Baker Mayfield has continuously and fearlessly carried his team to one impressive high scoring victory after another.
Georgia Bulldogs (3) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (2)
Time: Monday, 5:00 PM E.T.
Location: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
TV Channel: ESPN
When attempting to compare and prognosticate a victor amongst two completely different programs, it usually behooves a poignant analyst to break down each teams strengths into three essential categories: passing efficiency, rushing efficiency, and defensive efficiency. Obviously, the Sooners have a distinct advantage when it comes to their prolific passing game that is led by the gunslinger Baker Mayfield. Throwing for 41 touchdowns and just five interceptions, Mayfield is a strategically aggressive playmaker that can be exceptionally surgical when throwing the deep ball (11.76 yards per pass attempt) while having the discipline to take what he can get with his legs if the coverage downfield is particularly oppressive (five rushing touchdowns). Although Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm may not have the accolades or elite statistics that Mayfield possess, he was quietly one of the most efficient passers in college football over the last five games of the season (eight touchdowns and one interception during the five-game stretch). When it comes to rushing the football, the Bulldogs have one of the best running back tandems in college football led by Nick Chubb (13 touchdowns, 1175 rushing touchdowns) and Sony Michel (13 rushing touchdowns, 948 rushing yards). While the Sooners have an intriguing featured rusher in Rodney Anderson (11 rushing touchdowns, 960 rushing yards), they don’t necessarily have the impressive depth that the Bulldogs do at the position. Defensively, the Bulldogs have been a top-five program throughout the season (13.2 PAPG) and were particularly ruthless during their last three games of the season (held their last three opponents to 27 total points). However, the Sooners perceived dreadful defense has actually been competent recently as they dominated a dynamic Horned Frogs offense in the Big 12 Championship Game. While the physicality of the Bulldogs will force the Sooners to be consistently dynamic on offense, Baker Mayfield has proven throughout this season that is electric play is usually more than enough to lead his team past a worthy opponent in high-pressure situations.
Final Score: Bulldogs 31 Sooners 38 Spread: Georgia -1.5