Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
No. 4 Washington Huskies vs No.1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Georgia Dome – Atlanta, Georgia
January 1, 7am AEDT on ESPN
Alabama are having yet another dominant season as Nick Saban’s squad is undefeated at 13-0 including rolling (pun intended) No. 15 Florida 54-16 in the SEC Championship Game.
Meanwhile, Washington has surprised many to go 12-1 and win the Pac-12 Championship, beating No. 9 Colorado 41-10 and sealing their place in the College Football Playoff.
This game is going to be a battle of one of College Football’s most prolific offences versus the stingiest defence. The Huskies are the fourth highest-scoring offence in the FBS at 44.5 points per game, while Alabama’s defence leads the FBS in points against at 11.8.
Alabama allows the least rushing yards per game at 63.4, more than 30 yards the next best team, forcing Washington to attempt to beat the Crimson Tide via the air. The Huskies are going to need sophomore quarterback Jake Browning to enjoy a standout game and carry the offence, which he is more than capable of as he ranks sixth in the FBS in QBR.
The Crimson Tide will want to turn this game into a low-scoring slugfest and attempt to nullify the Washington offence. Alabama aren’t slouches on offence either, averaging 40.5 points per game (13th in the FBS) and will look to run over a Washington defence that allows 125.8 rushing yards each contest.
Washington are going to have to play the perfect game if they are to end Alabama’s perfect season, and even then, it’s still a massive ask. Alabama have just been too dominant all season to look past and will likely slow Washington’s offence to a crawl.
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes vs No. 2 Clemson Tigers
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
January 1, 11am AEDT on ESPN
The 11-1 Ohio State Buckeyes sealed their place in the College Football Playoff with a 30-27 Double O/T win over arch-rivals and then No 3. Michigan.
The 12-1 Clemson Tigers come into the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on the back of a 42-35 win in the ACC Championship Game over No. 23 Virginia Tech.
This game is shaping up to be a fun one between two high-scoring offences with two different styles. The Buckeyes will look to score through the duel threat of quarterback JT Barrett and running back Curtis Samuel.
Barrett has 847 rushing yards on 194 attempts this season, so he can cause some damage no matter what the defence gives him. While Samuel has 704 rushing yards and 822 receiving yards, troubling defences all over the field.
As Ohio State on the other hand will rely on their rushing game, Clemson will do their best work through the air. The Tigers are seventh in the FBS in passing yards per game at 332.6 behind quarterback Deshaun Watson, who’s sixth in the FBS with 3914 passing yards and completing 67.6% of passes.
Although Clemson is a great passing team, they’re facing an equally terrific passing defence. The Buckeyes are sixth in the FBS, allowing 164.5 passing yards per game and Clemson’s rushing game plays only a minimal part in their offence.
The Buckeyes offence should run all over the Clemson defence, while their own D should be able to hold off the Tigers’ passing enough to get the win.