The College Football Playoff semifinals are set, with the best four teams in the country now competing for the national championship. We also have odds for both games, so let’s make some picks!
Orange Bowl: No. 3 Georgia (-7) vs. No. 2 Michigan
What Nick Saban did was expose the flaws in Kirby Smart’s SEC East champions with the work of a private detective. Georgia’s offense can be pressured with blitzing, and you can establish the run against the vaunted Georgia defense on the edges. Just stay away from the A-gap, and you can move it on the ground.
Although Cade McNamara isn’t Bryce Young, and he won’t be able to stretch the Bulldogs vertically, expect Michigan to be able to establish a run game that’s effective enough to control the clock and extend drives. The Wolverines will pressure Stetson Bennett (or potentially JT Daniels??) and force just enough mistakes to get the win.
The Pick: Michigan +7, Michigan wins
Cotton Bowl: No. 4 Cincinnati vs. No. 1 Alabama (-13.5)
The Bearcats dream season was the perfect antidote for college football, showing a team from the Group of Five did indeed have a path to playing for a national championship. But that ain’t going to help them in Arlington.
The Cincinnati defense is filled with athletes that play well as a team, but the one-on-one matchups that the Crimson Tide will force should overwhelm them both in the running game and passing game. Desmond Ridder is a terrific quarterback, and Jerome Ford a great runner, but they’re not enough to get past the 5-star-filled team from Tuscaloosa.
The Pick: Alabama 13.5, Alabama wins
This should be a classic, but it comes down to recruiting. There’s just more well-coached talent for the Crimson Tide, and that’s why they’ll repeat as national champions. Losing John Metchie III will hurt, but there are plenty of weapons behind that can fill in the gaps. Depth matters in college football, and it will show here.
Plus giving Nick Saban 10 days to prepare to get after Cade McNamara is just too much time for a quarterback that’s solid but not spectacular. And Hassan Haskins, as good as he is, needs blockers to win on the offensive line to get anywhere. That will be too much of a challenge.
The Pick: Alabama wins the national championship