Photo Credit: ACC Digital
With the College Football Playoff kicking off in just over 24 hours, here are some matchups to watch in each matchup:
Notre Dame offensive line vs Clemson defensive line
Most football games are decided up front in the trenches, but this game has two of the best in college football. Notre Dame has dominated opponents this season running the ball with Dexter Williams behind one of the best lines in football. Notre Dame has had one of the best offensive lines in FBS over the past few years, and seem to always have more in the pipeline. Despite having one of the most dominating offensive lines in football this will be their toughest test in years. Clemson has one of the best defensive lines in football, and if Notre Dame can not win this battle, they will struggle to move the ball at all. Dexter Lawerence being suspended is a big loss, but Clemson still has three projected first-round picks up front. Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, and Christian Wilkins alone would be the best defensive line in the country. I expect them to slow down ND’s run game forcing the game on Ian Books shoulders. This matchup likely will decide the game, and I believe Clemson will just have too much up front for Notre Dame to handle.
Julian Love vs Tee Higgins
The battle in the trenches will decide this game, as both are power running teams, but this matchup could prevent a blowout. Julian Love is one of the most underrated players in the country, he is capable of shutting down half the field if needed, but he will have his hands full on Saturday. Tee Higgins is one of the best receivers in the country, and while just a Sophomore, he is already one of the most dominate jump ball guys in the country. If Trevor Lawerence and Higgins are able to connect, Notre Dame could be in for a long game. Julian Love will be the key to stopping that, and I think should have some success. Love has not allowed a receiver over 100 yards all year and has a great wingspan and timing to go get the ball.
Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images North America
Kyler Murray vs Alabama
This one is a no-brainer but has to be included. Alabama is going to run over Oklahoma’s defense with an offensive line that is way overpowering to a soft Big 12 defense. The only way this game stays close is if Kyler Murray can carve up an elite Alabama defense like their a Big 12 defense. Kyler has not faced a defense with the poise and coaching that he will on Saturday, but Murray is one of the best athletes in the country. Nick Saban is 1-4 vs Heisman winners, but that will probably move to 2-4 on Saturday. Kyler will have his moments but likely will not get the blocking to withstand for four quarters.