The College Football Playoffs are set and now we wait with bated breath for the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
The league finished with four teams in the top eight of the College Football Playoff selection committee’s rankings and had a legitimate argument for getting two teams into the top four. Conference champion Penn State just missed the cut in favor of Washington, a decision that will be debated in State College and beyond for a long time. But the Nittany Lions are going to the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual for the first time in eight years.
All four of those ranked teams made New Year’s Six bowls, the first time a conference has accomplished that feat in the three-year history of the current format. Ohio State earned enough committee cred to become the first nonleague champion to make the playoff, Michigan is going the Capital One Orange Bowl despite finishing third in its own division and Wisconsin landed a spot in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl despite three losses.
Several of the league’s bowl opponents are loaded with talent, even if they haven’t always played like it this season. Clemson, Ohio State’s matchup in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, is as good as anybody when fully dialed in. Michigan faces a Florida State team full of blue-chippers. Penn State plays one of the only teams that was as hot down the stretch as the Nittany Lions: USC.
The Alabama Crimson Tide and Washington Huskies will meet in a battle that will feature the best defense and offense facing off against each other. On the other side of the bracket, we see the Clemson Tigers who look to win it all after losing in last year’s finals when they challenge the powerhouse Ohio State Buckeyes.
Alabama opened as a big 13.5-point favorite for the Peach Bowl, while Ohio State opened at -2.5 for the Fiesta Bowl.
The Crimson Tide have closed as favorites in every game they have played this season while going 9-4 ATS. Only three times this season has Alabama closed at anything under -14, with the team going 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS in those spots with an average scoring margin of plus-20.3 points. This will be the first time since November 2015 that Washington enters a game as an underdog, as the Huskies have been faves in their past 16 outings.
If Ohio State closes at -2.5, it will be the second-lowest spread the Buckeyes have seen all season with the only closing line smaller being their third game against Oklahoma, in which they entered the game as 1.5-point faves. Clemson is the only team in the playoffs to enter a game as an underdog this season, as the Tigers closed at +1 against Louisville. Clemson went on to win that game 42-36. Sign up now at HeritageSports.eu