Crunch time: Top four teams square off in much anticipated playoff series

12/31/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak

Finally, it's here. New Years Eve has arrived and it's time for the College Football Playoff semi finals. The winners will meet for the National Championship on January 11th. After two weeks of bowl games, the most exciting matchups that college football fans have been waiting all season for is here. Let's take a look at these two semi final match ups.
Orange Bowl: #1 Clemson vs #4 Oklahoma 12/31 at 4 pm
While Clemson is the top ranked team in the land, it's the fourth seeded Sooners who are surprisingly the favorites in this game. The Tigers come in with a perfect 13 and 0 record, while Oklahoma comes in at 11 and 1. Clemson averages 38.5 points and 511 yards per game offensively. On defense, the Tigers allow an average of 20.2 points and 296 yards per game. Oklahoma averages 45.8 points and 5433 yards per game on offense. The Sooners allow an average of 20.8 points and 351 yards per game defensively.

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Clemson is led offensively by QB Deshaun Watson, who's passed for 3,512 yards and 30 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions. His top target has been Artavis Scott, who has 84 catches for 805 yards and 5 TD's. The Tigers ground game is led by Wayne Gallman, who's rushed for 1,332 yards and 10 scores so far this season.
On offense, Oklahoma is led by QB Baker Mayfield, who's thrown for 3,389 yards and 35 TD's against just 5 interceptions. His go to guy is Sterling Shephard, who has 79 catches for 1,201 yards and 11 scores. Samaje Perine leads the Sooners rushing attack with 1,291 yards and 15 TD's.
These teams met in last year's Russell Athletic Bowl, with Clemson winning 40 to 6. This will be the 5th meeting all time between these schools with each having won a pair.
Cotton Bowl: #2 Alabama vs #3 Michigan State 12/31 at 8 pm
Both of these teams come in with 12 and 1 records. Alabama averages 34.1 points and 423 yards per game offensively. On defense, the Crimson Tide allow an average of 14.4 points and 258 yards per game. On offense, Michigan State averages 32.1 points and 397 yards per game. Defensively, the Spartans give up an average of 20.5 points and 343 yards per game.
Alabama is led offensively by QB Jake Coker, who's passed for 2,489 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing 8 interceptions. His top target has been Calvin Ridley, who's caught 75 passes for 893 yards and 5 scores. Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry leads the ground attack with 1,986 yards and 23 TD's.
On offense, Michigan State is led by QB Connor Cook. Cook has thrown for 2,921 yards and 24 touchdowns versus just 5 interceptions. His go to guy has been Aaron Burbridge, who has 80 catches for 1,219 yards and 7 scores. The Spartans ground game is led by L.J. Scott, who's rushed for 691 yards and 11 TD's.
Michigan State is looking to become the first Big 10 school to win 5 consecutive bowl games. The Crimson Tide are a rather large favorite to win according to the odds makers.

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