There are storylines aplenty in Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinal between the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners. The game, televised by ESPN, starts Saturday at 7 p.m. Central Time in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
Alabama is favored by 14 points. Among the more intriguing plot questions the game will answer:
• Did Heisman Trophy voters get it right? Which stellar quarterback – Heisman winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma or runner-up Tua Tagovailoa of the Crimson Tide – will perform better under the bright lights?
• Can the Crimson Tide’s defense, which allowed the fourth-fewest points per game, slow down Oklahoma’s No. 1 scoring offense?
• Will Alabama’s offense, which trailed only Oklahoma’s in scoring, have its way against an Oklahoma defense that allowed 32.4 points per game (ranking No. 96) and is historically bad for a College Football Playoff team?
• Alabama’s Nick Saban, who built his reputation on defense, has taken his Crimson Tide team to every CFP since the four-team playoff began in 2014 and is considered by many to be the greatest college football coach of all time. Can 35-year-old offensive genius Lincoln Riley, whose first two Oklahoma teams made it to the CFP, serve notice he is the next coaching great?
Of course, the game’s biggest storyline to be decided is which team will advance to play for the national championship against the winner of No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame. Game coverage for that semifinal game kicks off at 3 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.