The second national semifinal this year is at the Orange Bowl and features the top two finishers in the 2018 Heisman Trophy voting as No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 4 Oklahoma. The Tide are big favourites to advance to yet another title game against either No. 2 Clemson or No. 3 Notre Dame.
College Football Playoff Semi-final Betting Analysis
The College Football Playoff was established for the 2014 season. Only two conferences have had at least one team in all five. The ACC is one, but Florida State was in the first CFP with Clemson in the following four. The only school to reach all five national semifinals is Alabama, which is favoured to win a sixth championship since 2009 under Coach Nick Saban – who has to go down as the best ever. The only time Alabama didn’t advance to the title game was in the first CFP when it was upset by No. 4 Ohio State.
Just one Big 12 school has reached the College Football Playoff and that’s Oklahoma, in its third national semifinal. The Sooners were No. 4 following the 2015 season and stomped by No. 1 Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Last year, OU was No. 2 and lost a thrilling shootout to No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl. The last time Oklahoma reached a championship game was following the 2009 season when it was upset by Tim Tebow and Florida.
It’s the sixth all-time meeting between Alabama and Oklahoma. They last played Jan. 2, 2014, in the Sugar Bowl and the Sooners rolled past a largely disinterested Tide team.
The guy who took the Heisman from Tua Tagovailoa was Oklahoma first-year starter Kyler Murray, who had a historic season in becoming the second straight Sooners QB (Baker Mayfield) to win the Heisman. Hard to argue against Murray as his numbers were all better. The junior transfer threw for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns while running for 892 yards and 11 scores. He could become the first FBS starting quarterback to average at least 300 passing yards and 60 rushing yards per game in a season. This could also be Murray’s final NCAA game. He has a year of eligibility left but was a 2018 first-round pick of MLB’s Oakland A’s and as of now plans to focus solely on his pro baseball career going forward. The A’s paid him a $4.66 million bonus with the agreement Murray would play just one more year of football. Some think this could be the last college game (if OU loses) for Sooners coach Lincoln Riley as several NFL teams are in hot pursuit of the offensive guru. Oklahoma led the country in scoring (49.5 ppg). No. 2? Alabama (47.9 ppg). What the Tide have that Oklahoma doesn’t is a good defence. The Sooners ranked just 96th in allowing 32.4 ppg.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The big story line here is the status of sophomore quarterback Tagovailoa, who struggled in the SEC Championship Game win over Georgia and left with a high-ankle sprain that required surgery. By all accounts, the Hawaiian lefty is ahead of schedule and should play. Even if he doesn’t or is limited, Alabama has one of the best backups in modern NCAA history in Jalen Hurts, a starter the previous two seasons and who led the comeback against Georgia. Tagovailoa was the clear Heisman front-runner nearly all season but essentially lost the award with his performance against Georgia. Think Saban will use that as motivation for his team and quarterback?
Sooners vs. Crimson Tide Prediction