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Predicting the first round of the College Football Playoffs

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Offensive and Defensive ranking of 4 teams in College Football PlayoffsAs the college football loving world anxiously waits for the first ever college football playoffs to get underway we can only  guess which two teams will make it to the final.  There are some major rankings we can look at that can give us some insight into the strengths of each team and their over all ranking.  In football, like most sports, there are statistics on pretty much everything and every position, but there are four rankings that matter most.

In the table above we can examine that the running game of the Buckeyes ranks very high, sitting at 10th in college football, matched against the 2nd ranked defense of Alabama.  Strength against strength.  This match up should prove to be difficult for Buckeyes to create a productive running game against Alabama.  Alabama will also find it difficult to run the ball on Ohio State as its 34th rated running game is matched up against the 33rd ranked rushing defense of the Scarlet and Gray.  Alabama’s passing game (281 ypg) sits 28 spots higher than the Buckeyes at 21st in the country.  The Buckeyes defensive strength however, lies in the team’s ability to defend the pass, sitting at 17th in the country.  The deciding factor should be Ohio State’s ability to pass against a mediocre Alabama secondary.  Averaging 246.8 yards per game, the Buckeyes should be able handle the 59th ranked passing defense (223.7 ypg).  If Ohio State can find some success at running the football, and if Cardale Jones plays like he did against the Badgers, there could be an upset in this match-up.

Prediction: (4) Ohio State 34 – (1) Alabama 27


The Oregon vs Florida State game on paper looks like a great offensive match-up.  Oregon’s 20th ranked rushing offense (237.3 ypg) should do well against a moderately strong, 58th ranked Florida State defense.  On the flip side, Florida State has not rushed the ball well in regular season, averaging a meager 134.8 yards a game.  Matched up against the 48th ranked Oregon defense, we shouldn’t expect much more production from the Seminole running game.  This game will come down to the passing game as both teams can throw the ball.  The winner of  this game may come down to the passing defenses of these two teams, and although they are both poor, Oregon’s 100th ranked passing defense will not be able to stop the powerful arm of Jameis Winston.  If Winston cuts down his turnovers, the Seminoles should win the passing match up.  There is something to be said about the mobile, Heisman winning quarterback in Mariota however, as his decision making and poise in the pocket makes him a force to be reckoned both on the ground and in the air.  Mariota is the X-factor in this match-up, leading an Oregon team with many weapons on the offensive end.

Prediction:  (2) Oregon 42 – (3) Florida State 32





Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Kaan Gencer

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