The Campus Read-Option – College Football Playoffs Edition

For college football fans, we had to wait a few extra days for our Christmas presents to arrive. As we sit here eagerly anticipating the wrapping paper to be ripped off of our Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl gifts on New Year’s Day, the excitement continues to rise.

We recently held our Shadow League round-table discussion concerning this year’s semifinals on TSL Sports Talk, with podcast host Mark Gray and the Sporting News’ exceptional columnist David Steele. Give it a listen when you have a minute. It’s chock full of insight and entertainment.

All four of these teams – Georgia, Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma – have a legit shot at taking home this year’s national championship. Here are the reasons why each of them could advance to the big game.

CLEMSON

The Tigers’ defensive line, the best overall individual unit in all of college football, is a supreme menace. Big, strong, tenacious and relentless, all four starters received All-ACC honors. Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell were named to the first team, while Austin Bryant snagged a second team selection.

Christian Wilkins Official Highlights | Clemson DL

Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins has been a lynchpin for the Tigers’ defensive line since arriving on campus. The two-time All-American and two-time All-ACC lineman amassed 133 career tackles, 26 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks in his illustrious career. His athleticism and versatility make him one of the premier lineman in the country.

But that’s just the initial wave of the mayhem, as their backups come in with very little drop-off. Clemson’s D wrecks opposing quarterbacks and shuts down rushing attacks.

Quarterback Kelly Bryant faced the unenviable task of filling in for the departed magician Deshaun Watson, but he proved to be up to the challenge. People wondering how he would perform on the big stage got their answer when he blazed out of the gate to connect on his first 15 passes in the ACC Championship game against Miami.  

Bryant isn’t the passer that Watson was, but he more than makes up for it with his ability to run the ball. They don’t rack up as much yardage through the air as in previous years, but Bryant accumulated more rushing yards than Watson and scored almost twice as many touchdowns on the ground as his predecessor. And his support as the skills positions is exceptional. 

Kelly Bryant 2017 Highlights ”The Man”

Clemson Tigers Kelly Bryant Junior Highlights 2017

They have the best defense in the country and despite going to two national championships in a row and winning it last year, a very strong case can be made that this year’s team is actually better than the previous two.

OKLAHOMA

The Sooner offense is a machine that simply shreds and batters opposing defenses into submission. And don’t believe the hype about them not playing against superior defenses? Did you see what they did to Ohio State, who has size, speed and NFL talent? Or how about the whippings they gave TCU? Both the Buckeyes and the Horned Frogs boasted top 20 defenses. And Baker Mayfield, who is in the debate as the perhaps the best Sooner ever, ate ’em up like Hannibal Lecter did that census taker’s liver with some fava beans

Baker Mayfield 2017-18 Highlights || Oklahoma QB ||

2017-18 Regular Season Highlights of Heisman Front-Runner Baker Mayfield. I do not own the music and the footage used in this video. No copyright infringement intended. For entertainment purposes only.

Yes, Georgia has a ferocious defense, but expect Mayfield and that explosive offense to still light up the scoreboard. It’s amazing how prolific they’ve been, considering Oklahoma needed to replace exceptional wide receiver Dede Westbrook and the thunderous backfield tandem of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. 

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is the skill position headliner as the baddest little-skinny man since Michigan’s Anthony Carter, but receivers Jeff Badet, Mykel Jones and CeeDee Lamb have all put in work, along with tight end Mark Andrews, the Mackey Award winner as the nation’s top tight end.

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown Sophomore Highlights | From Juco To Oklahoma

Marquise Hollywood Brown Sophomore Highlights 2017-18 Season Marquise Brown the rising Star *VIDEO IS NOT MONETIZED* [*Disclaimer* ] Songs Kodak Black Skrt – Hollyhood *Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

Mayfield’s lead foot pumps the gas on the nation’s No. 1 offense, which averages a robust 583.3 yards per game, and he’ll prove to all the naysayers that his game is more substance than hype when he lines up against a Georgia defense that ranks in the top five nationally in points allowed per game (13.2), yards allowed per game (270.9) and pass yards allowed per game (158.3).

If you’re doubting his ability to ball out at the next level, look no further than Johnny Mathis‘ kid on the side, Russell Wilson, to see how Mayfield’s game will translate at the next level if he’s utilized correctly.

ALABAMA

The Crimson Tide might not be as dominant all over the field as they’ve been in the previous two seasons, but they’re still – to quote Larry David – priiiiiiiiiiiiiity good. Their recent powerhouse squads were anchored by one of the most exceptional defenses the college game has ever seen. This year though, despite perhaps having the best overall defensive player in the country in safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, things are slightly different as Alabama’s fortunes revolve around their offense. 

Oc’s Worst Nightmare | Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama Highlights

Best Player In The NATION/SEC ? Official Minkah Fitzpatrick 2017 Highlights #2018Draft #Like&Share #Top10Pick #LockDownDefender [*Disclaimer* ] The Video is Edited so it qualifies for Fair use. *Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

But make no mistake about it, Nick Saban’s defense is still a force to be reckoned with. 

Quarterback Jalen Hurts, receiver Calvin Ridley and running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough are the stars of this Crimson Tide show. And no one has more experience playing on a stage of this magnitude. Senior and redshirt juniors on this squad are making their fourth appearance on the College Football Playoff stage. That’s pretty remarkable.

Nick Saban is the best coach in the game, and he takes away your strength, forcing you to beat his teams in other ways. Don’t let that loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl fool you into forgetting that Alabama was the best team this year. Their offense was second only to Oklahomas in terms of efficiency ratings, eight separate players rushed for at least 100 yards and their balance makes them entirely unpredictable.

Jalen Hurts 2017 Mini Movie – “The Saga” || 2016-17 Highlights

After a spectacular freshman campaign, Jalen Hurts is poised to lead the Crimson Tide back to the National Championship. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment any requests on videos! Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stantongfx/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/vxlfrocket Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/vxlfrocket Intro Song: Mr. Carmack – Ain’t Loyal (Oshi redo) Outro Song: Meek Mill – Shine If you’re still reading, you’re the best!

Hopefully, part III of this incredible trilogy against Clemson, with whom they’ve traded the last two national titles, will be better than Little Fockers, Ocean’s Thirteen, The Matrix Revolutions and The Godfather Part III. We’ve been treated to some classic games thus far and this next one should be a thriller as well. And it’s hard to bet against Saban and this Alabama wrecking crew.

Georgia  

Don’t be scared by the fact that the Bulldogs start a true freshman quarterback in Jake Fromm. Their defense, led by Butkus Award winner and SEC Defensive Player of the Year Roquan Smith at middle linebacker, is remarkable. They snuffed Auburn’s vicious offensive attack in the 28-7 SEC Championship Game win and held Notre Dame’s outstanding rushing attack that averaged 279.08 yards per game to just 55. 

Roquan Smith Butkus Winner || Nations Best LB 2017 Highlights

Bukus Award Finalist

And the offensive unit is efficient and well-rounded. Running back Nick Chubb surpassed 1,100 yards for the third time in his career, Sony Michel nearly broke the 1,000-yard mark as well and freshman D’Andre Swift averaged a preposterous 8.2 yards per carry. Fromm was one of the most efficient passers in the country this year with a 168.18 passer rating and 21 touchdowns against only five interceptions while averaging 9.4 yards per attempt.

#2 Auburn vs #6 Georgia Highlights || 2017 SEC Championship Highlights

2 Auburn vs #6 Georgia Highlights || 2017 SEC Championship Highlights || Thanks for watching guys and remember to SUBSCRIBE for MORE highlights! Don’t forget to check out some of my others videos as well!

Head coach Kirby Smart has been building this program using the blueprint that he took from his mentor, Nick Saban at Alabama. Like the Wu Tang Clan, this Bulldogs crew is on a mission, and they’re nothing to mess with.