CFB Playoff: Why each final four team will, won't win it all
The College Football Playoff field is set and now it’s time for the seemingly endless debates about the matchups. Which team has the best chance of winning? What do the teams need to do to win the National Championship? What do they have to avoid doing to keep their Championship hopes alive? Experts from around the Rivals.com network explain.
Why they will win the national championship: “LSU will win the national title for a multitude of reasons, but perhaps nothing is more substantive than the fairy tale story unfolding before our very eyes. It is obvious that the football gods have an agenda here and everyone else is just becoming part of the story. Aside from divine intervention, the LSU offense is an absolute juggernaut that nobody has been able to figure out. Even if you do put together a gameplan, their players have just been better than yours. The defense has shown life of late and there is more than enough talent on that side of the ball to create the stops necessary to give Joe Burrow and the Three Moss-keteers what it needs to hoist the trophy when all is said and done.” - Jimmy Smith, TigerDetails.com
Why they won't win the national championship: “LSU won't win because the defense has been too consistent all year to simply flip the switch when it counts. The offense has been virtually unstoppable, but the Tigers defense looks vastly different than what we have become accustomed to seeing from this program. For all that Joe Burrow can do, he can't create a pass rush, nor can he tackle opposing running backs and receivers in space.” - Smith
2. OHIO STATE
Why they will win the national championship: “They have proven to be the most complete team with a tremendous offense and a stingy defense. Once you get into the playoff setting, it is not just about being able to put points on the board, you need to be able to stop someone and, of the teams that are being talked about, there are only about two that can back up a great offense with great defense.
“Plus, the Buckeyes are hungry. They have been kept out of the last two playoffs because of a bad loss in league play in both 2017 and 2018, despite winning the Big Ten. There just seems to be a focus with this team and nobody is getting close to rattling the Buckeyes. There have been a few quarters that have not gone according to plan, but outside of that, this team is pushing everyone else around. While the competition will be exponentially more difficult in the four-team playoff, bet on the Buckeyes.” - Kevin Noon, BuckeyeGrove.com
Why they won't win the national championship: “If there is a reason to be concerned, it might just come down to the knee of Justin Fields. If the Buckeyes were to lose Fields, there is no Cardale Jones waiting in the wings. That is not to take anything away from Chris Chugunov or Gunnar Hoak, but the Buckeyes would lose a lot if they lost their quarterback in either the semis or finals of the CFP.” - Noon
Why they will win the national championship: “They'll win one because the same guys that torched Alabama and Notre Dame in last year's playoff are back and better than last year. Clemson has spent much of this year looking up at others in the rankings, but experience is a big deal and the Tigers will have a decided advantage in that category with Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross and others.” - Larry Williams, TigerIllustrated.com
Why they won't win the national championship: “As astounding as Clemson's defensive greatness has been this year, it's been built on the back seven and not on a defensive front that is in a transition year after the loss of all those stars from last season. This defense hasn't faced a great offense this year, so some holes we haven't seen to this point could get exposed at the playoff level.” - Williams
Why they will win the national championship: “This team is starting to play its best football at the right time of the year. Look no further than its last month of the season. Battle tested. Oklahoma could have lost each of its last four games but found ways to win and did so because of its defense. This is a different Oklahoma team than the nation is used to seeing. Over the last three and a half games, OU has outgained its opponents by a combined 889 yards (1,762-873), allowing an average of 62.4 yards per quarter. The turnaround defensively is remarkable.” - Eddie Radosevich, SoonerScoop.com
Why they won't win the national championship: “Oddly enough it could be the Oklahoma offense that holds the Sooners back. This team won't be looking to outscore anyone. While they are statistically on par with the previous three College Football Playoff qualifiers, don't be fooled. Ball security at the quarterback position is an issue. Jalen Hurts has been excellent but is prone to giving the other team the ball. The Sooners have been able to get away with it in conference play. That won't be happening on the big stage against LSU or Ohio State.” - Radosevich