Friday, December 14, 2007

College football playoffs semi-finals

After the opening round of the Illinois Hoosier playoff provided some great games, we move to the semi-finals. These games are played on neutral fields in BCS bowl stadiums.

Game 5 (scheduled for 3 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Sugar Bowl)

(1) Ohio State v. (5) Georgia

The Buckeyes come into the Super Dome in New Orleans on a high after beating Kansas, the feel-good story of the season. Meanwhile, Georgia went down to the wire in Norman, Okla. to advance. This is where Georgia fans traditionally hope to be playing on Jan. 1.

It may seem like a home game for Georgia, but Ohio State may be good enough to overcome it. The OSU defense will contain Georgia's running game, and the Bulldogs are not playing the spread offense that gave them fits against Illinois. Georgia hangs in there, but the Buckeyes win 24-17 and advance to the Orange Bowl and the national championship.

Game 6 (scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Fiesta Bowl)

(7) USC v. (3) Virginia Tech

The Hokies are the home team in this match-up because of the higher seed. But the Trojans will bring more fans to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. USC also has all pistons firing at this point. A healthy offense and nasty defense will give Tech fits. The Tech offense was never that impressive throughout the year, leaving them susceptible.

USC looks like a No. 1 team and stomps Virginia Tech 28-7.

The national championship game is set: (7) USC v. (1) Ohio State at 8 p.m. Jan. 1.

See how easy that was? The remaining bowl games will go on as scheduled throughout December and on New Year's Day. The number of teams in the big games does not change and the number of teams in the lesser games doesn't change.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Let the college football playoffs begin...

Welcome to the first annual Illinois Hoosier college football playoff with the theme: Because I don't like being part of the bowl subdivision.

The rules are simple: The top eight teams in the final BCS standings qualify. First round games are played at the higher seed's home field. Semi-final and final games are played in two BCS bowl stadiums. This year, the semi-finals will be at the Sugar and Fiesta bowls and the championship at the Orange Bowl. The Rose Bowl chose to stay out of the Ill. Hoosier system (according to my imagination) and preserve the traditional match-up.

Here are the match-ups for round one in bracket order (Bear with me on game dates):

--No. 1 Ohio State v. No. 8 Kansas in Columbus, Ohio
--No. 4 Oklahoma v. No. 5 Georgia in Norman, Okla.

--No. 3 Virginia Tech v. No. 6 Missouri in Blacksburg, Va.
--No. 2 LSU v. No. 7 USC in Baton Rouge, La.

Notable: The Rose Bowl chooses not to participate and preserves the Big Ten-Pac 10 match-up, inviting Arizona State and Illinois, who finished 11 and 13, respectively, in the BCS standings.

Game 1 (scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 7)

A rare Friday night match-up. Virginia Tech welcomes Missouri and looks to continue its season in tribute to the fallen students in last spring's shootings. Missouri is coming off its Big 12 title game loss to Oklahoma, while Virginia Tech beat Boston College for the ACC championship.

Missouri's spread offense can score, but defense wins championships. Virginia Tech puts the focus on defense and special teams and can back it up. The Hokies are on a roll and winners of five in a row. They will run the ball and keep the Mizzou spread offense on the sidelines. The tigers score some points, but the home field advantage and some big plays on special teams help Tech move on to the semi-finals. Va. Tech wins 21-17.

Game 2 (scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 8)

The Ohio State band dots the I for the first time in recent memory at home in December as the Buckeyes welcome Kansas, a team no one expected to get this far. Ohio State is very tough to beat at home, but KU has an offense that can score points. OSU hasn't played many, if any, top tier opponents. But other than their loss to Illinois, which came at home, they have crushed everyone. Their defense totally destroyed the Michigan offense in their last regular season game.

Kansas on the other hand can put points on the board. Their lack of big game experience will be their downfall here. The Jayhawks' only loss came against Missouri, which kept them out of the Big 12 title game. That was a game on the biggest of stages and the high-powered offense could not get it done. Ohio State wins this one 24-13.

Game 3 (scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Dec. 8)

Georgia, one of the hottest teams in the country at the end of the season, heads to Big 12 champion Oklahoma. These two teams appear almost evenly matched. Both offenses are tough, as are both defenses. Oklahoma has lost corner and punt returner Reggie Smith to a broken toe. The Sooners will have to stop running back Knowshon Moreno, who has more than 1,200 yards for the Bulldogs.

Because this game is so closely matched, it could be ripe for an upset. Georgia, winners of six in a row, moves on to the semis with a late field goal. Bulldogs win 24-21.

Game 4 (scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 8)

Many predicted LSU v. USC would play for the national championship at the beginning of the season. But key losses by both teams made this an opening round game. LSU is tough to beat at home and the team has some momentum after winning the SEC championship. But USC is healthy again and not up against a spread offense like the one Oregon runs. The USC defense shuts down LSU's offense and scores the mild upset, 35-21.