Saturday, December 28, 2019

College Football's Best Semifinals Yet

I've been waiting for today.

With the exception of last night --- and USC's loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes --- I haven't watched any bowl games. Today and New Year's day will be great.

At NYT, "College Football Playoff Offers Its Strongest Semifinals Yet":
Critics of the College Football Playoff system, now in its sixth year, often lament its made-for-TV artificiality, its subjective selection process and the role it has played in widening the gap between the sport’s haves and its have-nots.

In reply, proponents of the system need only point to this weekend.

The four best teams in college football will meet Saturday in the most appealing semifinals since the three-game playoff format debuted after the 2014 season. The only tough decisions the selection committee had to make this year were how to seed this a group that includes four of the nation’s top offenses, three undefeated teams, two previous playoff champions, and all four of the Heisman Trophy finalists.

How these particular teams got to this point is pretty easy to decode: They are led by four of the sport’s most talented quarterbacks. The best, undeniably, is Louisiana State’s Joe Burrow, who guided the Tigers to the top ranking and won the Heisman Trophy by a record-breaking margin. The other quarterbacks in the semifinals are Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, the Heisman runner-up; Ohio State’s dual-threat Justin Fields, who has thrown 40 touchdowns and only one interception this season; and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, who as a freshman led the Tigers to a win over Alabama in the national title game last season.

Here’s a closer look at the two matchups on Saturday...