College Football Playoffs 2017: Full TV Schedule and Odds for Semifinals

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2017

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: Nick Chubb #27 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs the ball during the first half against the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

What's not to like about this year's College Football Playoff? 

In one semifinal, we've got a rematch of last year's national title game between the top-ranked Clemson Tigers and a motivated Alabama Crimson Tide squad that will be looking to prove doubters wrong after it  secured a playoff spot despite sitting out conference championship weekend. 

In the other semifinal, newly minted Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield will try and lead the Oklahoma Sooners past the SEC-champion Georgia Bulldogs after closing the regular season with the nation's fourth-ranked scoring offense.  

Below, we'll preview all the action to come. 

As a bit of housekeeping, note that all odds below were retrieved from OddsShark and are current as of Dec. 24. 

              

Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. No. 3 Georgia (12-1)

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 02:  Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to pass against the TCU Horned Frogs in the second quarter during Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty I
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Date: Monday, Jan. 1

Time: 5 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Odds: Georgia -1.5 

For the second straight season, the Sooners will meet an SEC team in a bowl game. The difference this time around is that they'll be playing for a spot in the national title game. 

And if the regular season was any indication, Oklahoma's tilt with Georgia could pit an unstoppable force against an immovable object. 

In this case, the unstoppable force would be the Sooners' offense, which churned out 44.9 points and 367.4 passing yards per game with Mayfield at the helm. 

Those numbers, on their own, suggest the Rose Bowl scoreboard operator should be kept busy. 

But if Georgia has anything to say about it, points will be at a premium. 

In the midst of their successful SEC championship run, the Bulldogs allowed 13.2 points per game and touted the nation's second-ranked passing defense (158.3 yards per game). 

As the Washington Post's Patrick Stevens noted, those opposing forces could make for "the best offense-vs.-defense matchup of the postseason."

If the Bulldogs can stand tall and force Mayfield into a few bad decisions, a ground game anchored by Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and the always explosive D'Andre Swift should be able to help keep points flowing against an Oklahoma defense that has surrendered 144.2 rushing yards per game so far this season. 

Given the epic contrast in styles, it won't be a surprise if the Sooners and Bulldogs treat fans to a classic in Southern California that helps set the stage for a titanic national title game. 

             

Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Clemson (12-1) vs. No. 4 Alabama (11-1)

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 02:  Kelly Bryant #2 of the Clemson Tigers throws a pass against the Miami Hurricanes during the ACC Football Championship at Bank of America Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Im
Mike Comer/Getty Images

Date: Monday, Jan. 1

Time: 8:45 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Odds: Alabama -3

The Alabama Crimson Tide wanted revenge for last year's national title game loss to Clemson, and they're going to get a shot at it when the two sides clash in the Sugar Bowl. 

But in order to exorcise some Tiger-shaped demons, the Crimson Tide will need to conjure up a game plan that helps unlock an aerial attack that sputtered through the season by producing a meager 200.1 passing yards per game with sophomore Jalen Hurts under center. 

"Tempo will be a big part of it. One of the things with college football, you can go tempo and it try to wear down a defensive front," ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said, per SEC Country's Marq Burnett. "A lot of those guys are 290 pounds or 300 pounds so a lot of times you'll see that approach. I think Jalen Hurts is going to have to be involved in not just running the football, but I think he’s going to have to make some big plays throwing."

In order for the Tide to stretch the field against Clemson's second-ranked scoring defense (12.8 points per game), they'll need some secondary playmakers to step up. 

While receiver Calvin Ridley is a known commodity as Hurts' No. 1 target, the Crimson Tide didn't have another receiver on the team catch more than 15 passes this season. In fact, the team's No. 2 receiver by the end of the regular season turned out to be running back Bo Scarbrough, who reeled in 14 receptions. 

And with Clemson likely to stack the box in an effort to slow down Scarbrough and fellow steamroller Damien Harris, the pressure will be on Cam Sims and Jerry Jeudy to wiggle free in the secondary in order to provide the Tide with some offensive balance following a sub-par 14-point showing against Auburn a month ago. 

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