NCAA Football Playoff 2019-20: Full TV Schedule, Odds and Projections

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, left, hands the ball off to Travis Etienne during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wofford, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

College football fans already had Dec. 28 circled on their calendars, but now the national semifinals are locked in.

Top-ranked LSU will challenge No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl, a game featuring two of the country's most prolific quarterbacks. Joe Burrow is the likely Heisman Trophy winner, and Jalen Hurts will probably finish in the Top Five of the award's voting.

While that showdown may break the scoreboard, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson are set for a duel in the desert. The perennial powerhouses will square off in the Fiesta Bowl.

B/R has you covered with all the details, from kickoff time and television listings to Caesars odds and key storylines.


Peach Bowl

Matchup: No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 LSU

When: Saturday, Dec. 28 at 4 p.m. ET

Line: LSU -13

TV: ESPN (stream on WatchESPN)

If you watch football and long for smashmouth days gone by, yearning for a "three yards and a cloud of dust" mentality, well, the Peach Bowl wouldn't be for you.

Do you like offense? Oh, this one's a beauty.

Oklahoma leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in yards per play at 8.2, while LSU has gained one more total yard than the Sooners this season. LSU is third nationally with 47.8 points per game, and OU's 43.2-point average checks in fifth.

That high-scoring attack has become a hallmark of Oklahoma's program, but it's a new development for LSU.

During this decade, the Tigers had maxed out at 35.8 points per game in 2013. Burrow's progression combined and first-year passing game coordinator Joe Brady have unleashed an offense that has 500-plus yards in 11 of its 13 games.

"Obviously, LSU is tough to stop," OU head coach Lincoln Riley said. "They've done a great job all year. Joe Burrow's had a great run, obviously played extremely well at the quarterback position. A lot of dynamic playmakers on the outside. And from what I've been able to see so far, their offensive line has done a great job as well."

Containing that offense will be a challenge for the Sooners, though they're better prepared than ever to have a chance.

New coordinator Alex Grinch has guided Oklahoma's defensive surge. After allowing 33.3 points and 453.8 yards per game last season, the unit is ceding 24.5 and 330.6, respectively.

Granted, only Auburn managed to hold LSU below 35 points. No other top SEC defensenot Florida or Alabama or Georgiacould silence this attack. None of those programs have an offense as powerful as the one Riley entrusts to Jalen Hurts, though.

While the Sooners are unquestionably capable of competing, LSU is likely to put up a ridiculously crooked number.

Prediction: LSU 52, Oklahoma 41


Fiesta Bowl

Matchup: No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 2 Ohio State

When: Saturday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. ET

Line: Clemson -1.5

TV: ESPN (stream on WatchESPN)

As far back as 1978, Ohio State has nothing but disappointing memories against Clemson in bowl games. The most recent of three postseason matchups, though, stung the worst.

During the 2016 College Football Playoff, Dabo Swinney and his Tigers steamrolled Ohio State 31-0.

Since a strong majority of both rosters were still in high school, it's not a true revenge game. Nevertheless, the Buckeyes can utilize the memory without it being the leading message.

"I think we'll use it as a reference point, but that's two very different teams," Ohio State coach Ryan Day told reporters. "So yeah, I mean, I wasn't here, and a lot of guys weren't here. But we'll definitely use it as a reference point, but I don't think it's very relevant here."

Ohio State coach Ryan Day
Ohio State coach Ryan DayAndy Lyons/Getty Images

The Buckeyes, after all, have a consistent and balanced offense this time around. Dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields has totaled 3,424 offensive yards and 50 touchdowns, and J.K. Dobbins has collected 2,029 yards from scrimmage and 22 scores.

However, the challenge they'll face is even greater.

Clemson just allowed more than 300 yards for the first time all season, yet it happened in a 62-17 win. This defense is battling Ohio State for No. 1 spots in several categories, and Clemson's offense fits the "elite" category by every metric.

Trevor Lawrence endured a frustrating half-season stretch but has since dissected every opponent. In the last six games, he's completed 75.5 percent of his 147 passes for 1,638 yards and 20 touchdowns with zero interceptions. He's added 220 yards and two scores on the ground during that span.

Ohio Statewhich ceded 537 passing yards to Michigan and Wisconsinmust be ready for the greatest test it's encountered in a 2019 season full of quality games.

Prediction: Clemson 34, Ohio State 30


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.