X

College Football Playoff 2019-20: Predictions, Odds, Schedule for Final 4 Teams

Jake RillSenior Analyst IDecember 13, 2019

FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2019, file photo, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Florida in Baton Rouge, La. A high-stakes tilt between LSU and Alabama could prove as pivotal in Heisman Trophy voting as it is in providing the winner an inside track to the College Football Playoff. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

It's the most wonderful time of the year. And not only because of the holidays.

Sure, Christmas is right around the corner, but so is the College Football Playoff, which sees the four best teams in the country face off for the chance to advance to the National Championship Game. The semifinal games will take place on Dec. 28, followed by the national title game on Jan. 13.

With the start of the College Football Playoff almost upon us, here's everything you need to know heading into the semifinal games.

                    

College Football Playoff Semifinals Information

Peach Bowl

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

Date: Saturday, Dec. 28

Site: Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta

Time: 4 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Odds (via Caesars): LSU -12.5

            

Fiesta Bowl

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

Date: Saturday, Dec. 28

Site: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Odds (via Caesars): Clemson -2

            

Predictions

The College Football Playoff will start with LSU returning to Atlanta, the site of its SEC Championship Game victory over Georgia. And it will have another tough challenge ahead when it takes on Oklahoma, which won the Big 12 title.

Big games are nothing new for the Tigers this year, though. They have navigated a difficult regular-season schedule that featured Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Texas, and they are one of three 13-0 teams in this year's playoff, along with Ohio State and Clemson.

One thing is for certain about this Peach Bowl matchup between LSU and Oklahoma: A lot of points scored will be scored.

Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow is the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy after setting SEC records in passing yards (4,715) and passing touchdowns (48) this season. No stage has been too big for him in his final college season, as he proved when passed for 349 yards and four touchdowns in the SEC Championship Game.

The Sooners also have a Heisman finalist leading their offense. Jalen Hurts has done it all in his first and only season at Oklahoma, passing for 3,634 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushing for 1,255 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Burrow and Hurts are going to trade scores, which will be fun to watch. However, LSU is the slightly better team and will benefit greatly from its past games against top sides. Expect the Tigers to notch the win in their first appearance in the College Football Playoff.

While the Peach Bowl should be an offensive shootout, there's potential for the Fiesta Bowl to be more of a defensive battle.

Clemson (244.7 total yards allowed per game) and Ohio State (247.6) have been the top two defenses in the country this season. However, both teams also have strong offenses, with the Tigers ranking third in the nation (547.7 total yards per game) and the Buckeyes fifth (531).

Ohio State has one advantage over Clemson, though: It has a Heisman finalist on both sides of the ball.

Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields has been impressive in his first season with the team, while defensive end Chase Young has been almost unstoppable in his final year at the school.

Clemson's advantage is its past playoff success with many players who are still on the team. Last year, the Tigers won their second national championship in three seasons and have some key contributors back from that team, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

However, Clemson hasn't played any tough teams this year and rolled through its ACC schedule. Ohio State was better tested in the Big Ten, and that experience will help it to take down the Tigers in what should be a competitive game that goes down to the wire.