1. Orange Bowl
Matchup: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Date: Dec. 29
Location: Orlando, FL
This is the game that most Texas football fans are going to be waiting for, outside of the Sugar Bowl itself. A good portion of Texas football fans are going to be conflicted between rooting for the Big 12 to take down the SEC in the Playoff, or seeing its biggest rival taken down on the biggest national stage for the second year in a row.
The Oklahoma Sooners get the first crack at the Alabama Crimson Tide since quarterback Trevor Knight led them to that memorable victory in the Sugar Bowl back in 2014. Alabama is sure to be motivated coming into this game and prove that its SEC Championship Game victory over Georgia was no fluke. This game will see the winners of the SEC and Big 12 Title Games face each other, while the losers of each matchup in the Sugar Bowl.
This is the third time that Oklahoma gets a shot in a Playoff Semifinal game, but it has yet to make it to the College Football Playoff National Championship. Oklahoma lost to the Clemson Tigers and Georgia in its previous two appearances in the Playoff field. It won’t get much easier in the Orange Bowl Semifinal against star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide.
The Heisman selection of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray over Tagovailoa is going to give this game some added hype. Can Tagovailoa exact revenge on Murray and the Sooners to prove that he deserved the Heisman Trophy? He definitely has the edge in terms of the surrounding talent, with the Oklahoma defense struggling for most of the year.