I got to admit that I had the weirdest dream last night where Michigan State got disemboweled by Alabama, right after the Sooner Schooner got stuck in the sand in Miami. Weird, because we haven't picked the playoff games. And we gotta do that, right?
Pat Janssen: Do we? There's no Nebraska. Though I guess we have a chance to become the de facto national champs if Michigan State wins it all. LET'S PICK SOME GAMES!
Brian: This is going to be an interesting year for the Playoffs. Time to make some terrible picks!
Ohio State (-6.5) vs. Notre Dame
Pat Janssen: Sure, people's opinions of Ohio State are dramatically higher because the Buckeyes caught fire at the right time last year. But the people's opinions of Notre Dame are always dramatically higher because they're Notre freakin' Dame. Ohio State is simply the better, more physical team. Bucks 31, Angry Little Men 10
Brian: BATTLEFROG FTW. As far as the game, I think the loss to Michigan State got the attention of both the staff and the players for Ohio State. Notre Dame is better than people think, but at the same time the Defense isn't going to do them any favors in stopping both the run and a decent JT Barrett. Early game in the desert too, so will be interesting to see how many eyes are on the field. Give me the Buckeyes in this one.
Mike: Notre Dame was good enough to beat (almost) everybody on their schedule, but also not quite good enough to whip anybody not named Texas. I suspect Urbz spent the last month or so tinkering with his offense, and I suspect that'll be the difference here. Bucknuts 34, Amish 23
Jon: Does anyone have faith in the Irish? Their only losses were to #1 Clemson and Pac-12 champion Stanford. Will Ohio State be motivated to care? They're not in the playoff and they are last year's big news. Notre Dame doesn't exactly stir anger in them. Then there's that Tim Beck guy that everyone hates. Ohio State should win this game, but they won't. Golden Domers 38 Buckeyes 36
Michigan (-4) vs. Florida
Pat Janssen: Two good defenses. Two offenses that are rougher than a post-New Year dehydrated turd. Michigan's turd is not as dehydrated as Florida's, so I'm picking the Fightin' Hugh Jackmans. Wolverines 21, Alligators 10
Brian: Michigan's O is not great, but the Gators just have no options on that side of the ball. Take Go Blue and the unders.
Mike: I watched a little bit of the Gatrs at the end of the season, and to call their offense a turd is an offense to turds. In fact, their O is simply non-existent. It'll be low scoring. Weasels 23, Gatrs 9.
Jon: A post-New Year dehydrated turd?
Stanford (-6.5) vs. Iowa
Pat Janssen: Iowa makes teams look a lot worse. People tend to say that instead of "Iowa is good." That's probably a bit unfair, but come on, man. They're Iowa. I just can't admit that they're any good. I think because of that, some people are expecting a blowout. I'm not, at least not right away. But I do think Stanford's horses begin to pull away by the end of this thing. Cardinal 31, Hawkeyes 21
Brian: Everyone knows what's coming with Stanford's Offense, but until you actually play it, you never seem to get ready. Iowa's already made their season in getting to this game, but I think David Shaw and the Palo Alto crew need this win more than Kirk Ferentz does. That's no slight on how good the Hawkeyes are, but when they needed to stop a ground and pound team the most, Michigan State got them tired and just plodded along. That's Stanford's MO, and CJ Beathard is going to have to win the game for the Hawkeyes. That's probably not going to happen.
Mike: The best thing that could happen to Iowa was a nearly four week break for their defense. They were showing signs of fatigue late in the season, as evidenced by Michigan State's ground assault on that final drive. Iowa's just happy to be in Pasadena... MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Tree 34, Squawks 17
Jon: Iowa is going to win this game. They're going to win it, and then a few of them are going to act like winning the Rose Bowl mattered like it did before there was a playoff. And that's okay. They'll have had their fill for another 15-20 years and go back to their perennial 6-6 seasons. The reason they'll win is they play clean football; the Hawkeyes finished 8th nationally in turnover margin. Iowa 23, Stanford 21
Oklahoma (-3.5) vs. Clemson
Pat Janssen: I'm not a gambler, but looking at this line, I'm thinking I'd like to become one. Sure, my picks have sucked all year, and sure, most Vegas lines tend to be pretty accurate. But 3.5 doesn't feel like enough points in this one. Clemson has been the benefactors of several Nate-Gerry-targeting-esque calls from Ron Cherry and the ACC refs all season, and they feel like fool's gold to me. It's not that the Tigers are bad. They're like a rich man's Iowa. But I just don't think they have the horses to keep up with any of the other three playoff teams. Oklahoma has had some consistency issues, but a motivated Sooners team runs Clemson out of Miami with a bunch of Tiger tails between their legs. Boomer 44, Dabbboooooooo 21
Brian: The thing you have to ask yourself about this game is that has Clemson really peaked by beating a North Carolina team that you could argue overachieved this year? Or do they have one, maybe two more wins in their holster? Meanwhile, the Sooners have been rolling since the debacle in the Cotton Bowl back in October. I think Clemson wins but it's going to be higher scoring that you want to imagine. There's revenge on one side, and that may be stronger than the want to make it to Arizona to win it all. But, Clemson has the better Offense and the slightly better Quarterback.
Mike: Oklahoma has been using Ed Cunningham's comments during last year's Russell Athletic Bowl to motivate them for the last 367 days. Who did they play? Clempson? Uh oh. BOOMER! SOONER! 49, Clempsoning 34
Jon: I can't look objectively at this and believe that Clemson will play in a national title game.
Alabama (-9.5) vs. Michigan State
Pat Janssen: Heart or head? Heart or head? My heart wants Michigan State so Nebraska can claim its sixth national championship (it's not any more far-fetched than Ohio State claiming one for 1970). But my head keeps asking questions like, "Is Michigan State's defense capable of stopping Alabama's run game?" "Is Connor Cook healthy?" "Is Connor Cook even good enough to beat Alabama if he is healthy?" A former Spartan quarterback has his doubts (he also thinks Jake Coker is the worst quarterback in the CFP, so it evens out). As much as I'd love to see Sparty pull it off, I don't think it happens. I think Mark Dantonio pulls off a hell of a coaching job and keeps it close, but I think Alabama's talent squeaks it out. Guys in crimson 27, Guys in green 21
Brian: Oh man, this is going to be a throwback delight here. Both Offenses love the I formation, pro-style and such. Both Defenses make a living on stopping the run. Two cranky ass, successful Head Coaches who give none of a rat's ass what you think.
I think Bama wins this game, but I wouldn't put my world on it. They love the whole disrespect thing in East Lansing, but Alabama can self-motivate themselves so big, it's amazing to see time and time again. That being said, Saban has shown the last couple of years that having a month to prep for a game like this hasn't helped much.
Clemson vs. Alabama in Arizona.
Jon: Who would you want to quarterback your team - Connor Cook or Jake Coker? I don't think it's even close, even though for some reason the national media has chosen to paint Cook as some kind of bad guy over the past few weeks. Sparty is going to do their best to stuff the run and force Coker to throw - that's pretty obvious. On offense, Sparty will do their best to be balanced and capitalize on shots downfield. If Sparty can do both these things, they're going to win, and I believe they will. Michigan State 31, Alabama 24
Mike: Both teams love to run the ball, and both teams love to play great defense. But truth be told, ‘Bama's defense is better. But college football is now a quarterback driven game, and Sparty has the better quarterback. Connor Cook is a winner, and he's healthy again. Sparty 23, Tide 21.