Semifinal Round Summary
The primary discussion has been that the four team playoff format has produced a limited amount of playoff teams who in turn dominate recruiting creating a limited amount of teams making the playoff. Add to that money, ratings, etc and it is almost impossible for a group of five team to make the FF. This is a year where an eight team playoff may have resulted in a 5-8 seed at least winning one game if not two. Case in point was the Gators, down 10 starters and 25 players thus writing the Cotton Bowl off as a scrimmage, resulting in an embarrassing Oklahoma rout. OU may have well been that proverbial team that no one wanted to play as they finished strong. Dan Mullen better learn that you have to put your best effort forward in every game. Also, Cincinnati was for real as well.
Quoting NBC golf announcer Dan Hicks (his most famous call on Tiger's tying putt on the 72nd hole in the 08 US Open), "expect anything different". Of course I am referring to the continued futility of Notre Dame competing at the highest level. The Irish, despite their storied history to most of us over 50, just do not recruit at the level of the current elite. Facing an Alabama offense with too many weapons (minus Jalen Waddle), the Tide scored on their 1st three drives and never looked back 31-14. Brian Kelly was well aware of the criticism as ND had a backdoor cover TD, forced an onside kick and actually called a TO with one second left trying to save face.
The second playoff game produced a surprising result as Ohio St dominated Clemson 49-28. The game pitted the top 2 QB recruits of 2018, Georgia natives Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Clemson started fast but OSU scored on five consecutive drives for a 35-14 lead and essentially the game. Fields threw for 6 TDs and likely played himself back into the 2nd pick in the draft behind Lawrence. This was despite playing with maybe broken ribs after a vicious hit. If there was ever a "revenge is a dish best served cold" game, this was it. The OSU staff had the score of last year's game displayed everywhere in the training room for a year making it personal. As for Clemson, this is the first chink in their armor I have seen in a while as their offensive line is average for an elite team.
If Fields is healthy we could see a great title game, something like we saw in the SEC Title Game.
I didn't expect Ohio State to dominate like they did, so I guess a bit surprising there, but when they play as an underdog they are very dangerous, so not surprised by the win. As you stated, there was a lot of motivation for the last 12 months to stick it to Dabo the Fraud, and they kept pounding them until the end. Hopefully Fields is healthy and we all get a championship for the ages.
I'll also add the ACC was 0-6 in bowl games and the SEC had a lackluster record as well. What Florida and Mullen put on the field was embarrassing.