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College Football Playoff predictions: SN experts pick Alabama, but can Ohio State upset Clemson?

The Faculty Soccer Playoff semifinals will ring in 2021, and there are 4 heavyweights on the state for New Yr’s Day.   

No. 1 Alabama meets No. 4 Notre Dame within the Rose Bowl Sport – which was relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. No. 2 Clemson meets No. 3 Ohio State within the Sugar Bowl in a rematch of final yr’s thrilling semifinal.   

Sporting Information workers presents its predictions for this yr’s semifinal video games:   

MORE: Predicting every 2020-21 college football bowl game

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Alabama vs. Notre Dame predictions 

Invoice Bender: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 23   

Alabama suffered a key loss with heart Landon Dickerson’s season-ending knee damage within the SEC championship sport, and that one thing to observe early within the sport. Can Notre Dame match up on the inside strains on each side of the ball? We bear in mind what occurred final time within the BCS championship sport when the reply was an emphatic, ‘No.’ Notre Dame quarterback Ian E book will make a couple of huge throws early, however Alabama presents too many matchup issues on the perimeter with its explosive offense. Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith join for a pair of TDs, and Najee Harris runs for 3 extra.

Zac Al-Khateeb: Alabama 45, Notre Dame 24  

Alabama’s trio of Mac Jones, Najee Harris and SN Participant of the Yr DeVonta Smith might be an excessive amount of for Notre Dame to deal with. Do not be shocked, nevertheless, if the Crimson Tide’s offense is sluggish out of the gates with heart Landon Dickerson out. Ian E book will string collectively some scoring drives, however search for Alabama’s protection to step up after a subpar efficiency in opposition to Florida.

Vinnie Iyer: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 21 

The Crimson Tide have an excessive amount of pop round Mac Jones with Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith and others to be cooled down by a restricted Irish protection. Ian E book can have an excessive amount of on him to return by and can make extra key errors than huge performs in making an attempt to make this a shootout.

MORE: Notre Dame-Alabama betting preview

Matt Lutovsky: Alabama 52, Notre Dame 21  

Alabama can title the rating right here. We is likely to be underestimating Notre Dame’s offense, however irrespective of how good it’s, Alabama will be capable to rating extra. How do you cease a staff with three reliable Heisman trophy candidates? You do not. Simply ask the remainder of the SEC, who gave up over 49 factors per sport to the Tide throughout the common season.

Mike DeCourcy: Alabama 44, Notre Dame 10

If the Irish had the stuff of champions, they’d not have wilted within the crimson zone twice within the early minutes of their second sport in opposition to Clemson. It was apparent they would wish to attain lots to maintain tempo with Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers, as a result of they’d needed to with a purpose to maintain tempo along with his backup and finally prevail in time beyond regulation of their first assembly. This time, they did not. It has been some time since a Brian Kelly staff stood as much as the stress of a single, decisive sport, most likely going all the best way again to the Cincinnati-Pitt sport in 2009. He then walked away from an undefeated staff and its bowl matchup to as a substitute recruit at his new job, and what’s occurred since? Destroyed within the 2018 CFP semifinals, destroyed within the 2012 BCS Championship sport, a couple of wins in minor bowls. Sorry. It is simply laborious to imagine in them.

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Clemson vs. Ohio State predictions   

Invoice Bender: Clemson 34, Ohio State 31   

The temptation to choose Ohio State is there. Justin Fields can have success in opposition to Clemson’s secondary with the tandem of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, and Trey Sermon’s emergence within the Massive Ten championship sport is the lacking piece. The Buckeyes had this sport final yr, too. The distinction this time? Trevor Lawrence has extra time within the pocket, and he is in a position to exploit that with a couple of deep photographs. It may be a shootout, and the Buckeyes can win this sport and show Dabo Swinney fallacious. Lawrence, nevertheless, will get yet another title shot by breaking Ohio State’s coronary heart once more within the last minutes.  

Zac Al-Khateeb: Clemson 38, Ohio State 21 

The Tigers are peaking on the proper time, and Dabo Swinney can use his manufactured feud with Ryan Day to amp his staff up additional. Trevor Lawrence, who proved his worth to Clemson in a rout of Notre Dame within the ACC title sport, should not have any points in opposition to the Massive Ten’s worst passing protection. Justin Fields will make performs, however not sufficient to maintain Ohio State aggressive.

Vinnie Iyer: Clemson 34, Ohio State 24  

Trevor Lawrence is burning up once more whereas Justin Fields stays a bit of off from the bizarre common season. This may not be a replay of final season as Lawrence is locked in for his last run at a nationwide championship. Dabo Swinney’s gamesmanship will get backed up by his gamers.

MORE: Clemson-Ohio State betting preview

Matt Lutovsky: Clemson 27, Ohio State 24  

Trevor Lawrence would be the distinction in a sport that is sure to get a bit of chippy. Ohio State’s protection didn’t impress throughout its quick common season, whereas Clemson’s led the ACC in whole protection, scoring protection, and go protection and completed second in run protection.

Mike DeCourcy: Ohio State 31, Clemson 28

The time without work following the Massive Ten Championship sport has not been as ample because it ordinarily could be, however nonetheless it has to assist the Buckeyes to get nearer to full energy getting into an important a part of their schedule. That is the rationale All-People Wyatt Davis and Shaun Wade had been so wanting to return to campus as soon as the Massive Ten season was reestablished. This sport. This occasion. COVID points left them at decrease energy for the Northwestern sport, and Northwestern performs glorious protection, anyway. So OSU’s modest efficiency there has led many to conclude this sport has been determined. But when the Clemson protection permits the Buckeyes the alternatives that had been offered to Notre Dame within the ACC Championship, the Bucks will seize the chance.

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