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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson - Photo via Grant Halverson - Getty Images

College Football Playoff Preview: The Clemson Tigers

This time, we go back two years ago with the Clemson Tigers.

Defending ACC Atlantic Division Co-Champs and 11-2 after a Chic-Fil-A Bowl win.  If could ever beat Florida State they could win their ACC division and likely the conference.

It was another rough outing against the Seminoles.  Clemson entered the game ranked eighth  in the nation, 6-0 and playing in Death Valley against redshirt-freshman and eventual Heisman Winner, Jameis Winston. It looked like a hard battle for the young FSU QB, until the game started.

A very lopsided game was the result.  A final of 51-14 for Florida State.  Clemson could not get a shot at the ACC title as Florida State went unbeaten. The Tigers did win the 2013 Orange Bowl against Ohio State that year, 40-35.

In 2014; with no more Tahj Boyd, Clemson had to find a QB.  Without a proven starter, Clemson traveled to Tallahassee.  Sean Maguire started in place of the suspended Jameis Winston.  A boring, low scoring game went to OT and Clemson fell short again 23-17.

Season in a Snapshot

Going in to 2015, Clemson finally had a QB they could rely on in Dashaun Watson.  With star defensive end Vic Beasley gone, the question was defense.  After a stormy 24-22 win over the Fighting Irish, the question was answered.  They were/are good enough.

A few weeks later would come the ultimate test.  Florida State entered with one loss, Clemson again unbeaten, but the Tigers finally break through 23-13, and make it to the ACC championship game.

Facing off against a one loss North Carolina, Clemson survived over the surprisingly offensive minded Tar Heel’s 45-37.  The Tigers were helped by a controversial off-sides call that went their way and they recovered an on-side kick to end the late UNC rally.

Team Strengths

Clemson has a really high powered pass offense. The pass rush is elite.  The passing game creates running opportunities.

Team Weaknesses

The overall defense is average at best.   If you can contain QB Dashaun Watson, you shut down half the offense due to the system.

Playoff Forecast

Even with the best QB and the best spread in the playoffs, Clemson will still have to make stops to win games.  And the late game rally’s by opponents will have to be prevented. If they can, they have a great shot at winning the College Football Playoff.

Well thanks for reading again!

Next up is a preview of the Oklahoma Sooners.

Derrick Henry vs Florida in 2015 SEC Championship game - Dale Zanine - USA Today Sports

College Football Playoff Preview: The Alabama Crimson Tide

Three years ago, Alabama was rolling with back-to-back beat downs of LSU and Manti Teo’s #1 Notre Dame.  With AJ McCarron coming back for his senior season in 2013 and another top recruiting class, it seemed almost a given that this Alabama team would complete the first three-peat in BCS history.

Little did they know, they would run into an Auburn “Team of Destiny, as they edged Alabama on a kick that was just not quite enough.

In the 2014 season, Alabama looked good, until they ran into a red hot Ole Miss, losing 23-17, with Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace putting the game away late.

Alabama would overcome the loss and win their way to the SEC Championship game.  Amari Cooper and the Tide would roll through Mizzou, and play another red hot Ohio State.   Alabama was up 21-3 only to see Ohio State roar back and win 42-35 with Ezekiel Elliot setting bowl records with rushing yards.

2015 Season SnapShot

The year started off with a QB controversy between Cooper Bateman and Jake Coker.  Coker would be the starter for the season opener in Dallas against Wisconsin. The Tide rolled 35-17, but two games later,  Coker couldn’t hold on to the job and Cooper Bateman started against Ole Miss.  After a terrible start, 11/14, 87 yards, a INT, with a QBR of 48.3, Coker came in to try to save the day.

In a crazy game of ups and downs, Alabama would give the ball up 4 times in the 43-37 loss to Ole Miss.  But Jake Coker solidified his role as starter and the Tide has not looked back.

Once again Bama made it to the SEC championship game, and once again Alabama would roll, this time over Florida.  Derek Henry needed multiple briefcases to carry home all of his awards.  Even winning the biggest award FBS has to offer, the Heisman Trophy.

The only blemish so far on 2015 is the loss of defensive coordinator Kirby Smart who is leaving next year to become the head coach of Georgia.

Team Strengths

The front 7 on this defense is monstrous.  They can hold up to any offensive line in the country.  The same goes for the Alabama offensive line, which of course helps the run game.  And don’t forget Derek Henry, Heisman winner, Maxwell award winner.  Need anything else?  SEC single season rushing record?

Team Weaknesses

The lack of depth at running back and on the offensive line is a concern heading into the playoffs.  Jake Coker still doesn’t look as good as he looked at Florida State.  On defense, the secondary is still susceptible to a high-speed and up-tempo offense.

Playoff Forcast

The Alabama front seven on defense is the best and deepest in the field.  If they can slow the game down, and force a defensive dual, Alabama should have the CFP locked up.

Well there ya’ll have it.  This is the first of a four-part series.  Next up, the Clemson Tigers!

Have a good day. See yall later.