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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

College Football Playoff semifinal preview: a three-part story. 

One part controversy, two parts playoff game prediction
SoFi Stadium showcases the College Football Playoff trophy during the 2022 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, Dec. 17, in Los Angeles.

The Controversy

The College Football Playoff committee selected Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama for the college football playoff on December *Dec. -BW 3.

These selections sparked controversy in the college football world as an undefeated (13-0) and ACC champion Florida State was left out of the playoffs. 

This omission was unprecedented, as this was the first time that an undefeated Power Five Conference champion was left out of the College Football Playoff. 

The committee justified the omission of Florida State with the lack of strength of schedule for the Seminoles, as well as the absence of their star quarterback, Jordan Travis due to a season-ending injury. 

“Florida State is a different team without Jordan Travis,” said College Football Playoff selection committee chair Boo Corrigan following the committee’s selection, Dec. 3.

“One of the things we do consider is player availability, and our job is to rank the best teams, and in the final decision looking at that, it was Alabama at 4 and Florida State at 5” Corrigan said. 

With some of the college football community on edge with the selections the committee made, it will be as important as ever for the four teams that did make it to perform well as some fans may think that the teams that made it may not be deserving. 

This will especially be the case for Texas and Alabama, as they were seemingly put into the playoff instead of Florida State.  

While both teams have won their conference championship, they each have one loss this season (while Florida State is undefeated). 

Florida State will play Georgia in the Orange Bowl the day before the semifinal games, so there will undoubtedly be comparisons between the outcomes of the playoff games and Florida State’s battle. 

The Rose Bowl

No. 4 Alabama will battle No. 1 Michigan in the Rose Bowl at 2 p.m. at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California, Jan. 1, 2024. 

The Michigan Wolverines (13-0) finished undefeated and took home the Big 10 championship this year against the Iowa Hawkeyes. 

Michigan is a program that is known for its presence on the offensive line, but this unit has been collectively battling injuries all season. 

Consequently, the run game will be a huge factor for Michigan, as the offense depends on the production of the backfield tandem Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, who have rushed for a combined 1,410 yards this year. 

Alabama (12-1) will need to focus on winning at the line of scrimmage on defense, to corral these shifty backs. 

Offensively, the SEC champion Crimson Tide will need to lean on the production of quarterback Jalen Milroe, as Michigan has yet to face an athlete behind center like Milroe. 

Milroe is responsible for 468 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground this year for Alabama, so Michigan will need their edge rushers and interior defensive lineman to remain disciplined in their rush lanes, to prevent Milroe from scrambling all over the yard in Pasadena. 

Prediction: Michigan 31 – Alabama 24

Despite a banged-up offensive line and defensive concerns against a running quarterback, I believe the Wolverines will take care of business as Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards will just be too much for the Alabama defense to handle, and the crimson tide will be forced to recede. 

The Sugar Bowl

The Sugar Bowl will feature No. 3 Texas and No. 2 Washington at 5:45 p.m. at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The Pac-12 champion Washington Huskies (13-0) have been nothing but electric this season, leading the nation in passing yards per game with their air raid attack. 

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. led the way for Washington, finishing as a Heisman finalist and throwing for 4,218 yards and 33 touchdowns through 13 games. 

Washington will lean on the dynamic wide receiver trio of Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, and Ja’lynn Polk, who accounted for 2,896 receiving yards this season. 

Texas (12-1) will need to come to play against this Huskies offense, or it could be a long night for the secondary. 

The Big 12 champion Longhorns have a much more balanced attack offensively, ranking in the top 25 in both total passing and total rushing offense this season. 

Prediction: Texas 31 – Washington 21

While Washington can throw the ball better than anyone in the country, I believe that Texas is way better equipped for this matchup because of their physicality advantage all across their roster. 

The scheme that Washington runs is amazing, but the physicality that Texas has played with all year will be enough for Bevo to trample Harry and get revenge for last year’s Alamo Bowl. 

Both semifinal games will be broadcast on ESPN.

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About the Contributors
Zach is a junior multimedia journalism major from Clarkston, Washington. He likes football and grew up going to Cougar football games.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.

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  • AGDec 26, 2023 at 11:04 am

    Roll tide!! Cmon dale.