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Dean's List: Thoughts On The College Football Playoff

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Early thoughts on OU's matchup with Clemson in the national semifinal game in Miami on New Year's Eve.

+As predicted, OU has been established as a favorite in its semi-final game with Clemson. Odd, since the committee that is full of wise football people, is supposed to rely a great deal on the eye test before making their final rankings. If OU is a two-and-a-half point favorite over the No. 1 seed then they'd be up to a 7-point favorite over the Michigan State team that jumped the Sooners into the three hole. And by bumping OU to No. 4, the committee took them from fan-friendly Dallas to a place where they will be at a decided -- and I mean a decided fan disadvantage.

+Can OU make up the dramatic difference in performance these teams had in the Russell Athletic Bowl when Clemson won 40-6 and could've named the score? It was not a fluke. Remember, they did it without QB Deshaun Watson!

+OU's offense is much stronger than what they threw out there in the bowl game. Baker Mayfield's emergence has been stunning. Just look at what the offense and defense did after Mayfield went out with the concussion at halftime of the TCU game. But OU's offensive line will be matched up against a massive, talented Clemson defensive front with athletes across the board. And remember, Brent Venables went against Mike Leach, and OU's string of coordinators' Air Raid offenses every single day in practice for years.  

+Other side of the ball, Clemson's  run/pass effectiveness will be a challenge for a Sooner defense that won its three big games down the stretch without their starting QBs. Duel threat QBs/teams have caused OU problems. And Clemson is THE BEST when it comes to the run/pass threat.

+Watson may finish second in the Heisman. So according to Heisman voters, we'll have the two top QBs in college football going head to head.

+From a numbers standpoint, in offensive efficiency, OU ranks 9th, Clemson 13th. And defensively, Clemson 2nd and OU 4th.

+OU OC Lincoln Riley interviewed for the SC job but early Sunday morning Will Muschamp emerged as the new Gamecock coach. Bottom line, Riley's minute by minute involvement in game planning and practice is absolutely required. Keep in mind East Carolina has not named a coach. Don't know if Riley would take the job, but it's vacant and just something to keep in mind. He'd not leave the Sooners high and dry. But with his first head coaching job, he'd find it hard satisfy two masters; impossible to be at your best doing double-duty. 

+Kirk Herbrstreit believes OU is the most complete team in college football. He's been on the bandwagon all year. Even pegging them in the playoff before the first game.   

+Did the committee make sure to keep OU and Bama on opposite sides to help chances to have the two Blue Bloods meet in a classic title game? Perhaps some. But clearly with some, not playing a Big 12 Conference Championship game yesterday had a negative effect as well.

+So OU avoids Goliath (Alabama). But they lose out on a decided home field advantage which they would've had in Dallas.

+I'll never forget the OU Clemson game in Florida (1989 Citrus Bowl). Not only for controversial issues surrounding and in the game; not only because it was Barry Switzer's final OU game; but because there was orange everywhere. Clemson had up to a 10-1 fan advantage over OU. It won't be that much this time, but it will be huge.

OU has its work cut out for it. This time there are no excuses. But effectively playing a road game against a duel-threat team means the Sooners will have to max out to advance. But for Sooner fans, it beats a stick in the eye. And it beats where this program was the last time OU and Clemson met.

Game on!

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