The second CFP Semifinal game will be played between the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0, 1st SEC – West) and the #4 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1, 1st Big 12). The Capital One Orange Bowl will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 8:00 pm ET. It’ll be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL. Our 2018 Orange Bowl pick has the Alabama Crimson Tide at either -14.0 or -15.0. The over/under stands at 76.5 or 77.0.
The Oklahoma Sooners hot only one bump in the road this season. That was when they met #19 Texas. The Longhorns beat the Sooners 48-45. They started the season with five wins in a row, including a 28-21 OT win over Army. Then the Sooners met Oklahoma and after that it was seven more straight victories. In the final two games, Oklahoma took down #13 West Virginia 59-56 and in the Big 12 title match they took revenge on the #14 Longhorns beating them 39-27.
The Crimson Tide season, where they were a perfect 13-0, included wins against four top-25 teams. In the regular season, Alabama beat #22 Texas A&M 45-23, #3 LSU 29-0, and #16 Mississippi State 24-0. The only team that in any way came close to beating the Tide were the #4 Georgia Bulldogs. Alabama and Georgia met in the SEC title game, which the Crimson Tide took 35-28. Otherwise, the smallest margin of victory for “Bama this season was 24 points.
Oklahoma – Analysis
The Oklahoma offense generated 49.5 PPG. The piled up 577.9 offensive yards per game, which included 253.9 YPG in rushing and another 324.0 YPG in passing. Junior QB Kyler Murray (70.9 COMP%, 40 TDs, 7 INTs) is said to be probable with an illness, but he’s said that he’ll be ready to go no matter what. Murray threw for over 4,000 yards this season. He also ran for 890 more, scoring 11 rushing TDs. RBs Kennedy Brooks, a freshman, and Trey Sermon, a sophomore, have has stellar seasons. Brooks ran for 1,021 yards and Sermon for 928. They each scored 12 rushing TDs. Of the wideouts, junior Marquise Brown and sophomore CeeDee Lamb each have over 1,000 receiving yards and each has caught 10 TD passes.
The Sooner defense gave up 32.4 PPG. They allowed almost 450 defensive yards, including 291.4 passing and 156.7 in rushing. Our 2018 Orange Bowl pick notes that the Oklahoma defense isn’t half of what the Alabama D is. The sooners have posted 29 sacks, 73 TFL, and six picks. They also notched 61 PD and seven FF with four recovered.
Alabama – Analysis
The Crimson Tide is averaging 47.9 PPG. They generated 527.6 YPG, which included 325.5 YPG in the air and 202.2 YPG on the ground. Our 2018 Orange Bowl pick notes that star sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa (67.7 COMP%, 37 TDs, 4 INTs), who threw for over 3,300 yards this season, is probable with an ankle injury. If he cannot play, then we expect Jalen Hurts (74.6 COMP%, 8 TDs, 2 INTs) to get the call. Five Crimson Tide receivers have combined for 41 TDs. Sophomore WR Jerry Juedy (59 REC, 18.7 YPC, 12 TDs) leads the team in receptions, TD catches, and receiving yards with 1,103. Senior RB Damion Harris (126 ATT, 771 YDs, 6.1 YPA, 7 TDs) and sophomore RB Najee Harris (102 ATT, 679 YDs, 6.7 YPA, 4 TDs) are the team’s leading rushers.
The Alabama defense was exceptional, allowing opponents a mere 14.8 PPG. Passing yards were kept to 178.4 YPG. Ground yards came in at 117.0 YPG. The defense has posted over 80 TFL and more than 40 sacks. The secondary has defended 69 passes and grabbed 14 passes. They have also forced a dozen fumbles and recovered half of them.
Five Keys to the Game
- Sooners have to stop Alabama offense
- Tide has numerous offensive weapons
- Oklahoma offense is dynamic
- Alabama defense one of tightest around
- Alabama has Nick Saban
Our 2018 Orange Bowl Pick
Looking at this spread in association with how these two teams performed this season, it’s not outrageous. Then again, Georgia kept themselves in their game versus Alabama. However, the Bulldog D allowed just 18.5 PPG. Oklahoma has given up 32.4 PPG. We think that Alabama will be unrelenting in their attack. Our 2018 Orange Bowl pick is the Crimson Tide at -14.0. If Alabama scores around 52, we can see the Sooners putting up around 30, That makes the over at 76.5 look good. Next, go to our Goodyear Cotton Bowl pick featuring #3 Notre Dame and #2 Clemson. Also, you may access the complete bowl schedule and link to spread and total picks for each game by navigating to here.