What a Year for a New Year

A new year that we can start by watching college football

Business or pleasure? New Orleans: always for pleasure. (Photo credit: Me)

I’ll get straight to the point (for once). The College Football Playoffs are on New Year’s Day this year, a far better alternative than the New Year’s Eve dates they’ve occurred on for the past two years. The venues are the Rose Bowl with its beautiful backdrop and the Sugar Bowl, which is awesome by association since it’s played in New Orleans. We have college football blue-bloods (each team has won a National Championship), a trilogy rubber-match between the past two champs (Alabama-Clemson), and the polarizing Heisman winner (Baker Mayfield) leading his Oklahoma Sooners against a daunting Georgia defense. Sounds like fun, right?

Rose Bowl- Oklahoma vs. Georgia: Baker Mayfield is one of the most electrifying playmakers that’s played college football in recent memory. Georgia’s pass rush is as fierce as any I’ve seen this season. We may get a chance to see a lot of impromptu scrambles and improvised deep passes from Mayfield. Count me in!

The other matchup: Georgia has great two excellent running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to complement QB Jake Fromm, who has operated an efficient and explosive passing attack. Oklahoma’s defense improved as the season went on, but has certainly shown itself to be susceptible to allowing big plays. Translation: we may see some New Year’s fireworks!

Like an image plucked from a dream. (Photo credit: discoverlosangeles.com)

I foresee another classic game in Pasadena that has me extensively talking about how badly I want to take a trip the Rose Bowl. The advanced statistics point to a narrow Georgia victory. In 2018, I resolve to make practical and well-researched decisions in all aspects of my life. But for now, it’s still 2017 and I’m still relying on my gut! And my gut gravitates toward Baker. So with that being said…Sooners 34- Dawgs 31.

Sugar Bowl- Alabama vs. Clemson: If Georgia vs. Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl is an uncommon blue-blood pairing set in an unfamiliar venue, this matchup and setting seems preordained. Clemson and Bama: Part III, in the Superdome. Many will anoint this as the de facto championship game, but I won’t write off the Rose Bowl winner. Still, these feel like the two best teams.

Contrary to the other semifinal game, I anticipate a low-scoring game as the defenses are the stars of each team in this matchup. Offensively, I believe that Jalen Hurts of Alabama is the better quarterback, but Kelly Bryant has done a stellar job of guiding Clemson’s offense in his first season as a starter. Both quarterbacks are excellent runners and have a bevy of playmakers surrounding them. A few big plays will surely be made, but it will likely be a frustrating night for the offensive coaches of both teams.

Ferocious defensive lines; experienced linebackers; active and opportunistic secondaries. This describes both Clemson’s and Alabama’s defenses. Clemson is slightly better against the pass, thanks in large part to its pass rush being the nation’s best. Alabama has an elite rushing defense, which means that Bryant will likely need to be the star in order for Clemson to prevail.

Saying these teams are so evenly matched that this game is a theoretical coin-flip is cliche. It’s also totally accurate in this instance, so I’ll allow myself to say it. Ultimately, I think that Clemson’s defense will be the best unit in this game and I think that the offense will make a couple big plays to swing field position and create advantages in what will be a standoff between two stubborn-willed squads. Clemson 21- Alabama 20. Told ya it’s a coin flip!

(Photo credit: the author of this piece)

As we say goodbye to 2017, I think we can all agree that we could have been better to one another. We can also be better to ourselves. Let’s focus on making gradual improvements that lead to long-term happiness and wellness. (Maybe this is vague, but I’m trying to be thoughtful so if you’re going to roll your eyes, breathe and meditate on this thought for a few seconds. If you still find it lame, roll your eyes all you want.)

Speaking of meditation, I’d like to meditate more and be calmer, more thoughtful, and more confident in the new year. Whatever you resolve to do in 2018, I believe you can do it! And if you think New Year’s Resolutions are dumb, be kind and keep this to yourself. And remember, You are perfect, which was the constantly reinforced mantra during the greatest personal training seminar that I attended during this or any other year. Check this guy out, by the way; he’s amazing.

Thanks for reading and give ’em hell this year!

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