Watch Clemson-Oklahoma; Alabama-Michigan State New Year’s Eve

Michigan State v Alabama: College Football Playoff

MIAMI, FL, Sporting Alert – The 2015 college football bowl season will come alive on Thursday as the hunt for the College Football Playoff Championship takes center stage on New Year’s Eve.

College Football Playoff Semifinals

No. 1 Clemson will meet No. 4 Oklahoma in the Capital One Orange Bowl before No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Michigan State will do battle in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. Live streaming is on ESPN3.

Colle Football Playoff Semifinal Orange Bowl
Colle Football Playoff Semifinal Orange Bowl:
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Clemson

At the Sun Life Stadium, here in Miami Gardens, FL, the undefeated Tigers (13-0) will hunt its 14th successive victory this season against the Sooners, who seem to be peaking at the right time.

Both programs will be making their College Football Playoff debuts.

Thousands of Clemson and Oklahoma fans crowded the beach on Wednesday night to soak in the Orange Bowl pep rally and both sets of players certainly felt the kind of energy that will inspire them to let loose on the field come game time.

The Tigers have been dominant this season and sit atop of both the college football playoff and AP top 25 polls, but it’s the Sooners who will start as 3.5-point favorites to win this CFP semifinal and move into the championship game, which is set for January 11.

Matchup Predictor – ESPN’s Football Power Index

  • Oklahoma 63.0%
  • Clemson 37.0%

Since losing to Texas earlier this season, Oklahoma (11-1) has been running rampant in the league as it recovered to beat its rivals to the Big 12 title.

After the shocking defeat to the Longhorns on Oct 10, the Sooners went on to win seven straight games and have scored a stunning 364 points during that streak, including two 60-plus games and three games over 50 points. In that period as well, Bob Stoops’ defense has held teams to 19.43 points per game.

Clemson has also been busy doing its thing on offense as well during the last seven games of the season — after piling up 289 points for at an average of 41.3 points per contest.

Expect A High Scoring Game

Come Thursday, college football fans could witness a shootout on the offense, with two fabulous quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson of Clemson — setting up an intriguing matchup.

Watson has thrown for 3,512 yards and 30 touchdowns this season with a 69.5 percent pass completion. The Sophomore has also rushed for 887 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns.

Mayfield, in the meantime, has thrown for 3,389 yards and 35 touchdowns this term, while running back Samaje Perine has piled up 1,291 yards on the ground with 15 touchdowns and receiver Sterling Shepard has taken 79 catches for 1,201 yards and 11 TDs.

This series is tied at 2-2, but Clemson has defeated Oklahoma twice in bowl games, the latest victory coming in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl when the Tigers ran away with a 40-6 victory.

At the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, SEC champions Alabama, which is the only team returning from the first edition of the College Football Playoff from last season — will look to rebound from last year’s semifinal defeat to Ohio State when they tackle Big Ten tournament champion Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.

The Crimson Tide (12-1) will start as 10-point favorites to beat the Spartans (12-1).

Matchup Predictor – ESPN’s Football Power Index

  • Alabama 67.9%
  • Michigan State 32.1%

These teams have met only once before with Alabama cruising to a 49-7 victory in the 2011 Citrus Bowl.

College football fans will get the chance to see Heisman winner Derrick Henry in action for the first time since he won the illustrious trophy and the junior running back is being backed to deliver another strong performance.

Henry enters this game on a good form, having set Alabama single-season records of 1,986 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook has thrown for 2,921 yards and 24 touchdowns this season and is poised for a big New Year’s Eve game. Wide receiver Aaron Burbridge led the Big Ten with 80 receptions for 1,219 yards and seven touchdowns this term.

Michigan State is 11-14 in bowls and edged Baylor 42-41 in the Cotton Bowl last time out in 2014, while Alabama is 35-24-3.

Meanwhile, in the bowl game outside the college football playoff on New Year’s Eve — No. 18 Houston vs and No. 9 Florida State will battle at Georgia Dome in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

College Football Playoff Semifinals
And New Year’s Eve Bowls

Thursday, Dec. 31

Peach Bowl:
No. 18 Houston vs. No. 9 Florida St., Noon, ESPN | ESPN3 | WATCHESPN

Colle Football Playoff Semifinal Orange Bowl:
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Clemson, 4 p.m., ESPN | ESPN3 | WATCHESPN

Colle Football Playoff Semifinal Cotton Bowl:
No. 3 Michigan St. vs. No. 2 Alabama, 8 p.m., ESPN | ESPN3 | WATCHESPN

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