I only had to make decisions on two races, and only then because the vote (two for each match) split.
#5 LSU v. #8 Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl)
The mass of red in the stands of the Cotton Bowl turn the tide when a late comeback attempt by the Hokies ends just short of the first-down marker on fourth down. But what relative home field giveth, it can also taketh away. The #3 and #12 offenses in the country promise to light up the scoreboard – but not if the #9 and #20 defenses (the latter of which gives up the third-fewest yards per game) have anything to say about it. LSU relies on its #12 rushing attack, but it will have to contend with the #11 run defense of the Sooners. Oklahoma is more balanced, with a #18 rushing game and #26 passing game, but LSU is #18 and #17 at stopping the run and pass, respectively. It’s like they’re set up to counter each other!
#2 Georgia v. #11 USC (Rose Bowl)
Ohio State gets a surprise from a Georgia team that comes ready to match them on defense, as the Buckeye offense is exposed in a tight 7-6 Georgia victory that ends on an interception by the Bulldog defense snuffing a late comeback attempt. Things don’t get any easier for the Bulldogs, as they now have to travel far from home to play a team that some say should be seeded a lot higher. USC’s defense is not much worse than Ohio State’s – fourth in points, second in total yardage, eighth in passing defense, fourth in run defense – but it also does not have that great an offense, and if Georgia can handle Ohio State they can handle USC. As with Ohio State, USC’s offensive strength comes on the run.
All polls expire New Year’s Day at 5pm PT.