Oklahoma’s reward for playoff berth? A trip to Orange Bowl vs. top-ranked Alabama


Alabama (13-0) vs. Oklahoma (12-1)

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami

7 p.m. Dec. 29, ESPN

The matchup: Oklahoma emerged from a three-team pack to make the playoffs, edging out Georgia and Ohio State, but the Sooners’ proximity to the Cotton Bowl is the reason their headed to Miami and and Arlington.

Alabama rallied past Georgia on Saturday to remain perfect and win the SEC championship. The Crimson Tide has been ranked No. 1 throughout the season and since CFP rankings were first released. Backup quarterback Jalen Hurts finished off the comeback while starter Tua Tagovailoa sat with an ankle injury. Don’t expect a quarterback controversy, though, entering this national semifinal. Alabama coach Nick Saban said Saturday that the Tagovailoa injury isn’t something that will keep him out long, and the Heisman candidate should be under center in four weeks.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, has its own Heisman candidate, and Kyler Murray could the front-runner after leading the Sooners past Texas on Saturday afternoon for the Big 12 championship. That win avenged the Sooners’ lone loss of the season and put the Sooners back in the playoff. Everyone knows that Oklahoma has the nation’s best offense, a unit that some have said is one of the best in college football history. Murray, who could be playing in his final game before turning to professional baseball (Oakland A’s), has accounted for 51 TDs this season.

Local tie: Tie? Just one. There will be Texans, many from the Metroplex, all over the field for the Sooners. Murray, from Allen, is one of them. So is running back Kennedy Brooks, the redshirt freshman from Mansfield High who helped the Sooners overcome the loss of talented junior running back Rodney Anderson (Katy). Want another? Sophomore Robert Barnes from Southlake Carroll starts at free safety.

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