Photo by Michael Kinney
By Michael Kinney
On the afternoon of Oct. 26, the sky was falling. At least that is the way fans around the University of Oklahoma seemed to be feeling after the Sooners fell 48-41 to Kansas State.
At the time the playoff hopes for OU seemed dashed. The general feeling around the nation that they had lost any chance of winning a national championship.
However, as coach Lincoln Riley has become fond of saying, this a situation they had been in before and encouraged his team to play out and see what happens.
Six weeks later the wait and see approach paid off. The Sooners heard their name called Sunday afternoon as one of the four teams to make the 2019 College Football Playoffs.
Oklahoma (12-1) earned the No. 4 seed. They will face off with No. 1 LSU (13-0) Dec. 28 the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
“We’re really, really excited to be back in the Playoff. A lot of teams start with that dream, and for this team to accomplish all we have up to this point and give ourselves an opportunity to keep playing and face a great team like LSU in the semifinals is reflective of everyone’s hard work and focus,” Riley said. “It’s going to be fun and we’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
The other semifinal game will feature No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) and No. 3 Clemson (13-0). Their matchup will take place Dec. 28 at the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona.
The 52nd annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will be held at 3 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and will be nationally televised by ESPN. The winner will advance to play for the College Football Playoff National Championship in New Orleans on Jan. 13.
“The road to the National Championship once again comes through Atlanta this year as we host our second College Football Playoff Semifinal,” said Bob Somers, Peach Bowl chairman. “Both of these teams have had outstanding seasons and we are thrilled to welcome them to Atlanta, the Capital of College Football, where they will face off with the chance to march on to glory and a berth in the College Football Playoff National Championship.”
While Oklahoma is making its fourth playoff appearance in the past five years, this will be LSU’s first-ever trip. The Sooners are 0-3 in their previous semifinals.
The Sooners and Tigers have a recent championship history. LSU defeated a Bob Stoops led Oklahoma squad 21-14 in the 2004 BCS Championship.
LSU does have familiarity with OU quarterback Jalen Hurts from his three years at Alabama.
We’ve obviously played against him before,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “He actually beat us with his feet, he played great with his feet.”
This will be Oklahoma’s first trip to the Peach Bowl.
The Sooners are coming off a 30-23 overtime victory against Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Saturday. The Tigers destroyed Georgia 37-10 in the SEC championship.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better game with the Big 12 champion against the SEC champion,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl CEO and president. “We’ve got a showdown between two storied programs that have combined for 10 National Championships and 65 conference championships, and feature two of the nation’s most prolific offenses led by two of the country’s best quarterbacks.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider