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The Gift of a Great Playoff

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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We appear to be in for a treat this postseason, with New Year's Day awaiting as college football's Christmas morning

College football has given us a gift this holiday season, a present that doesn't come with a bow, but with a bracket, instead. This year's playoff is poised to be the most-dynamic to date, with defending champion Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama all ready for the big stage. Each program ranks in the top 25 for total victories in college football at any level. For all of the debate about who would finish 4th and 5th in the final poll, the Crimson Tide and Sooners slot 6th and 7th, among FBS schools, for all-time wins. These lights don't unplug. 

Anticipation, for fans, won't fade through Christmas as these are the types of pairings that are as compelling as they are consequential.

Alabama-Clemson has become college football's sliced ham. The two powers have split the last two national championship games. Heading into a best-of-three rubber match, the final count shows just how close the margin has been; the running tally is currently 76-75, Crimson Tide. Fittingly, the Tigers won last season's showdown on a game-winning touchdown pass with one second remaining. Alabama-Clemson III, this time in the Sugar Bowl, should be as competitive as ever, as the two teams stand one-two nationally in scoring defense.

Rare for a pair of long-tenured contenders, Georgia and Oklahoma have never before met. Their debut dual will be in the Rose Bowl. The Bulldogs have not played in Pasadena since 1943, while the Sooners have also made just one trip, in 2003. Georgia, led by Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith at linebacker, ranks third in the country in scoring defense. Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma lead college football in total offense. The contrast of styles, especially on this stage, is fascinating. 

We appear to be in for a treat this postseason, with New Year's Day awaiting as college football's Christmas morning. Whatever the national championship matchup, the final gift will likely be the best one.

This holiday won't just leave a trail of wrapping paper and ribbon, but hashmarks, as well.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports