College Football Playoff: Q&A with Clemson FanSided Editor


“Stormin in Norman” posed several questions to Andrew Broadwine, editor of “Rubbing the Rock,” the Clemson website in the FanSided network of sports and entertainment topics, regarding the College Football Playoff.

Similarly, Broadwine shared a five-question Q&A with Stormin in Norman, seeking a perspective on the New Year’s Eve matchup between top-ranked Clemson and No. 4 Oklahoma. You can view that Q&A by clicking here.

Q: Are the Clemson coaches/players at all concerned about the extra motivation Oklahoma will muster because of the way the Sooners lost last year’s postseason matchup between the two schools?

Dec 29, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates as the Clemson Tigers beat the Oklahoma Sooners 40-6 in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Rubbing the Rock: In my opinion, it may have crossed their minds, but for the most part they (Clemson) are focused on this season. The coaching staff and the players for Clemson know that this is a different Oklahoma team from last year and that things are not going to go down the way they did a year ago. Clemson has plenty of motivation itself after being considered an underdog against Oklahoma despite the Tigers being the No. 1 team in the nation. So I believe while the Sooners might have a little extra motivation for this game, I don’t think last year’s game comes into play.

Q: What are the key things Clemson must do to defeat Oklahoma?

RTR:  The biggest thing Clemson has to do is contain the Oklahoma running game. The Sooners have one of the top rushing attacks in the nation behind Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, and if the Tigers want to win, they have to find a way to limit the Sooners on the ground. In addition, Clemson’s offense needs to find ways to convert on third down and keep the Oklahoma defense on the field. If the Tigers can limit the Sooners’ rushing attack and convert on third down, I think they have a good chance to pick up the win on Thursday.

Q: What seasonal stat holds the most weight in the Playoff showdown?

RTR: Rushing yardage. Despite the fact that we have two of the best quarterbacks in the nation playing in this game (third and fourth in the recent Heisman balloting), the team with the most yards on the ground will win the game. The key to Clemson winning the game is stopping the Oklahoma rushing attack. The same can be said for the Sooners. The defense that does the best job shutting down the run will give their team a huge advantage and a greater chance of winning the game.

Dec 29, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive end Vic Beasley (3) celebrates with wide receiver Mike Williams (7) after scoring a touchdown against the Oklahoma Sooners during the first quarter of the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Q: Offense or defense: Which performance is most likely to determine the outcome of the game and why?

RTR: Without a doubt, it’s the defense, in my opinion. The team that plays better on the defensive side of the ball is going to win this game. Both teams have explosive offenses and are capable of producing big plays and plenty of points, but the defense that gets off the field more times will end up winning the game.

Q: Most Valuable Player in the game and your prediction?

RTR: The MVP in this year’s Orange Bowl Playoff game will be the winning quarterback. Both young men (Deshaun Watson of Clemson and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma) have performed well all season, and it will be interesting to see who ends up hoisting the Orange Bowl Trophy at the end of the day. From what I have seen, the three weeks of rest have benefited Clemson’s defense, and it has returned to midseason form. If that is true, I will take the Tigers to win this game and move onto the National Championship. But if the Tiger defense plays the way it has the last part of the season, the Sooners will win. My prediction: Clemson 35, Oklahoma 30.