THURSDAY'S BOWL GAMES
Orange Bowl (CFP semifinal)
OKLAHOMA (11-1) vs. CLEMSON (13-0)
When: 1 p.m. (ESPN). Where: Miami Gardens, Fla.
Line: Oklahoma by 4. Series: Tied 2-2.
Story line: Clemson is seeking its first national title since 1981 and trying to become the first team in Football Bowl Subdivision history to finish 15-0. None of that happens unless the Tigers can get past Oklahoma, a team they routed 40-6 last season in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Sooners are perhaps the hottest team in the country — averaging 52 points over their last seven games — and are eager to show just how far they've come since their last bowl appearance. Both quarterbacks are worth watching. Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, a former walk-on, has completed 68.6% of his passes for 3,389 yards and 35 touchdowns with five interceptions. Clemson's Deshaun Watson was a Heisman Trophy finalist who has completed 69.5% of his passes for 3,512 yards and 30 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He also is the Tigers' second-leading rusher, with 887 yards.
Cotton Bowl (CFP semifinal)
MICHIGAN STATE (12-1) vs. ALABAMA (12-1)
When: 5 p.m. PST (ESPN). Where: Arlington, Texas.
Line: Alabama by 10. Series: Alabama leads, 1-0.
Story line: Alabama is trying to erase the memory of last season's College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Ohio State. The Crimson Tide was about a 10-point favorite against a Big Ten Conference champion in that game too. Michigan State is looking for its third straight major bowl victory after winning the Rose and Cotton bowls to end the last two seasons. A key matchup will take place in the middle of the line, where 6-foot-6 Michigan State nose tackle Malik McDowell goes against Alabama's Ryan Kelly, the Rimington Trophy winner as the best center in the nation. Alabama wants to run Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry between the tackles. To do it, Kelly will have to handle McDowell.
HOUSTON (12-1) vs. FLORIDA STATE (10-2).
When: 9 a.m. PST (ESPN). Where: Atlanta.
Line: Florida State by 7. Series: Houston leads, 12-2-1.