College Football Playoff National Championship predictions

The second College Football Playoff title game is set. Notre Dame will meet Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve, as Notre Dame will enter as the champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference, having won the ACC championship over Miami on Dec. 1.

Oklahoma State’s success this season has been built on a stout defensive unit that is No. 2 in the country in yards allowed per game, and coach Mike Gundy’s team has limited opponents to just eight points in its past three games. If the Cowboys are to beat Notre Dame, they will need an offense that can mount a consistent drive, something they have found tough to do all season. The Irish’s talented defense — the third-best in the country, according to stats provided by Football Outsiders — has held many opponents to more than a field goal in scoring territory.

Notre Dame’s offense has undergone some significant changes since they played in the playoff semifinal against Georgia. Under new coach Chip Kelly, who took over in midseason, the Irish decided to pair quarterback Ian Book with dynamic running back Josh Adams, both of whom were successful in their first opportunity in an extended role.

The two players have played well together, combining for 1,455 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. They have also both put up impressive yardage numbers, with Book putting up a team-high 15 TDs on the ground and averaging 231 yards of offense per game. He also has thrown for five touchdowns this season.

Adams, meanwhile, has been one of the most productive running backs in the country, setting multiple school records in his first season as the feature back for the Irish. He has rushed for 1,422 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground this season. On top of that, he has also caught 17 passes for 288 yards and two scores.

What Notre Dame faces in Oklahoma State will be a different challenge altogether. In three games against the Cowboys this season, the Fighting Irish have averaged 41 points a game, and they scored 58 points in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State. That game, however, ended in a 45-38 loss for Notre Dame, and this game should follow a similar script.

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