We saw two very different playoff games, some more entrees into the NFL Draft, and some interesting coaching news this week. Let's get into it.
Clemson, LSU headed to National Championship game
We now know who will be playing for the title on January 13 in New Orleans. We saw those two teams get there in very different ways.
First up was the Peach Bowl, and simply put, Oklahoma didn't stand a chance against LSU in their 63-28 loss to the Tigers. Joe Burrow accounted for eight touchdowns -- seven of them passing -- which is the most we've ever seen a player pick up in the history of bowls. Four of those touchdown passes went to Justin Jefferson, who picked up 14 catches for 227 yards. Even with Clyde Edwards-Helaire limited by his hamstring injury, the Tigers had absolutely no issue moving the football against the Sooners' defense.
On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma was able to put up 28 points, but many of those points came in what many like to call "garbage time." Jalen Hurts was awful in the first half and finished 15-of-31 for 217 yards with a pick, and his two rushing touchdowns had nothing to do with deciding the winner. The Sooners had another strong season, but it's the third-straight campaign that they've made the postseason without picking up a win. With Hurts off to the NFL along with star wideout CeeDee Lamb likely to join him, it will be a challenge for the Sooners to make it a fourth-straight appearance.
The Peach Bowl was never in doubt. The Fiesta Bowl -- as expected -- was very much so. Clemson was able to hang on in a thriller to top Ohio State to set up their title game against LSU.
Perhaps the most surprising thing that comes from the victory for the Tigers is that Clemson was able to win despite getting an impressive throwing performance from star quarterback Trevor Lawrence. What Lawrence was able to do, however, was make plays with his legs, including a 67-yard touchdown run where he looked like an elite punt returner or point guard crossing over defenders. He was also able to come up clutch on the final drive that ended with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Travis Etienne, who caught both of Lawrence's scoring throws.
For the Buckeyes, it was a game where supporters will assuredly be upset with some calls that went against them -- and justifiably so, perhaps -- but it's also worth pointing to failure to execute inside of the red zone. The Buckeyes had to settle for three field goals in building a 16-0 lead, and while Clemson faltered offensively early, they just weren't able to put the nail in the coffin. The Big Ten title winners will likely lose Chase Young and J.K. Dobbins to the NFL, but this will still be one of the best teams in college football next year. That will bring little comfort to Ohio State fans right now.
LSU will take on Clemson January 13 in the title game, and on paper, it just might be the best matchup of the CFB playoff era.
USC ousts DC Pendergast, ST coach Baxter
Clay Helton is coming back for the Trojans in 2020. He will not have the same defensive or special team coordinator working with him. On Saturday, USC announced that defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and ST coordinator John Baxter would not return next season.
This news comes after the Trojans were shellacked by Iowa 49-24 in the Holiday Bowl on Friday, and they had issues on defense (obviously) and also allowed a kick return for a touchdown. Pendergast had been the DC for the previous four seasons, while Baxter had been on staff for the last two years and was with the Trojans for eight of the past 10 seasons.
These were not the only big coaching changes, however. Washington decided to part ways with offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan after two years calling plays for the Huskies. Miami also parted ways with OC Dan Enos, and while that move likely would have happened anyway, a shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in their bowl game likely didn't help. Penn State picked their new coordinator of the offense in former Minnesota OC Kirk Ciarrocca, and Kendal Briles was named the OC of Arkansas on Monday.
Eason among early entrees into NFL Draft
Washington will have a new play-caller after the dismissal of Hamden. They'll also have a new signal-caller under center.
Jacob Eason announced on Thursday that he would forego his redshirt season and enter the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-6, 227-pound quarterback had an up-and-down season for the Huskies in leading Washington to an 8-5 record, throwing for 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 64.2 percent of his passes.
There aren't many -- if any -- quarterbacks with stronger arms in this class, but Eason is going to have to improve his footwork and decision-making if he's going to succeed at the highest level. It would be a surprise if he was still on the board at the end of Day 2, and he could be a first-round pick if a team falls in love with the tools.
Appalachian State redshirt junior RB Darrynton Evans also declared for the 2020 draft. He was able to run for 1,484 yards while averaging 5.8 yards per carry, and he added 18 touchdowns for the 13-1 Mountaineers. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound tailback is considered a Day 3 prospect at this stage.
Stanford redshirt junior LB Andrew Pryts entered the transfer portal. The junior had 40 solo tackles in 2019 ... Arkansas redshirt junior RB Rakeem Boyd announced that he'll return for the 2020 season ... LSU junior WR Dee Anderson entered the transfer portal ... Boise State T Ezra Cleveland entered the 2020 NFL Draft ... Notre Dame redshirt junior TE Cole Kmet was given a second-round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Committee, per Pete Sampson of The Athletic ... Syracuse WR Trishton Jackson declared for the 2020 NFL Draft ... Ohio State junior T Thayer Munford, redshirt sophomore C Josh Myers and redshirt sophomore G Wyatt Davis will return to school in 2020 ... Georgia RB D'Andre Swift is questionable for Wednesday's Sugar Bowl against Baylor with a shoulder injury. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer (head) has been cleared for the contest. Wake Forest redshirt junior DE Carlos Basham Jr. will return to the Demon Deacons for his senior season.