Expert Cappers Picks
College Football
Oklahoma vs Alabama
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 29, 2018
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida


1. Top-seeded Alabama begins pursuit of a second straight College Football Playoff title and third in five seasons when it matches up with fourth-seeded Oklahoma in a semifinal game at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The Crimson Tide sailed through the regular season without a close call before notching a 35-28 victory over Georgia in the SEC championship game. The Sooners engaged in several shootouts during a one-loss campaign and are back in the CFP for the third time in the past four seasons.

2. Oklahoma junior Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy over Alabama sophomore Tua Tagovailoa and both quarterbacks put up superb statistics. Murray passed for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns against seven interceptions and also rushed for 892 yards and 11 scores, while Tagovailoa threw for 3,353 yards and 37 touchdowns and was only picked off four times. While Murray ponders whether to change his plan of playing professional baseball (he signed with the Oakland Athletics) in favor of the NFL, Tagovailoa has the more immediate concern of recovering from the left ankle surgery he underwent earlier this month while also dealing with season-long issues with his right knee.

3. While they are the top two scoring teams in the nation - Oklahoma at 49.5 points per game, Alabama at 47.9 - the Crimson Tide have a huge edge when it comes to defensive performance. Alabama ranks fourth in scoring defense (14.8) and held eight opponents to 17 or fewer points while the Sooners (32.4 per game) gave up 40 or more five times, including in four straight November games. Oklahoma's lone blemish is a 48-45 loss to Texas on Oct. 6 and the unit faces a huge challenge in slowing down an Alabama attack that rolled up 45 or more points on nine occasions.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Alabama -14.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA (12-1, 8-1 Big 12): The status of junior All-American receiver Marquise Brown may remain unclear until close to game day after he suffered a left lower-leg injury in the Big 12 title game victory over Texas. Brown has 75 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdown receptions as one of a strong cast of standout skill players that include sophomore wideout CeeDee Lamb (57 for 1,049 and 10 scores), redshirt freshman back Kennedy Brooks (1,021 yards, 12 touchdowns) and sophomore runner Trey Sermon (928 yards, 12 scores). The suspect defense has solid stalwarts in sophomore middle linebacker Kenneth Murray (140 tackles, four sacks) and senior weak-side linebacker Curtis Bolton (130 stops, four sacks).

ABOUT ALABAMA (13-0, 8-0 SEC): Tagovailoa also has an All-American target in wideout Jerry Jeudy (59 catches for 1,103 yards and 12 touchdowns) while fellow sophomore Henry Ruggs III (42 catches, 724 yards) also has been a big-play target with 10 scoring receptions. Junior All-American defensive tackle Quinnen Williams put together one of the top campaigns of any defensive player in the nation with 18 tackles for loss - including eight sacks - while making 66 stops. Junior All-American safety Deionte Thompson (two interceptions, four forced fumbles) and sophomore linebacker Dylan Moses (team-high 76 tackles) are also enjoying strong campaigns.

PREDICTION: Oklahoma 40, Alabama 38
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Oklahoma 12-1 W7 49.5 32.4 8-1 4-0 9-1 0-0 9-1
Alabama 13-0 W13 47.9 14.8 8-0 5-0 11-0 0-0 9-0
Last Meeting
Oklahoma Alabama
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
1/2/14 OKLA 45 ALA 31 429 81 348 516 129 387
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Oklahoma T. Knight 72.7 348 4 1
Alabama A. McCarron 63.3 387 2 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Oklahoma B. Clay 17 44 2.6 0
Alabama D. Henry 8 100 12.5 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Oklahoma L. Bester 6 105 17.5 1
Alabama D. White 3 139 46.3 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Oklahoma J. Saunders 2
Alabama D. Henry 2
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Oklahoma K. Murray 70.9 4053 40 7
Alabama T. Tagovailoa 67.7 3353 37 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Oklahoma K. Brooks 113 1021 9.0 12
Alabama D. Harris 126 771 6.1 7
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Oklahoma M. Brown 75 1318 17.6 10
Alabama J. Jeudy 59 1103 18.7 12
Touchdowns Player TD
Oklahoma K. Brooks 12
Alabama J. Jacobs 14
Quickchart Matchup
Oklahoma Oklahoma Off vs  Alabama Alabama Def
Oklahoma 578.1 yards
Alabama 296.2 yards
Oklahoma 6.7 yards/rush
Alabama 3.4 yards/rush
Oklahoma 11.6 yards/attempt
Alabama 5.9 yards/attempt
Alabama Alabama Off vs  Oklahoma Oklahoma Def
Alabama 527.6 yards
Oklahoma 448.1 yards
Alabama 5.3 yards/rush
Oklahoma 4 yards/rush
Alabama 11.3 yards/attempt
Oklahoma 8.2 yards/attempt