Last year, the College Football Playoff semifinals took place on New Year’s Day. This year, they’ll take place on New Year’s Eve, with No. 1 Clemson facing No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl at 4 p.m. ET, and No. 2 Alabama facing No. 3 Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl at 8 p.m. ET.

If you don’t like the playoff taking place on New Year’s Eve, well, you had better get used to it. The playoff will coincide with the Times Square ball-drop in eight of the next 11 years.

“I don’t like it,” three-time SEC Coach of the Year and CBS Sports Network college football analyst Houston Nutt said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I really don’t. I like when there’s a build up. I like the smaller bowls (going first) and you build this thing up and you get the Final Four, you get to the playoff games. But it is what it is. I love it when the semis are on New Year’s Day and everyone else is before that.”

As for the games, Nutt likes Alabama over Michigan State in a close one.

“I really think they’ve been there, they understand this is it, and Derrick Henry, to me, is a big-time beast,” Nutt said. “Calvin Ridley is really coming on. When you start to crowd the line of scrimmage, I really think he’s a playmaker that can make things happen. This defense knows how to get offenses off the field.”

Nutt believes the Orange Bowl will be close as well.

“I think both sides are so explosive, and I think anybody can beat anybody,” Nutt said. “It’s just going to come down to who has that rhythm, who has everybody hitting on all cylinders, because both of these teams have playmakers. When you look at Deshaun Watson, he’s a defensive coordinator’s nightmare because when you think you got everything all covered, this guy can take off running and make it happen. But Oklahoma, when you got Baker Mayfield, who’s kind of (like Johnny Manziel), he makes things happen, he can extend the play. Sterling Shepard is a tremendous receiver and Samaje Perine along with Joe Mixon is really a tough, tough back that can hurt you. I’m going to lean a little bit to OU, but it’s not going to surprise me if Clemson wins this game. This thing can go either way.”


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