Ultimate Playoff: Semifinals

Publish date:

No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 USC: In a matchup between the nation's best offense (Oklahoma) and the nation's best defense (USC), something's got to give. But which side will wilt?

Each unit boasts a number of impressive accomplishments. Oklahoma has scored 97 touchdowns in 13 games. USC has yielded just 11 in 12 contests. The Sooners have broken the 50-point barrier nine times. The Trojans have held their opponent to 10 points or less 10 times.

Each unit also possesses a number of Sunday-ready players. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford looks like a future top 10 pick, and RB DeMarco Murray, TE Jermaine Gresham and OLs Phil Loadholt and Duke Robinson all seem to have promising professional careers in their future. Every level of the USC defense features next-level talent -- the D-line (Fili Moala), linebacking corps (Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing) and secondary (Taylor Mays, Kevin Ellison).

So we're left with an age-old question: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object?

No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 Texas: These two powerhouses square off for the first time since 1940. The most glaring subplot in this enticing semifinal is the matchup at the quarterback position. Florida's Tim Tebow and Texas' Colt McCoy were both Heisman finalists and, in this writer's opinion, had the two best arguments to win the coveted hardware: If you dig wire-to-wire dominance, Colt was probably man; if you're a stickler when it comes to that "most outstanding player" definition, Tebow was your pick.

Although the Gators offense primarily relies on the ground game, Urban Meyer may want to take to the air against Texas. The Longhorns rank second in rushing defense ... and 109th in pass defense. Tebow certainly has the ability to take a game over with his accurate arm; his 14-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is one of the most overlooked stats this season. Truth be told, though, some of the Gators' best offense will probably take place with Tebow on the sideline. The Longhorns have consistently given up large chunks of yards on kick returns -- not a good thing when you're going against pint-sized burner Brandon James.

Texas hasn't faced a defense anywhere near as tough as Florida's all season. Luckily, the 'Horns have McCoy, quite possibly the most consistently dominant player in the country this season. With his ability to take off and run, McCoy will undoubtedly draw the attention of Gators MLB Brandon Spikes. Can Colt get the best of the future first-round pick?

Click here to see which team emerged victorious in the EA Sports playoff simulation.

• No. 1 Oklahoma defeats No. 8 Penn State: 30,887 (78 percent) to 8,515 (22 percent).

• No. 2 Florida defeats No. 7 Texas Tech: 28,878 (78 percent) to 8,288 (22 percent).

• No. 3 Texas defeats No. 6 Utah: 31,268 (86 percent) to 5,223 (14 percent).

• No. 5 USC knocks off No. 4 Alabama: 21,664 (57 percent) to 16,138 (43 percent).

• No. 8 Penn State defeats No. 9 Boise State: 47,521 (76 percent) to 14,826 (24 percent).

• No. 7 Texas Tech defeats No. 10 Ohio State: 43,420 (72 percent) to 16,632 (28 percent).

• No. 6 Utah defeats No. 11 Cincinnati: 40,858 (73 percent) to 15,389 (27 percent).

• No. 5 USC defeats No. 12 Virginia Tech: 53,884 (95 percent) to 3,049 (5 percent).