PRIDE Sports: College and NFL Football Playoffs Update

Titans RB Derrick Henry is congratulated by QB Ryan Tannehill after the Tennessee Titans defeated the Houston Texans. (Photo by Donald Page titanonline.com)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for fans of American football, as the college and the NFL playoffs jump off. Let’s take a look at what’s happening with the NCAA and NFL pigskin programs. (Spoiler Alert: The Titans play at New England Saturday January 4 at 7:15pm on CBS.)

HBCU Celebration Bowl Game

The biggest post-season game for HBCU teams is the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for 32,968 fans in attendance and televised live on ABC. North Carolina A&T (9-3, 6-2) of the MEAC defeated Alcorn State (9-3, 6-1) of the SWAC 64-44 on Saturday, December 21, 2019. This amazing re-match of college talent from two black colleges who also faced off in last years Celebration Bowl resulted in a fourth win in five tries for the NCA&T Aggies, their third in a row, who are now arguably the reigning dynasty of Black college football.

Major NCAA Colleges

The national championship game for the NCAA’s large colleges is Monday, January 13, 2020, following a semi-final round of playoff games that were played on Saturday, December 28, 2019.  LSU (13-0)   and Oklahoma (12-1) met in the first semi-final game, the Peach Bowl in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium, while reigning champion Clemson (13-0) fought it out with The Ohio State University (13-0) in the nightcap Fiesta Bowl played in the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The LSU / Oklahoma game was over early as the Bayou Bengals punched the Sooners early and kept pounding them down for the highest scoring BCS playoff game ever, winning 63-28. The Ohio State Buckeyes also punched their opponent early with a quick touchdown and three field goals to take an early 16-0 lead. But the defending champions responded and went on a tear, scoring three touchdowns for 21 unanswered points before finally winning the game 29-23, sending Clemson against LSU to meet to determine the national champion in the New Orleans Louisiana Mercedes Benz Super Dome on Monday, January 13, 2019. That game will be televised live on ESPN.

NFL / Titans

In the National Football League, the Tennessee Titans  traveled to Houston to battle the Houston Texans in NRG Stadium on Sunday, December 29 as they controlled their own destiny for a playoff spot. The Titans would travel to Foxboro to open the playoffs as the sixth seed against the 3rd seeded AFC East champion New England Patriots in the Wild Card round with a victory over the AFC South champion Texans, who were locked into a 4th seed against the wild card Buffalo Bills.

While the Texans rested their starters, the Titans depended on theirs, with Derrick Henry running the ball on 8 of the 10 plays in a drive to open the third quarter and blow the game open 21-7. Henry went on to score his 3rd touchdown of the day in the 4th quarter on a 53 yard scamper that gave him 211 yards on the day and earned him the rushing title for the season with 1,540, and helped give the Titans a huge 35-14 victory over Houston and a playoff berth, their second in three seasons.

So in the AFC playoff picture, the Baltimore Ravens (14-2) and Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) each have a first round bye, while the New England Patriots (12-4) host Tennessee (9-7) Saturday, Jan. 4 at 7:15 pm on CBS, after the Houston Texans host the Buffalo Bills at 3:35 pm on ABC/ESPN.

In the NFC playoff picture, the New Orleans Saints (13-3), Green Bay Packers (13-3), San Francisco 49ers (13-3), and Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) are in, each as its division’s champion. The Minnesota Vikings (10-6) play at New Orleans on Sunday, Jan. 5 at 12:05 pm. The Seattle Seahawks (11-5) clinched the sixth spot and play at Philadelphia Sunday at 3:40 pm on NBC.  All times are CST.