The second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide take on the unbeaten Clemson Tigers in the National Championship. Alabama has their eyes set on a fourth title in seven years to cement the Nick Saban era. Both teams pulled away in the second half of their semifinal matchups Bama thru the air and the Tiger on the ground pounding the Sooner defense for over 301 rushing yards.
During Alabama’s dynasty one kryptonite in the majority of their losses has been a mobile quarterback that can make an impact when the play breaks down. The Tigers QB Deshaun Watson fits the dual-threat mode exactly with accuracy on the deep ball to boot. Look for Clemson to run the ball with a mix of Watson and RB Gallman who can also be dangerous catching passes out of the backfield. The Tigers really could benefit with a healed defensive end Shaq Lawson, the nation leader in tackles-for-loss, to play a significant amount of snaps if his knee is up for the task.
Alabama’s game plan will be to attack with their ground game until something big breaks on a long run or opens up deep down the field. 5th year senior QB Jake Coker has improved in the second part of the season and will likely need to make a few plays. Crimson Tide RB Derrick Henry will carry the load and Alabama per-usual will lean on its defense to avoid mistakes on offense.
This game could come down to two key points to decide the outcome. Can Alabama find enough success in the passing game against Clemson’s talented secondary? And will Clemson be able to run the ball effectively to keep Bama’s front seven at bay? Clearly, Alabama has the advantage at running back but the Tigers take pride in rushing the ball and can do it in different ways because of Watson. There is no doubt in this scribes mind that Watson will have to perform at a high level if the Tigers have a legit chance to win.
Look for this national title tilt to be competitive until deep in the second half. Clemson has recruited very well on both sides of the line which is a must facing the fronts of Alabama. A few teams in the SEC are built similar to Clemson and managed to hang around versus Alabama but failed to close the door. Monday night will find out if they can pull off the upset. Although this contest is decided late Alabama will finish off Clemson and claim yet another national title trophy.
The Pick: Alabama 26 Clemson 23
Written by Chris Carlson Host of “The College Ball Show” blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio