College Football Playoff National Championship Prediction, Alabama vs. Clemson Game Preview, History, Scores
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Three reasons why you should watch the College Football Playoff National Championship between Alabama (14-0) vs. Clemson (13-1), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.
Date: Monday, January 9th
Game Time: 8:30 pm
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
College Football Playoff National Championship History
January 12, 2015: Ohio State 42, Oregon 20
January 11, 2016: Alabama 45, Clemson 40
Three Honest Thoughts on the College Football Playoff National Championship
J.T. Barrett vs. Lamar Jackson
To be fair to Barrett, he had a really, really tough day against Clemson, but the entire Ohio State team let him down. He missed a few key throws, and he didn’t run well, but the Tiger defense had plenty to do with that.
Barrett’s receiving corps didn’t help, either.
On the other side, Lamar Jackson went off on the Tiger D, throwing for almost 300 yards in comeback mode, while taking off for 162 yards and two scores.
Virginia Tech’s Jerod Evans gave Clemson a world of problems, but Florida State’s Deondre Francois had a rough day.
So what will the Clemson defense do against another all-around quarterbacking talent in Jalen Hurts, and what will Hurts do against the Clemson D, especially because …
Oh yeah, Alabama has a new offensive coordinator.
Just how much will Lane Kiffin be looming over the game with Steve Sarkisian stepping into the OC role? Kiffin’s not going to be hovering over the team from a skybox, and he’s not going to be on the sideline calling plays. However, now with Nick Saban and the new Florida Atlantic head coach parting ways before the biggest game of the season, will the Bama offense morph or transform in any way?
It’ll likely rely more on the power running game – even though Alabama kept pounding away at Washington – and there should be a few more shots taken down the field to crank up a passing attack that hasn’t done nearly enough to push the envelope.
Everyone will focus on TE O.J. Howard after his stunning 208-yard, two-score day in last year’s national championship, but next-level wideouts ArDarius Stewart and Calvin Ridley need to get more involved. They combined for 119 catches on the year with 15 scores this year, but they disappeared at times. Stewart didn’t catch a pass in last year’s game, and Ridley only came up with one catch for six yards.
This is Sarkisian’s moment, and the pressure is all on him to get this O moving. If it doesn’t, Saban will take the heat, but the storyline will be easy if Alabama loses.
Clemson is good enough to stop Alabama no matter what, but a loss makes the Kiffin thing an issue – fair or not.
For the first time in the College Football Playoff era, weather might play a wee bit of a factor
Yeah, it’s nitpicky, but the conditions might not be dome-perfect.
It’s not expected to rain on Monday night in Tampa, but it’ll be chilly and potentially a bit windy. Considering these are two teams used to playing in warmer weather or pristine conditions, will it matter? Nah, but the game should have a different feel.
There’s a chance this might be the coldest national championship game in 20 years of the College Football Playoff/BCS era.
The low is supposed to be around 50 degrees, which isn’t all that big a deal, except that only two of the first eight College Football Playoff games were outdoors, and both games were warm – FSU vs. Oregon in Pasadena, and Oklahoma vs. Clemson in Miami.
The heat mattered in last season’s Orange Bowl, with the Sooners wearing down a bit, but that’s not going to be an issue for either team.
If it’s windy, it’ll screw up Clemson a bit more – it needs to push the ball downfield more than Alabama does.
Super. So Who’s Going To Win The College Football Playoff National Championship?
Clemson has the talent, the makeup, and the attitude to beat Alabama.
It has the NFL defensive linemen to hold up against the Crimson Tide ground game, and it has linebackers to keep Jalen Hurts from running wild.
Yeah, Clemson also has a massive advantage at quarterback, but it had that last year, too, and ol’ Jake Coker came through.
The Sarkisian factor will be a net positive. It’ll be a focusing/galvanizing part of the Alabama puzzle for the offense, while the defense will pitch yet another gem.
Don’t expect the high-scoring shootout of Glendale. This will be more of a heavyweight defensive battle with both lines dominating early on. Alabama won’t be ultra-conservative, but it’ll spend the first half of the game trying to set the tone by punching Clemson in the mouth. Eventually, that’ll work.
The punting game will play a big role with field position at a premium this time around – it didn’t matter last year. Clemson’s Andy Teasdall put 21 kicks inside the 20, and he had a few nice boots, but Alabama has the advantage.
The Crimson Tide tilted the field throughout the third quarter in Atlanta, and couldn’t take advantage of the breaks. They will this time.
This is an unflappable, cool, and calm Crimson Tide team that made it very clear throughout the whole week in Atlanta that it wasn’t taking anything for granted against an overmatched Washington. For as much as everyone will be into the idea of Clemson waiting a whole year for this moment, Alabama is going to be just as locked in.
The semifinal games were duds. This one will make up for it as Alabama holds on for dear life, taking control late on a brilliant drive that puts the game away.
Sarkisian will call a gem.
Alabama 26, Clemson 17
Alabama -6.5, o/u: 51
ATS Confidence: 1
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Must See Rating: 5
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