After months of talk, speculation and hype, the College Football National Championship is finally here, pitting the top ranked Clemson Tigers against the No. 2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Tigers are riding a 17-game win streak dating back to last season, and are coming off of an impressive victory over Oklahoma. Alabama might be on an even hotter run as they have outscored their last five opponents 183-40, including a 38-0 thrashing in the playoff semifinal against the No. 3 ranked Michigan State Spartans.
The playoff system seems to have done its job, as Alabama and Clemson have quite clearly proved themselves to be the top two teams in the country. Heisman winner Derrick Henry of the Tide, and finalist Deshaun Watson of the Tigers both hope to lead their offense in what should be a showcase of several potential NFL prospects.
Alabama has yet to face a playmaking quarterback with quite the skill-set of Watson, but if any team in the country is equipped with enough talent to slow the dynamic quarterback down, it would be the Tide. Bama’s dominant front seven and strong secondary is a defensive animal Clemson simply has not faced this season.
However, that doesn’t mean this won’t be a close contest.
If Clemson hopes to finish their undefeated season unscathed, they will need to get off to a quick start and make Alabama’s offense one-dimensional. Alabama has shown time and time again that if they get out to an early lead, they will ride their workhorse back (Derrick Henry) to a victory. Clemson’s key to winning will be to make Jake Coker beat them through the air as early as possible.
When it’s all said and done, Alabama’s stacked defense, excellent running game and elite coaching will prove to be too much for Watson and the Tigers. It’ll be a heroic effort by Clemson, but Dabo Swinney and his club will come up just short against his alma mater.
Prediction: Alabama 31, Clemson 24.
Source: Odds Shark