In College Football’s second year of its 4-team playoff, #1 Clemson (14-0) takes on #2 Alabama (13-1) for the National Championship. Clemson, lead by sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson, battles SEC powerhouse Alabama, lead by Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. Clemson defeated Oklahoma 37-13 in the CFB semifinals while Alabama dominated Big 10 Champion Michigan State. Both teams had little trouble in these games. Will Clemson take down Alabama and become the first college football team to win 15 games in a season, or will Alabama win another National Championship and continue their dominance in the last two decades?
2.) Alabama Crimson Tide vs 1.) Clemson Tigers
- Kickoff: Monday a 7:30 PM CST
- Location: University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)
- Odds: ALA -6.5
- Over/Under: 50.5
Breakdown of Clemson
Like all year long and again tonight, Clemson is going to ride quarterback Deshaun Watson as far he will take them. The Heisman finalist has thrown for 3,699 yards and 31 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,032 yards and 12 touchdowns. Watson has been undoubtedly the toughest quarterback to face due to his ability to make plays with his arm and feet. Running back Wayne Gallman has been solid all season, rushing for 1,482 yards and 12 touchdowns. Going into this game, there is no doubt the Alabama defense will be the biggest test for both Watson and Gallman. Clemson defense, which has given up 20.0 ppg this season, played great against Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma in the CFB Semifinals on New Year’s Eve. Unlucky for the Tigers, cornerback Mackenzie Alexander and defensive end Shaq Lawson are questionable for tonight’s contest. Both players I have as first-round projections this spring, giving Clemson’s defense a big hit if they are unable to perform. Overall, this team has several weapons that can make plays on defenses, including Alabama.
Breakdown of Alabama
Tonight, the Crimson tide will be going for their fourth National Championship in the last seven seasons. Since their week 3 loss to Ole Miss, Alabama hasn’t skipped a beat. This team battled through a tough SEC conference, defeating several good teams throughout the season. Going into this game, there is no doubt The Tide will be leaning on 6’3″ 241 pound running back Derrick Henry. The Heisman trophy winner has shredded defenses all year long as he has rushed for 2,061 yards and 25 touchdowns. Clemson will need to play a tough game in order to keep Henry from running wild. Outside of Henry, this offense has other playmakers. Quarterback Jake Coker has been good all year and is coming off a game where he threw for 286 yards and two touchdown while completing 83% of his passes. Freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley has been spectacular all season, catching 83 passes for 1,031 yards and 7 touchdowns. Like previous National Championship teams of Alabama, the heart and soul of this dynasty is defense. A’Shawn Robinson, Jonathan Allen, Jarran Reed have punished opposing teams all season. Remember, this unit held All-American running back Leonard Fournette to just 31 yards on the ground. This team will rely on tough rushes by Henry and consistent play on the defensive side of the ball.
Score Prediction: Alabama 31, Clemson 16 (MVP: Derrick Henry – 38 CAR, 196 Yds, 3 Tds)
Difference of the Game: Alabama defense being able to contain Watson in the pocket.