After another exciting season in college football, we conclude the 2015-16 year with the National Championship, featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers. Alabama secured a dominant win against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl, while Clemson took care of business as underdogs against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Alabama is pretty familiar with the National Championship, their last coming in 2012 over LSU. They also had National Championship wins in 2011 and 2009 which added to the total count of 15 championships for the Crimson Tide. Last season Alabama had their eyes on the prize once again, and it was looking very plausible that they were going to secure another National Championship. However, Ohio State happened, and Alabama had to settle with a semi-final appearance in the college football playoff. Alabama looks to exercise those demons and take home their 16th National Championship. The challengers, the Clemson Tigers, haven’t won a National Championship since 1981, their only in school history. They will go for a perfect season and look to shock the nation tonight against Alabama.
There have been instances of the Crimson Tide coming up short in big games in recent years. Oklahoma blew them out of the building in the Sugar Bowl, and last season Ohio State sent them packing. The postseason wasn’t being so kind to Alabama before they beat Michigan State 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl. The Spartan offense was completely lost. The most they could do was press the ball down inside the Alabama red zone before ultimately throwing aninterception to conclude the first half.
The writing was on the wall was there, Alabama was going to be moving on. Alabama would be the first team to defeat Clemson this season if they get it done. Clemson enters with a record of 14-0. Alabama is coming into this game much to the same step as Ohio State a year ago. The Buckeyes lost an early season matchup, but then rolled through the competition following the loss. Alabama lost 43-37 to Ole Miss, the only team that can claim they beat the Crimson Tide. Clemson wants to be added to that list with the Rebels. These are teams of different styles. Clemson is not Michigan State. The Spartans like to play a conservative offense by lining up and running the ball and operating from under center. Connor Cook posed no threat of running the football.
Alabama will have to contend with Deshaun Watson in this game, a dual-threat quarterback who can do it with his legs and arm. Note the Sugar Bowl from two years ago, losing to the shifty Trevor Knight. They also lost to Johnny Manziel. Chris Kelly of Ole Miss could be described as a runner as well. We’ll see if Deshaun Watson can do the same against the Alabama defense. Find the pick for the National Championship below.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Clemson Tigers NCAA National Championship Betting Odds:
Alabama -6.5 (-110)
vs. Clemson +6.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Alabama vs. Clemson Pick:
Clemson knows that they have the potential to beat Alabama tonight. I don’t think they are going into this game believing they have an unachievable task in front of them. Alabama was already beaten this season, and dual-threat quarterbacks have gotten to them in the past. Further, Clemson is the undefeated team going into the National Championship, not Alabama. Is this all going to matter, though? Alabama has improved drastically since their loss against Ole Miss. Since the loss Alabama has scored 33.4 points per game, and most importantly, the defense didn’t anything close to what transpired to Ole Miss since. On defense the Crimson Tide gave up 11.7 points a game in their last ten games.
Clemson didn’t get to 14-0 without adversity. They came close to being upset by South Carolina, 37-32. Note that North Carolina were robbed of a last possession to tie in the ACC Championship as well. The defense for Clemson has given up greater than 30 points three times since Halloween. However, the offense has been clicking with Deshaun Watson running the show. Clemson has averaged 38.5 points per game this season. This will undoubtedly be the best defense that they have faced. Alabama allows only 74 yards per game on the ground, I think Watson is going to have to make some plays with his arm. Clemson is capable of being ran on.
Note that they are surrendering an average of 130 yards per game rushing. Not terrible, not great either. And to slow down the vaunted Alabama rushing attack you need to be really great. Michigan State has a great team upfront on the defensive line but Alabama gashed them. Look for the Crimson Tide to open up running lanes on the ground. North Carolina found success against them there. Oklahoma is a shotgun offense. Baker Mayfield fell victim to a superior pass defense, which is allowing only 166.9 yards per game. Alabama won’t fall into that. I see them wearing Clemson out on the ground and pulling away late. I like this spread under a touchdown or at 7 without a doubt.
PICK: ALABAMA -6.5 (-110)