It’s been 4 months and 15 days since the 2016 CFB season started.
137 long days leading up to this Monday – the most important Monday of the season, maybe the year.
The National Championship.
Exactly 365 days ago, Alabama crushed the hopes of Clemson in the 2016 National Championship. Now the two teams meet again in sunny Florida tonight at 8PM.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Key Players You Know: QB Jalen Hurts, RB Damien Harris
Key Players You Should Know: DL Jonathan Allen, TE OJ Howard, WR Calvin Ridley
The Good: You know them. Alabama being here isn’t a surprise to many. What got Bama here wasn’t there offense, which ranks 24th in the nation in efficiency. It was the defense. Alabama runs up the score because the defense is keeping other offenses off the field. Ranked 1st in efficiency this defense is the best of the best. The front seven has 48.5 sacks on the season with 93.5 tackles for loss. This team does not play when it comes to holding down the line. Opposing offenses are averaging 2 yards per carry. 2. yards. per. carry. Trying to run on Alabama is probably the worst idea you could have. You’d think that if you can’t run the ball, might as well try to throw it right? You’d be fairly wrong to try. This defense can also terrorize that great QB you have. One mistake can lead to a defensive TD for the Tide. The Tide gave up 15 TD’s in 14 games this season. OH, they also scored 11 of their own on defense. Don’t sleep on them, they’re going to come out hungry.
The Bad: The hype. A lot of people have Alabama winning again, a lot of people also have Clemson winning. If Clemson is to win this title, how does this look for Alabama. Each week this team looked better and better. How that happened, I don’t even know. The talent on this team is busting at the seams and they improved each week. People have said this is the best team in CFB history, so what if they lose? Does that tarnish what they have done so far? It is something to think about. You have to also think about how a team could succeed so far in the regular season to flop in the end. Alabama will always have the talent to be in this position, it’s just who they are. You can’t ignore the hype though, no matter who you are.
#2 Clemson Tigers
Key Players You Know: QB Deshaun Watson, WR Mike Williams, RB Wayne Gallman
Key Players You Should Know: LB Ben Boulware, DT Carlos Watkins
The Good: Nothing? Only kidding. The Tigers offense ranked 7th in efficiency while their defense ranks 9th nationally. You’ve heard LB Ben Boulware complain that their QB gets all the credit, that they get nothing. As much as I believe that the light should shine through the whole team for Clemson, Watson deserves all he gets. Watson is the spark behind this team. Yes, this defense is incredible and they hold their own, but Watson is what makes this team thrive. A two time Heisman candidate, Watson is poised and always under control. That offense line crumbles? Watson is scrambling and getting you positive yards, no matter what. Watson is the best QB on the field tonight. He proved it last year and he will prove it this year. With over 4,000 yards and 38 TD’s, the Tigers best chance at winning is Watson arm. If Watson isn’t in, this team crumbles. He is the back bone for this team and that’s just facts, sry butt hole Ben.
The Bad: They finger your butt hole during the game. Seriously. I wish this was a joke. I’m not sure many people like STRANGERS fingers in their butt holes but Clemson seems to think it’s funny. So they do it to each other in the locker room and now on the national stage. So besides that HUGE, HUGE negative for the Tigers, what happens to this program if they lose again? Clemson knows the feeling of loss and has bounced back fantastically. Yet, what happens if they lose again? Clearly this program isn’t going to falter talent wise. They have top recruits coming from all over. They have players coming back next year that will continue to grow. What happens mentally though? How do those players who have lost twice come back? That can’t be easy for anyone, is the fight the same? How does 2017 play out if the Tigers are again on the losing side, it has to be on the mind of everyone.
Last year was an interesting game. Clemson had to play catch up the entire time, at no point did they lead. It was a high scoring affair that kept you on your seat till the end.
This year will be different from last. Believe it or not, both teams come in better than they were before. Powerful offenses and spectacular defenses will be on both sides of the ball tonight.
I wouldn’t get too hype about this being a high scoring game though. Those spectacular defenses are sure to keep the other off the board. Alabama and Clemson will need to test the long ball tonight as the run game will be hard to get going.
Unfortunately, the Semi Final games did not preview much for us. Washington’s secondary was much better then Clemson’s, so look for that to be a difference maker in this game. Ohio State’s defense is much, much worse then Alabama’s, so don’t expect to see Clemson’s score up too high.
In the end, this game will be worth the wait. No one really likes rematches. We all want to see different teams duke it out for a title held so high in standards. So while we have to watch a rematch tonight, don’t look at it as that. These teams are much different then they were last year. Much better in all aspects of the game. This won’t be the same back and forth we got last January. This will be a tough, close, physical and gritty battle til the end.
My Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide