Tomorrow night top seeded Clemson will be taking on Alabama is the second College Football National Championship. Clemson is the only undefeated team from this year while Alabama has suffered one loss but looked unstoppable since it happened. This game easily has the makings of an instant classic.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide are led by running back and Heisman winner Derrick Henry. Henry has been unstoppable this year going for 2,061 yards and 25 TD’s. He went for under 100 yards 3 times but twice he was still in the high 90’s and the other was against a pathetic FCS team. Henry is the offense’s best player and the unquestioned work horse but Alabama has a passing offense that deserves respect. Jake Coker is the starting quarterback and he’s had modest play accounting for 2,775 yards 19 TD’s and 8 interceptions. He doesn’t wow you with his play although he has done good the last two games. His biggest asset for Alabama as of late has been his ability to not turn the ball over and that’s all he really needs to do with Henry leading the offense. Alabama also has a pair of young pass catchers that have performed well this year. Freshman Calvin Ridley has lead the team with 1,031 receiving and 7 TD’s, while sophomore ArDarius Stewart has turned in solid play adding 637 yards and 4 TD’s. Alabama controls the clock and tries to slow down the pace with an extremely effective rushing attack and can attack deep on play action passes well.
Clemson: Deshaun Watson the starting quarterback and Heisman finalist leads Clemson’s high powered offense. He has been a phenomenal passer and rusher throughout the year. He threw for 3,699 yards, 30 Td’s and 12 interceptions while rushing for 1,032 yards and 12 TD’s. He’s been near unstoppable this season to say the least. Clemson also features a great running back that nobody is talking about in Wayne Gallman. Gallman played great this year going for 1,482 yards and 12 TD’s. Clemson is suffering from injuries and suspensions at the receiver position missing both Mike Williams and Deon Cain. They’re led by Artavis Scott who had 868 yards and 5 TD’s, and Charone Peake who added 617 yards and another 5 TD’s. Clemson tries to spread the ball out and use zone reads and option passes to take advantage of their unique rushing attack and exceptional passing attack.
Alabama: Alabama is always known for having a great defense and this year is no different. They had the third best defense in football this year allowing only 258 yards per game and only 14.4 points per game. Alabama has a trio of defensive backs this year that have all played well. Safety Eddie Jackson led the team in interceptions this year with 5 and was named a second team All American. They also had a pair of stud freshmen at corner with freshman All American Minkah Fitzpatrick and all SEC Freshman Marlon Humphrey. Together they made a suffocating pass defense and the rush defense was just as scary. In the front seven they were led by linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson who are both first round prospects.
Clemson: The Tigers are led by three key players on defense. First is defensive end Shaq Lawson who is a question mark for the championship game. His absence could be a huge problem for the tigers as he has developed into a great pass rusher and is well rounded in stopping the run. He is their most disruptive player and is key to a Clemson victory. Clemson also has a pair of stars in cornerback Mackensie Alexander and safety Jayron Kearse. Alexander has developed into a first round prospect and has been shutdown for the Tigers this year. Safety Jayron Kearse has been a run stuffer from the safety position and has been able to break up passes due to his ability to deliver highlight film hits. If Lawson is healthy for this game Clemson’s defense could be very scary.
Prediction: I’m picking Clemson for this one. Alabama has struggled with running quarterbacks in recent years and they’ll be going against an elite prospect in that category when Deshaun Watson takes the field. They also have to worry about Watson’s ability to throw and Wayne Gallman running the ball. This is the best offense Alabama has to play all year. I think they can slow them down but not enough. Alabama can run the ball very well with Derrick Henry but their passing attack is only mediocre and Mackensie Alexander will be able to take Calvin Ridley out of the game. At the End Alabama’s defense will be able to slow down Clemson’s offense but the Tide’s one sided offense won’t be able to put up enough points. Clemson 31 Alabama 20.
Other Writers Predictions
Sean: Alabama 28 Clemson 23
T.J: Alabama 30 Clemson 16
Tyler: Clemson 27 Alabama 17