National Championship Game Betting Preview: #1 Alabama vs. #2 Clemson
Jan 07 2017 by Dustin Murphy
A coaching change this late in the season in the biggest game of the year is not good for continuity and there is no way Sark is going to be as familiar with his players as Kiffin.
The Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers face off once again in the College Football Playoff championship, a rematch of last year's 45-40 contest in which the Crimson Tide reigned supreme.
ESPN's daily COLLEGE FOOTBALL news and information show - will air Wednesday and Thursday in a special one-hour show beginning at 1 p.m. on ESPN from the campuses of Alabama and Clemson. No, it's better instead to reference the Fiesta Bowl shellacking of Ohio State and how the defense didn't need many gimmicks or twists to register a shutout against an offense led by a veteran dual-threat quarterback in J.T. Barrett. The Clemson Tigers receiver is one of the best in the country at attacking the football.
Prognosticators say Alabama will present a much more hard challenge than Ohio State or anyone else Clemson has played. They've produced 123 tackles for a loss and 49 sacks.
Williams, at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, gets compared to all those big, impossible-to-cover receivers that play in the NFL: Alshon Jeffrey (6-3, 216), Demariyus Thomas (6-3, 235) and even former great Calvin Johnson (6-5, 237). When these two teams met in last season's grand finale, the Crimson Tide were able to come away victorious with big-yardage plays downfield. The problem is if he continues to turn the ball over (17 interceptions this year) Alabama as we know will take advantage of that and score. It looked listless for most of the first half.
So the process-obsessed Saban suddenly has procedural tumult on his plate, with just days to prepare for the biggest game of the year, against the best opponent of the year.
Alabama coach Nick Saban has plenty of nice things to say about Watson, who finished third and second, respectively, in the voting for the Heisman Trophy the past two seasons. Bryant won all six of his in Tuscaloosa. The freshman from Channelview, Texas (on the east side of Houston), has netted 891 yards on 181 attempts with 12 TDs, the only player to cross the goal line in Bama's 10-0 November win at LSU. Hugh Roberts, sports editor of the now-defunct Birmingham Age-Herald, coined the nickname "Crimson Tide" in his report of the 1907 Alabama-Auburn game.
Specifically, the lack of reliance on running back Bo Scarbrough when he was slashing through the Huskies infuriated Alabama fans, and reignited old complaints about Kiffin being too enamored with the passing game. Other national poles, including the Sagarin Ratings System, declared Bryant's Kentucky team the national champions that year. Tigers Coach Dabo Swinney said the trip to Tampa is a culmination of a yearlong quest to get back to the title game.
In his first game for Clemson University in 2013, Deshaun Watson sat out the first four series before replacing starting quarterback Cole Stoudt. Watson didn't have his best game against the Buckeyes, but was still pretty damn spectacular. This proved to be Alabama's strength to their offense besides their own defense. Stewart got into the end zone one as a runner, and he is dynamic in the jet sweep game. Alabama also won't be able to just hand the ball off and expect monster Bo Scarbrough to repeat what was a career performance against Washington.
Williams will pose a unique challenge for Alabama cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett.