Football, NCAAF

This is The End

Who didn’t see this coming? Alabama plays Clemson for the 4th time in 4 years of the playoff and the 3rd time for the championship. Effectively this is the final part to the trilogy.

First, it was an onside kick recovered by Alabama and a Kenyon Drake kickoff return that beat Clemson the first time. Secondly, Deshaun Watson proved why he was the best QB in college and Heisman snub by leading the Tigers on a game winning drive that evened the score. Last year in the 1st round of the playoff Alabama took away Clemson’s running attack from Kelly Bryant and won convincingly.

Which is the setup for Alabama vs Clemson Part III (we are only counting championship games here). Clemson will be without Dexter Lawrence but they still have 2 1st round picks in Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins. Alabama has similar talents in Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis on their defensive fronts and both offensive lines are perfectly capable of holding their own against each other.

With the trenches being practically even, the deciding factor will fall on the skill players and QB matchups. The most interesting factor to the QB matchup is that both teams are playing with their backup QBs from last years 1st round matchup. Both teams decided to replace successful starters for the guys now, just at different times. Kelly Bryant started the year as the #1 guy and Alabama switched QBs in the National Championship Game of all times. It’s a rather peculiar wrinkle to this new edition.

“Similar to the Xbox One and Xbox One S, one is perfectly fine and functional, the other just has a little more capabilities…and memory of course.”

Nick Saban

As much as I’ve severely disliked seeing Alabama at number 1 all year, having not really beaten anybody and nobody really being able to compete with them during the regular season, this has been the perfect storm for Nick Saban.

Through Saban’s 5 National Championships at Alabama, only once has he had an undefeated team (2009). Since then he’s lost a combined 12 games. After putting together multiple #1 recruiting classes and other top classes the perfect storm came in the form of Tua Tagovailoa. Not once did Saban have a top tier QB during those championship runs and he was still dominating teams. Now he has a great defense, great offensive linemen, great running backs, and now a Great QB to complete the circle.

“It’s like in NCAA Football the video game, when you win a championship and pull in all the top players and then after about 3 or 4 seasons you completely  dominate the league.  Nick Saban is winning the game.”

Teams used to be able to scheme against the Tide because he always had a pocket passer back there. Blake Sims and Jalen Hurts not only showed that Saban can adjust his schemes accordingly, they laid the groundwork that paved the path for Tua to enjoy his success.

The Heisman finalist is surrounded by 4 and 5 star lineman which gives him time in the pocket, he’s got 5 star running backs that will bruise and wear you down that you must account for defensively, and he’s surrounded by 4 and 5 star WRs who can beat almost any coverage and catch practically every ball. You have to matchup across the board which is why they’ve had so much success playing against lesser, inferior talent.

The same thing goes for defense. Saban’s ability to bring in the best talent has led to this year’s complete dominance of the SEC and Oklahoma. Saban has acquired the best team he’s had in a decade and when they take the field on Monday it’ll take an absolute dog fight from Clemson to be able to knock off the Crimson Tide this time.

Prediction

Even though people are tired of seeing these 2 teams, this could be the final chapter to the saga. Saban is getting older and the SEC is getting better. UGA isn’t going away and if they can learn to finish games they’ll be the best team in the SEC. Clemson has a little bit of an easier path in the near future but with the ACC Network ready to pump big dollars into the conference things can change in a hurry.

The game itself should be close. I like what Trevor Lawrence brings to the table and he should be able to have success. Both defenses are awesome and schematically it doesn’t get much better than what Brent Venables and Nick Saban bring to the table. The game will come down to Clemson’s ability to shut down the RPOs of Bama. Bama destroyed Oklahoma with the same plays over and over.

Overall, I’d say this game should be within one score at the end. Even though I’m always against Alabama and want them to lose, this season has been about them and Tua. Clemson’s game against Notre Dame was a lot closer than the final score and if Tua is healthy I think the Tide edge out the Tigers barely. Alabama over Clemson 

-Jaracz

http://printableteamschedules.com/collegefootball/playoffs.php

https://sports.yahoo.com/alabama-wins-34-nick-saban-still-finds-something-complain-204317353.html

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