1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. 2 Clemson Tigers
And here we have it, after a long, crazy college football season, it all comes down to the two top ranked teams in the country to start the season, a rematch of last year’s championship, won by Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
Will history repeat itself with the Tide winning their 17th championship title, or will the Tigers and Dabo Sweeney get their revenge?
Before we get into the game, let’s just take a look at the future NFL talent that will be on display on Monday night, and there will be a lot of it.
That’s a ton of NFL talent for one college football game. At least 16 of the names above should be top round picks. This much talent depth is a tribute to both head coaches, Saban and Sweeney, and the great job they have done both recruiting talent, and developing it.
While the NFL is the clear winner from this game, one of these teams will claim the championship trophy.
The case for Clemson:
Deshaun Watson may be the best quarterback in the country. He has a great arm, he’s dangerous as a runner, and most importantly, he’s a proven winner. He’s lead the Tigers to the playoff 2 years in a row and have reached the championship both times. He played outstanding in last year’s loss to Alabama, and has numerous, dangerous weapons around him on the offense. If any team can figure out a way to move the ball on Alabama’s outstanding defense, it’s the Tigers. The defense hasn’t been as dominant in 2016 as it was in 2015, but still has a ton of talent, especially on the defensive line, and should make it very hard for the Crimson Tide to run the ball. They shut out Ohio State and held them to 244 yards under their season average, so they should be able to compete with the Jalen Hurts lead offense.
The case for Alabama:
This very well could be the best defense Nick Saban has ever had. They rarely blitz, not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t need to. With Allen and Tomlinson plugging up the middle, and the “bash bros” Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson coming off the edge, the Tide know how to get after the quarterback, resulting in sacks, lost fumbles, and worst case, poor and rushed throws. On the offense, Jalen Hurts may be a true freshman, but he certainly doesn’t look like it on the field. A solid passer, Hurts may be a more dangerous runner, as he was a power lifter in high school and is extremely difficult to bring down. The running back committee of Damien Harris and Scarborough ware defenses down throughout games. Bama may not have the sexiest offense in the country, but they put up points regardless and know they have that stellar defense to back them up just in case.
And the winner is… The Alabama Crimson Tide
Deshaun Watson, as great as he still is, has regressed this season. His 17 interceptions are tied for 2nd in the country. He got away with 2 against Ohio State, but if he makes those mistakes against this defense, they’ll have no issue turning them into points. Gallman and the running game will be shut down by the Crimson Tide front seven, forcing Watson into even more passing situations, where he will have little time in the pocket. Clemson’s defense will have to bear down and keep Hurts and the offense to field goals, and must force turnovers to give them a chance to keep it close.
In the end, the Tide will wear down the Clemson defense, and the Tigers offense won’t be able to get enough going against that defense to win the game. Alabama 31, Clemson 17