#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (14-0; 10-4 ATS; 6-8 O/U) vs. #2 Clemson Tigers (13-1; 7-7 ATS; 7-7 O/U)
NCAAF National Championship Game: Monday, January 9, 2017 at 8:00pm EST
Line: Alabama -6.5
The number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the number two ranked Clemson Tigers for the second straight year in the National Championship Game Monday evening from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. The Crimson Tide defeated fourth ranked Washington 24-7 in the Peach Bowl last week to improve to improve to 14-0, and the Tigers shutout Ohio State 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl on New Years Eve.
Alabama defeated Clemson in a thrilling 45-40 contest in last year’s National Championship game. Deshaun Watson was able to have success against the Alabama defense, throwing for 405 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
Clemson Gets Another Shot at Alabama
The Clemson Tigers dazzled on both sides of the ball in their 31-0 win over the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl last weekend and will get a second crack at Alabama in the National Championship game. Deshaun Watson got off to a slow start, throwing two interceptions but found his groove and finished the night throwing for 259 yards with one touchdown and rushed for 57 yards and two rushing touchdowns. The junior quarterback had a tremendous season, accumulating 4173 passing yards with a 38:17 TD to INT ratio and also did damage on the ground, rushing for 586 yards with eight rushing TD’s. Wayne Gallman had success on the ground, rushing for 85 yards off 18 carries. The junior running back has now rushed for 1087 yards with 16 touchdowns on the season. Gallman scored a touchdown in the Championship game against Alabama last season, rushing for 45 yards on 14 carries. The Tigers had a few close calls this season, escaping with a few victories that could have gone either way, but only lost one game which was a 43-42 defeat to Pittsburgh. Clemson’s offense has averaged nearly identical numbers to Alabama, scoring 39.5 points per game, ranking them 13th in the nation.
The Tigers defense was outstanding in the win over J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes, allowing only 215 total yards against a team that averaged 459 yards per game. One player to watch for is Malik Hooker who made another interception in the win over the Buckeyes, and now has seven interceptions this season, the second-highest total in the Country. The Tigers are now conceding an average of only 17.1 points per game, placing them seventh overall.
Alabama Aims for Second Straight National Championship
The Alabama Crimson Tide made easy work off the powerful Washington Huskies in a 24-7 win in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s eve. The Huskies took an early 7-0 lead and the Crimson Tide took over from there, scoring 24 unanswered points to advance to their second straight National Championship game. Bo Scarbrough was the star of the game, rushing for 180 yards on 19 carries which included a spectacular 68 yard touchdown dash in the fourth quarter. The sophomore running back did not see a whole lot of carries this season behind Damien Harris, and has now collected a total of 719 rushing yards in 12 games after last week’s performance. Jalen Hurts was not active in the air, completing 7 for 14 passes for 57 yards, and made 19 carries for 50 yards. The freshman quarterback has looked very composed this season, throw for 2649 yards with a 22:9 TD to INT ratio. Hurts is a very mobile quarterback, recording 891 rushing yards with 12 rushing touchdowns on the season.The Crimson Tide offense is averaging 39.4 points per game, ranking them 15th overall.
The Alabama defense was phenomenal once again in the Peach Bowl, holding the tenth-ranked Washington offense to only seven points. They held Jake Browning who threw for over 3280 yards with 42 touchdowns, to only 150 passing yards and picked off two of his passes, one of which was returned to the house for a TD by Ryan Anderson. Nick Saban’s defense has been outstanding all season, shutting down every high-powered offense they have faced. Watch for Jonathan Allen who made a sack in the Peach Bowl, and now has 9.5 sacks on the season. The Crimson Tide feature the Country’s number 1 rated defense, now conceding an average of only 11.4 points per game.
The Clemson Tigers are:
- 6-0 ATS in their last 6 Bowl Games.
- 8-1 ATS in their last 9 neutral site games.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 100 rushing yards in their previous game.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are:
- No Key Trends
I am taking the points with Clemson in this matchup. Clemson was very impressive in their win over Ohio State both offensively and defensively, and they will have revenge on their minds after losing 45-40 to Alabama in the Championship game last year. Deshaun Watson was able to throw for 400 yards with four touchdowns against Alabama last year which gives me a lot of confidence siding with him. Alabama’s offense only scored 17 points against Washington’s defense in the Peach Bowl last week, and I like Clemson’s defense better than Washington’s. Deshaun Watson has been more productive than Hurts this season, plus Clemson has Mike Williams (1267 receiving yards) who did not play in last year’s Championship game. Take the points with the Tigers in this one.
Pick: Clemson +6.5
Both teams played outstanding defense last week, shutting down two high-powered offensive opponents. Clemson just shut out Ohio State, and Hurts did not do a whole lot last week, and I can’t see Scarbrough replicating last week’s performance, plus the under is 4-1 in Clemson’s last 5 non-conference games. Alabama will not give up anything on the ground, so Clemson will have to have success in the air which is possible with Watson at quarterback, but the under is 5-1 ATS in Alabama’s last six games against a team with a winning record. This total is too high considering the strengths of these defensive units.