By Charles Jay
Perhaps the main thing you need to know about the Alabama Crimson Tide
is that this is a program that knows how to win championships. In fact, they have done so four different times under coach Nick Saban, and in three of those years they have done it with a first-year quarterback. In the 2016 season Alabama has gone with a freshman at the QB position in Jalen Hurts, who was just enrolling at the school at about the time of last year’s title game. Hurts brings different qualities to the table than the other quarterbacks Saban has been used to working with, and definitely represents a departure from the likes of Jake Coker, who piloted a pro-style offense that encountered a few tweaks under the guidance of coordinator Lane Kiffin. The college football playoff championship will begin at 8 PM ET
at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, as Alabama takes on the Clemson Tigers
. ESPN televises it, and BetAnySports
customers, after getting reduced juice before the game, will be able to place wagers while the contest is in progress, using the state-of-the-art software available through Live Betting Ultra.
We mentioned Kiffin’s name because he has been the center of a little bit of controversy as we lead into this game. He took the job as head coach at Florida Atlantic after the SEC title game, and the general consensus was that he was distracted somewhat, having to focus on two things at once leading into the national semi-final against Washington. Alabama came out of that game with a 24-7 victory, but they were far from fluid offensively, as Hurts passed for only 57 yards on seven completions. If they do that kind of thing again, it’s going to spell trouble against this Clemson defense, which is ranked #8 overall the country. So Saban essentially told Kiffin to take a walk and go to his new job. Steve Sarkisian, who was signed as a consultant during the season, will take over the playcalling, and that brings a variable into the game that might be of some concern to Alabama fans, because Sarkisian had considerable personal problems that led to his departure from USC.
In the odds at BetAnySports
on this game, the Tide is laying points:
Alabama Crimson Tide -6.5
Clemson Tigers +6.5
Over 51 points -110
Under 51 points -110
The backfield is obviously very solid; you have already seen what Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough are capable of doing. They might not be as good as the duo of Derrick Henry (the Heisman winner) and Kenyan Drake, but both of them averaged more than 6.5 yards per carry. The main receivers will all be in the NFL, including wide receiver Calvin Ridley and tight end O.J. Howard, who are both among the nation’s best at their positions. Scoring points will probably not be a huge problem for them. And this is a dynamic defensive unit; they were best in the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense and of course, total defense. They have the ability to shut down the Clemson rushing game and make the Tigers one-dimensional. And they had 50 sacks coming out of Washington game. Jonathan Allen will be a high draft choice, and there are playmakers everywhere.
No one had more than 114 rushing yards in any single game against this stop unit. And in these last two contests combined – against Florida in the SEC championship and the Huskies – they have allowed TOTAL of 44 yards on the ground.
Still, one of the most amazing features of this Alabama team is the fact that it can score, even without the offense touching the football. Between the defensive unit and the special teams, they have 15 touchdowns, and when you consider that they allowed only 16 touchdowns from scrimmage all season long, that is a truly all-inspiring figure. Certainly a case can be made that this Alabama team, which appears to be the definition of well-rounded, can create some distance between themselves and this Clemson squad.
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