The best match-up and a dream rematch for all of us CFB fans. BOL everyone
It would be an easy pick if: you believe Clemson were a better team LY,or the shut-down win over Ohio ST was a true reflection of the Tigers'capability… jump on taking the points and the ML. The reasons are verysimple: there has not been much (statistically) changed between these2 teams from LY squads; in addition, the Tigers do have the motivationedge for a revenge.
However, there are some twists that we need to take a closer look.
I think most of us (if not all) believe Clemson is possibly theteam that have the best chance to beat the Tide. Clemson have a good defense that peaked at the right time; an explosive and balancedoffense with the best QB under center, a big (6-3/225 lbs.,) reliable,match-up nightmare in receiver Mike Williams, and a good coachingstaff. If coach Dabo Swinney can keep the players focused, and a fewgood calls (or ball bounces) the Tigers could win the game SU.
On the other side, the Tide have been the best team throughout theseason and deservedly so. The defense is dominant, and it's the bestTide's defense since 2012, the year they blew out Notre Dame in theNC game. Tide's defense held an explosive Huskies offense (41.8 ppg)to a mere 7 pts/194 yds, and shut them down in the game last 53 minutes. The Tide offense is also the best in coach Nick Saban era,averaging 40 ppg, with a true freshman, dual threat QB Jalen Hurtsunder center. The biggest concern with the Tide offense is theirgreat OC Kiffin is no longer with the team. He was (kind of) dismissedafter the semi win over Washington. There is no denial that he hasbeen instrumental the last 3 years in turning a stagnant and boringoffense into an explosive and fun offense. I don't think anyonewould know the exact impact it may have on the team. Rememberhe was also the QB coach and a good one too. Kiffin was also greatin real time adjustments and play calling.
In Tide win vs Washington, I agree that the offensive play calling waskind of dull, but in hindsight the Tide have done exactly what theyneeded to do to beat the Huskies; and that's to eliminate mistake,run the ball, protect the QB, and play suffocating defense. It's kindof funny to see so many people (including respected sportswriters)criticizing the Tide not running the ball enough and passing too much. It can't be further than the truth. The Tide ran the ball 50 times andattempted only 14 passes. In those 50 carries, QB Hurts ran 19 times, it'sthe safest plays. Should not be discouraged by QB Hurts' poor performancevs Huskies (7 of 14 for 57 yards) as I can see the Huskies strategywas to shut down Tide's passing game and kept it a low scoring game. The Huskies were clearly not stacking the box to shut down Tide'srunning game. Coach Petersen might have believed that if he could keep the Tide from scoring in bunches, his explosive offense (41.8 ppg)may have a chance later in the game.
My take is I would not trust the Tigers (with so many close games)to beat the Tide. And there is one factor that I have not seen beingmentioned is the Tigers defense is actually more vulnerable to dual-threat QBs than the Tide is. QB Watson will have his share ofspotlights and move the ball well, but QB Hurts will also do wellvs Tigers' defense. At the end, Tide's defense will win the game for Alabama.
Picks: Alabama -6 (-110)/Over 50 (-115)
I always read your posts. Respect your opinion. I do firmly believe we have the top two teams squaring off. This is one I truly wish I had good seats to see in person. Actually thought about doing exactly that. My wife's sister lives in Tampa and if hotels are booked could have stayed with her. But as luck would have it I've been body slammed by the flu.
neil I agree completely with both results!
Like the Over in the game.. Going to be a good one to sit back and enjoy.. Good Luck my friend
They are not the same teams as last year...defense for Alabama yes indeed but...Alabama QB is nowhere near the offensive passer as last years QB. Washington is not the total team Clemson is, and without a defensive turn over or TD by the defense, this tips the scales towards Clemson as compared to last year in your opening yearly comparison. Just my thoughts.
I like it, Neil. Thanks for posting your thoughts. I have a friend that's VERY close to the program. Defense has been in a bad mood all week. They want Watson. Different plan of attack this year with the new D.C., Jeremy Pruitt. Kirby Smart was good, but way distracted last year going back and forth to Athens. That's another reason Kiffin was sent to Florida, by the way. Bama had their best practice of the year Tuesday. Again, defense is biting nails and ready to go. Offensively, Hurts is ready. The older guys "have his back" and will step it up to protect him and allow him to be successful. People complain about his passing, but don't forget he is a dangerous runner. I think Bama holds Clemson below 25. Bama will rush for over 250 and control the tempo, pull away late, in my opinion. Scarborough wins MVP. Roll Tide.
I'm in total agreement...
I agree the tide win the game but ive yet to convince myself that the spread will be covered ,good luck I think we see a great football game
Good post. It's Going to be a good one.
Nice write-up neil. I think LSU was Bama's toughest challenge this year, but I do have a lot of respect for Clemson. They are the best team outside the SEC. They gave Bama their best last year but still came up short. Hard for me to think they can get it done this time around.
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