No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1 SU, 8-6 ATS) vs No. 1 Clemson Tigers (14-0 SU, 7-7 ATS)
College Football Playoff National Championship Game Preview
Date/Time: Monday January 11th, 2016 - 8:30PM EST
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium Glendale, A.Z.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ALA -7.5/CLEM +7.5
Over/Under Total: 52
Fatten up your bankroll and make a double sized by on the chamnpionship game by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus at Realbet Sportsbook! Free loot is good loot! The 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will take place next Monday when the top two teams in the country collide inside the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. For the most part, this is the match-up that everyone wanted to see. The Clemson Tigers represent the new age of college football garnished with offensive talent that strikes quickly through raw talent and speed. Then you have the old school version of college football by the way of the 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide armed with massive size in the trenches and a defensive juggernaut of talent riding a formula of success that has already won 3 National Championships under Head Coach Nick Saban. The question entering this Monday Nights National Championship spectacle is which side will prevail?
Another reason this game will be ideal for college football enthusiasts is because you have the top team in the SEC whom most people expect to win pinned against the underdog in Clemson. Obviously just out of hatred for the SEC, Clemson will have a lot of supporters next Monday albeit most that claim the SEC is over-rated. However the SEC did flex their muscles this bowl season by going 8-2 to earn the most bowl wins by a single conference in FBS history. The reigning SEC Champions by way of Alabama led the impressive onslaught of opponents with a 38-0 thrashing over Michigan State in the semifinal playoff game in the Cotton Bowl.
In that Cotton Bowl game with the Spartans, Alabama proved why they are one of the best teams in the country. The Crimson Tide offense has ridden behind the legs of Heisman Trophy winning running back Derrick Henry all season. Henry became the first SEC running back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in the Cotton Bowl which is simply a remarkable accomplishment. However, the Spartans tough defense did a pretty good job holding Henry to just 75 rushing yards despite the fact Henry still got 2 touchdowns. Instead, quarterback Jake Coker was able to connect on several long balls down the field that ultimately broke down the Spartans defense. In total, Coker hit 25 of 30 passes for 286 yards with 2 touchdowns in one of his best performances of the season.
Next Monday Alabamas offense will take aim at a Clemson defense that has a lot of similarities to Michigan State. The Tigers are tough along the defensive front but have some vulnerability in the secondary. I will be eager to see just how well Clemson can defend against the run because this will undoubtedly be the best offensive front they have faced all season. Derrick Henry is bound to get at least 20 carries if not closer to the 30 mark so it will be interesting to see how long they can contain the Heisman Trophy winner.
Either way I believe Coker has to have another great game to offset Clemsons scoring ability. Alabamas defense does not typically give up a lot of points but Clemson has proved to be one of the best offenses in the country. Therefore, I expect Alabama will need a decent number to win this football game. Clemsons offense has been great during the 2nd half of the season and they do a good job of executing. The Tigers speed alone should create a difficult challenge for Alabamas defense to minimize the big plays. I think Clemsons big play potential could be the equalizer in this game. The Tigers are going to need some big plays to rattle Alabamas confidence and it will be most helpful if they are able to do it early in the game.
The Tigers proved in their 37-17 Orange Bowl victory against Oklahoma that they have a very difficult offense to defend. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country and the Tigers are loaded with talent at the skill positions with guys like Wayne Gallman and Artavis Scott. Watson earned a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy Finalist in December and I think he has been a bit underappreciated on the national level. Watson has been the backbone of this Clemson offense this season and has consistently made big plays when the Tigers needed him the most. Watsons dual threat playmaker abilities were on full display in the Orange Bowl when he threw for 187 yards with a touchdown and then ran for another 145 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tigers offensive assault. In actuality, Clemsons offense was just too talented for Oklahoma to defend in all areas which makes next Monday nights contest with Alabama so intriguing.
The Crimson Tide defense has been sensational this season as evident by their shutout over Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. Alabamas defense has not given up more than 16 points in their last 7 games and has given up just 10 points on average during that stretch as well. Therefore it is going to be very interesting to see if Clemsons big play potential and fast paced offense can sustain their success against Alabamas top rated defense. In reality, this game will be determined by the group that wins the battle on that side of the ball. If Clemson can hit the big plays and quick strikes, they could easily get Alabama out of their comfort zone and turn this game into more of an up tempo game. However if Alabamas defense does their part, that will open the door for the Crimson Tide to do what they do best by running the football and wearing down their opponent. Only time will tell as to which scenario plays out.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Clemson Tigers are a really good football team but I still think this Alabama team is playing on a phenomenal level. The Tigers defense has been suspect at times this year and I think that will be evident in the 2nd half when they wear down. Take Alabama -7.5