College Football Championship
The matchup between the number-two ranked Clemson Tigers and the number-one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide is college football’s version of the spear and shield paradox: “what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?” This is reminiscent of Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant with the exception of knowing the outcome of that hellacious match. Clemson’s offense has been on an absolute tear all season. Two-time Davey O’Brien winner, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award winner, and two-time Heisman finalist, Deshaun Watson has lead the unstoppable force, Clemson’s offense. Clemson’s offense ranks 3rd in division FBS (1-A) in yards gained and 13th in points per game at 39.5 points per game. The immovable object, Alabama’s defense, is the top ranked defense in the most important defensive category, points per game allowed, at 11.8 points per game allowed; they’re also the top ranked defense for yards allowed per game at only 248 yards allowed per game. So only time will tell what is going to happen when these two juggernauts punch each other in the mouth. However, let us take a little trip down Statistical Lane to get a better understanding of the matchup that will take place on Monday, January 9th, 2017 at 8 PM at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida; it will be broadcasted on ESPN.
In the ten years that Nick Saban has been at the helm, Alabama has compiled a record of 119 wins and 18 losses; that is a winning percentage of roughly 87%. Alabama football has also won four national titles under Nick Saban in which he feels he has had good enough teams to have won eight National Championships.
Now back to this year’s Alabama football team. With the exceptions of a close victory early in the season at Ole Miss and another victory over Arkansas, Alabama’s defense has been stifling offenses all year. It is almost unfair what Alabama’s defense has been able to accomplish against otherwise extremely talented offenses. The University of Southern California and Washington are schools that come out of the PAC 12, a conference known for high flying offenses. They scored a combined total of 13 points against Alabama’s defense. LSU could not score a single point against Alabama. What Alabama has done this year, especially against a tougher schedule than they usually face, has been mind-boggling. Nick Saban demands excellence out of his defensive players and that excellence was demonstrated this year as being ranked the best defense in all of college football as well as three players winning individual awards. Jonathan Allen was awarded the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award which are both essentially designated as the best defensive player in all of college football as well as the Ted Hendricks Award which goes to the best defensive end in all of college football. Reuben Foster came away from the 2016 season with the Dick Butkus Award which is awarded to the top linebacker. Cam Robinson won the Outland Trophy, the best interior lineman award. Alabama’s front seven wreak havoc. With all of the awards and name recognition on the defense side of the ball, the offense of Alabama lurks in the shadows, but behind the brilliant offensive mind of soon to be FAU head coach and currently Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin has manufactured an offense that is ranked 15th in the country in points scored per game at 39.4. Now, a lot of that can be attributed to the field position and the amount of time that Alabama is in control of a game due to remarkable defense. However, their offense should not be overlooked in that they have four players who have rushed for over 500 yards on the season. Alabama has put up a large amount of points on very good defensive teams this season. Stylistically, their offense is not the greatest show on turf, instead they pound the ball and sap opponents’ will to compete.
It is no secret that Deshaun Watson is a terrific player, but it takes support for players like Watson to succeed. An offensive name that flies under the radar for Clemson is Wayne Gallman. The guy has rushed for over 1,000 yards, has 16 rushing touchdowns, and a per carry average of 5.1 yards. How did we miss this, this season? On top of that, Mike Williams is going to be a stud in the NFL. At times it seems as if he and Watson are the only offensive players on the field. This will need to change as Nick Saban and his coaching staff do a wonderful job of forcing teams away from their number one option. Clemson has four other very capable and talented pass catchers to complement Watson’s arm and Gallman’s groundwork. As a side note, does not Dabo Swinney seem like the coach that has the most fun coaching the game of football? He is a player’s coach and will have a trick play up his sleeves to catch the traditional/prototypical Alabama defense off-guard.
Obviously these two schools squared off last year in the National Championship. Alabama escaped with a 45-40 victory. Not too much weight should be placed on that game. These are two different teams with different players as well as more mature players.
Heading into the game, as of 1/1/2017 Alabama is a 6.5-point favorite. This is indicative of the math geeks giving Alabama a predictive 72.4% chance to win this game. Clemson slipped up one time this year, but proved to be a real challenger to Alabama’s repeat as National Champion. Clemson destroyed Ohio State in the semifinals 31-0. Ohio State was supposedly the 3rd best team in the country and Clemson absolutely dismantled them. Look for Clemson to play loose and with a chip on their shoulders to avenge their school’s loss and to prove that Alabama can bleed because to this point, Alabama has looked like a football powerhouse and butt kicking machine.
So right now we like Bama but the public is betting Clemson heavily, so we’re going to wait for the line to come down to load up on Bama. So where we can get Bama at -6 or less we’re loading up on that.If anything changes we’ll update the article and post on Twitter- @bettingtips101