Alabama vs. Clemson: National Championship - 1/9/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Clemson Tigers (13-1) at Alabama Crimson Tide (14-0)
College Football: Monday, January 9, 2017 at 8:00 pm (Raymond James Stadium)
The Line: Alabama Crimson Tide -6.5 -- Over/Under: 51.5 See the Latest Odds
The Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers clash Monday night in the college football national championship at Raymond James Stadium on ESPN.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are looking for their 17th claimed national title and fifth since 2009 CFB season. The Alabama Crimson Tide are also looking for their 12th undefeated season in school history. Jalen Hurts is completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 2,649 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Hurts has one or less touchdown pass in four of his last eight games. ArDarius Stewart and Calvin Ridley have combined for more than 1,585 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns while O.J. Howard has 41 receptions. The Alabama Crimson Tide ground game is averaging 246.7 yards per contest, and Damien Harris leads the way with 1,013 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Alabama is allowing 11.4 points and 244 yards per game. Reuben Foster leads the Alabama Crimson Tide with 103 tackles, Jonathan Allen has 9.5 sacks and Minkah Fitzpatrick has six interceptions.
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The Clemson Tigers look for their second national title and first since the 1981 CFB season. The Clemson Tigers also look to win 14 games for the second straight season. Deshaun Watson is completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,173 yards, 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Watson has two or more touchdown passes in 11 of his last 13 games. Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett have combined for more than 1,908 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns while Deon Cain has 33 receptions. The Clemson Tigers ground game is averaging 175.3 yards per contest, and Wayne Gallman leads the way with 1,087 yards and 16 touchdowns. Defensively, Clemson is allowing 17.1 points and 306.9 yards per game. Ben Boulware leads the Clemson Tigers with 110 tackles, Carlos Watkins has 10.5 sacks and Jadar Johnson has five interceptions.
The Tigers are 2-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 6-0 ATS in their last 6 bowl games. The Crimson Tide are 14-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall. The under is 5-2 in Crimson Tide last 7 games overall and the over is 4-1 in Tigers last 5 games overall.
I think the Clemson Tigers proved in their dominating win over the Ohio State Buckeyes that they have the combination of offense and defense to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide. Clemson has the defensive line to slow down the Alabama running game and the pass rush to confuse and force Hurts into mistakes. Remember, Alabama didn't do much last week offensively against a smaller Washington defensive front. But the deciding factor for me in this game is at the quarterback position, as Clemson has the best quarterback in the country in Watson, while Alabama still has a freshman at QB, who is completing just 53 percent of his passes with one touchdown in his last two games. If this turns into a high-scoring contest, Alabama will be in trouble. Let's not forget Clemson dropped 40 points on Alabama in last years national title game, and that was against a better Alabama defense, and the Tigers didn't have Mike Williams.
There's also the motivation factor, as Clemson mentioned it wanted to face Alabama for a rematch after falling just short last season. This has the same vibes as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors from a year ago.
I'm rather confident that the Clemson Tigers win this game, so I'm saying forget the points, and I'm backing Dabo Swinney and company in an outright victory.
See you folks next season!