As you’ve heard, next Monday night (6PM MT) it’s Alabama versus Clemson part four.
Alabama scored quickly and then paced their way to a 45-34 victory over Oklahoma to secure a spot in the National Championship yet again. On the other side is a familiar foe, the Clemson Tigers, who easily beat down the Notre Dame (Supposedly) Fighting Irish 30-3.
To celebrate the Tigers of Orange and their victory, all Clemson products are 30% off, their point total in the semifinal, until Monday night. Click here to see what our Clemson supply looks like.
Does it Feel Like Deja-Vu?
The college football playoff has been around for four years with the Crimson Tide and the Tigers squaring off each postseason so far. In 2015, the debut of the playoff, the game was well-rounded and an inaugural classic: ‘Bama winning 45-40. The sequel was even better with Clemson taking the honor, 35-31, thanks to a last-second TD pass from Deshaun Watson, now quarterbacking the Houston Texans in the NFL.
Year three, however, was less memorable as the two faced off earlier than previously addressed. Given it’s a four-team playoff, Alabama defeated Clemson in the semifinal. The score was nowhere near as close or legendary, with ‘Bama winning soundly 24-6.
It makes me think of a holiday classic, one I’m sure you recently watched.
Remember the holiday classic Home Alone? It’s fantastic. Home Alone 2? Also good. Home Alone 3? Well, new cast and a new story and new problems and it’s OK but it was definitely a let-down. It doesn’t have the same spark or magic as the others and instead just acts as a reminder of the past.
Oh, and get this: there is a Home Alone Four. I bet you didn’t even know about it. And it’s awful.
There’s an NBA Comp, Too
Steph Curry and LeBron James, ring a bell? If you follow hoops in addition to the pigskin, there’s also an NBA comparison with the Cavaliers and Warriors meeting up in the finals for the previous four years.
The first time was awesome, Warriors winning 4-2. The sequel was better, and historic, with the Cavs overcoming a 3-1 deficit to win Cleveland’s first major championship. Then year three happened, snooze, with Golden State taking an easy 4-1 win and year four was worse: a 4-0 sweep.
I know the message thus far seems like a debbie-downer, but thankfully the oddsmakers in Las Vegas believe a good game is in store, unlike last year’s dud. Oddshark specifically, predicts a close win (for ‘Bama) with plenty of scoring.
ESPN’s Football Power Index is nearly split on its decision, showcasing another close decision could be in store. According to their matchup predictor, Alabama is 51.4% likely to win a back-to-back National Championship. The over/under is set for 59.5, with Alabama favored by -6 by most experts.
A quick glance at ESPN’s head-to-head statistics prove why:
Defense and Quarterbacks
With such high flying offenses, the game will be decided by which defense can make plays and get stops. Which defense can apply pressure and force the field general into poor decisions or throws? The edge would go to Clemson.
Alabama holds its
However, flip the coin and with such high flying offenses, the game will be decided by the quarterback who makes the plays. Edge: Tua and Alabama
Tua Tagovailoa pilots the Crimson Tide, accounting for 3671 passing yards on the season with 41 TDs to four interceptions. He holds an absurd 215 quarterback rating thanks to connecting on 70% of his passes. The throws are deep, fast, and spot on. Whether he is set in the pocket or on the run, he gets the ball downfield and in the endzone.
Trevor Lawrence, a freshman who took over QB duties early in the season, is no slouch but he’s no Tua. He, too, doesn’t give up the ball often, four interceptions, but has a 61% completion percentage as the competition got stiffer in December. He’s thrown for 27 TDs and 2933 yards on the season.
Let the game begin
Clemson will be looking for its second title under Dabo Swinney, while Alabama will be trying for No. 6 under Nick Saban. With stability amongst coaching staffs and high recruiting classes constantly coming in, Red and Orange will be colors you’ll regularly see in January.
In fact, there’s even a Home Alone 5, but don’t get me started.