One year later and we’re right back in the same place again.
Saban vs. Dabo. Deshaun vs. Allen. Brent Venables vs. ... uh, okay that part is a little different.
If Nick Saban and the Tide are going to win their fifth title in eight years, they’re going to have to do it without Lane Kiffin, who was fired from the job he quit after the Peach Bowl, and Steve Sarkisian—last seen rolling up heavy bar tabs in downtown Los Angeles—will be calling the offense.
Bo Scarborough ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns against Washington to help the Tide advance to the championship game. He’s a typically big, bruising, and fast Alabama running back, hard to bring down and he might make Sark’s job a little easier. But if Venables and the Clemson defense can slow down the Alabama rushing attack and force freshman QB Jalen Hurts to throw, the Tide may struggle to put points on the board—good news for a Clemson team that scored 40 in the game last year.
Deshaun Watson carved up the Alabama defense in 2016, but Saban’s defense this year is better. Still, Watson is the kind of dual-threat quarterback that has given Alabama fits in recent years, and is surrounded by top skills talent in Wayne Gallman at running back and Mike Williams at wide receiver.
But if the Crimson Tide offense isn’t scoring, they’ve been able to rely on their defense to add some points of their own. Alabama’s defense has put the ball in the endzone 11 times this year, the most touchdowns scored by a defense by far for any team in college football this year.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 5:00 pm PT, ESPN with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Samantha Ponder, and Tom Rinaldi.
Live Stream: WatchESPN has everything, including ESPN’s alternate telecasts that are online-only and on the SEC Network.
Spread: Alabama by 6.
Watching? Share your thoughts with BN.
This one should be a good one. Will it be one of the championship games we talk about for years to come?
This is your College Football Playoff National Championship Game open thread!