Tonight, two titanic programs, Clemson and Alabama, will meet in the College Football Playoff Championship Game for the second consecutive year. I figured I’d get my thoughts about the game down on paper here so I might reflect upon them later this week.
Last year, the game was hectic, but Alabama emerged as the victor. This year, the stage is set much in the same way: a seemingly invincible Alabama Crimson Tide team is the heavy favorite against an older Clemson Tigers team led by Deshaun Watson. I think the game will be one for the ages. Nick Saban’s firing of offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will have the offense operating slightly different, and Dabo Swinney will be looking to take advantages of area where Steve Sarkisian’s playcalling may differ from Kiffin’s.
Despite the 45-40 score at the end of last year’s game in favor of Alabama, Clemson actually had more firstdowns (31 as compared to 18) and total yards (550-473) than the Tide. It’s clear that Clemson’s offense is fully capable of scoring even against Alabama’s superb defense.
In a game where all the cards will lay face-up on the table, veteran leadership is needed. I think Alabama’s freshman quarterback, Jalen Hurts, will stumble under the spotlight. For the 2017 National Championship Game, I’ve got Clemson winning over Alabama by a score of 35 to 31.