National Championship Preview


Before we dive into the preview of Clemson-Alabama, lets look back at the bowl season, and figure out how bad I did picking games.


Non New Year’s Six bowl picks: 21/34= 62%

New Year’s Six picks: 2/6= 33%

Yikes!  I started blazing hot with my non-New Year’s Six picks, and then a downfall that never recovered began after the New Year’s Six.

The New Year’s Six games all sucked.  I think its fair for all of us to admit that.  Neither playoff game was that entertaining (Oklahoma-Clemson much more than Michigan State-Alabama though), and New Year’s Day was a complete slaughter-fest.

Its probably just a bad year, so we can’t blame the committee too much for it.  I don’t believe in the bad matchup-making by the committee memo.

However, what we (still) can get on the committee for is why the playoff games are on New Year’s Eve, and this year turned out to be a perfect reason to show why this is such a bad idea.  TV ratings weren’t great.  Wait, we’re supposed to be surprised by this?  Yeah yeah, there’s all the optimism ESPN and the committee promoted after the bad ratings were released: Streaming viewers and such.  But this is stuff to just to make themselves feel better about it.  We’re smart enough not to fall for it, I hope.

Alright, enough making fun of people.  There’s a big game Monday night!

National Championship: No.1 Clemson-No.2 Alabama, 8:30 PM EST

I love all the people who go “The committee got it right!  No.1-No.2 in the National Championship!”  Wait, didn’t I say I’d stop making fun of people?  Anyways, those type of comments are nonsense.

Its odd.  I’m not insanely excited about this one.  Maybe cause its clear who’s going to win?

Most people, including me, have picked Clemson until they lose this season.  That was the basis I had when I picked them against Oklahoma.  This game’s different, though.  Clemson hasn’t faced a tougher defense all season.  Alabama’s certainly faced better defenses than Clemson, but as we’ve seen this season, and saw in the 1st half against the Spartans, it can take awhile to get going.  That can’t happen against this Clemson team.

Derrick Henry’s the X-Factor in this game.  As we know, he is the Alabama offense.  If he can get going, Clemson’s gonna have problems defensively, but in that case, with their offense, they could just make it shootout.

The Tigers have a lot of options on offense once again.  They’ll probably go through the air, and spread DeShaun Watson out.  I think you look at this offensively the same way you did against Oklahoma.  Air it out and roll the quarterback.

Defensively, if I’m Clemson, I’m doing all I can to stop Derrick Henry, and I’m putting my best cornerback Mackensie Alexander on Calvin Ridley.  You trust Alexander on Ridley, and stuff Henry.  Then you’re golden.

And as said above, if you can’t stop Henry, then your offense will take care of you.  You’re that good.

Alabama’s the underdog for once, and its about time.  They’re gonna have a chip on their shoulder.  A lot of people are probably going against them, and its not making them happy.  But Nick Saban’s a good coach.  He’s gonna erase that from their mind.  Cause he’s all about business.  Its about what happens on the field for him.

On the other sideline, its the complete opposite.  Dabo Swinney’s awesome.  He’s an amazing character.  We don’t see this type of character in coaching or management.  He’s got the attitude and character of his kids, and that’s why it works.

This game hangs on the what-ifs, but since we know them, it makes it easier to predict.  Its if Clemson can stop Derrick Henry, and if Alabama can stop the high-flying Clemson offense.  So what happens?

Again, Clemson’s No.1 in the country.  Its been too hard to go against them.  This is the strategy gamblers use:  Bet on them till they lose, and consider going against once they do.

Football-wise what happens?

  1. Clemson stops Derrick Henry as Alabama’s offense opens slow again, and the Tigers unleash on offense.


2.  Derrick Henry provides the Crimson Tide offense, Clemson responds appropriately, and makes it a shootout.

If No.1 happens, this is a blowout by Clemson.  If No.2 happens, then we’re gonna get a classic.

It’s very hard to see this lopsided and overrated Alabama offense producing against Clemson.  Derrick Henry’s the Heisman winner, and he’s going to have a Heisman-like game if the Crimson Tide are going to win.

Pick: Clemson-28 Alabama-17