What to watch for in a College Football Playoff National Championship

9:00 AM ET


TAMPA, Fla. — We are finally here, and we have a dual teams that should have been here all along.

So many tradition, talent and hardware between these dual programs. We saw these dual on this same theatre — opposite margin — a year ago, and both teams competence be even softened than a dual that pummeled any other during that stirring 45-40 Alabama win.

Both teams are sleepy of articulate about a game, and we’re sleepy of articulate about a game. Let’s only get these dual behemoths on a margin and let them fight.

College Football Playoff National Championship presented by ATT

Alabama vs. Clemson

Time: 8 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN App)

Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Here we go again … it’s a championship rematch

People will always protest about how a CFP preference cabinet picks a 4 teams, though there’s no debating these are a dual best teams in a country. Both Alabama and Clemson have top-10 defenses. Both offenses averaged some-more than 460 yards per diversion and 39 points per game. A win for Alabama would give Nick Saban his fifth pretension during Alabama and sixth in total. That would tie him for many all-time with mythological Alabama manager Paul “Bear” Bryant in a check era. A win for Clemson would give a Tigers their initial inhabitant pretension given 1981. Clemson is a nearly-a-touchdown underdog, though Alabama has had to understanding with a handful of distractions heading adult to tonight’s game. Does a male named Lane Kiffin ring a bell?

How Alabama beats you

Just demeanour during that mean, gaunt front seven. Led by Jonathan Allen, who has 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss, a Tide’s Crimson shade has been roughly unfit to penetrate. Alabama’s front 7 has totaled 48.5 sacks and 93.5 tackles for detriment on a deteriorate and has helped Alabama’s invulnerability lead a republic in yards per play, hostile quarterback QBR, three-and-out percentage, scoring defense, sum invulnerability and rushing defense. Teams are averaging a measly dual yards per lift opposite Alabama. And when this invulnerability isn’t terrorizing using backs, it’s creation quarterbacks’ days vital nightmares. Alabama is second in a FBS in sacks (50) and according to ESPN Stats Information, Alabama is second nationally in vigour rate during 42 percent. Oh, and this invulnerability has a knack for scoring. Alabama has given adult 15 touchdowns in 14 games, while scoring 11 touchdowns of a own.

How Clemson beats you

Deshaun Watson. He’s a best possibility Clemson has of violence a nation’s best group and a nation’s best defense. Last year, he was nearby perfect, throwing for 405 yards and 4 touchdowns, while using for another 73 yards. Many have talked about Clemson wanting to run a round with Wayne Gallman, though when we cruise that Alabama’s invulnerability singular a 10 1,000-yard rushers it faced to only 30.6 yards per game, Watson’s arm is so crucial. And he undone Alabama’s invulnerability all day final year. According to ESPN Stats Information, Watson scrambled 7 times for 49 yards and 4 initial downs opposite Alabama final year. He also finished 6 of 9 passes outward a container for 140 yards. What’s also pivotal is his ability to chuck downfield, as 47 percent of a plays that have left 15-plus yards on Alabama this deteriorate have come by a atmosphere — a second many in a Power 5. It only so happens that Watson leads a Power 5 with 63 completions by a atmosphere of 15-plus yards.

What a win would meant for a Crimson Tide

We’d start wondering if this was Nick Saban’s best team. And then, some would contemplate if it competence be a best group to ever play college football. Maybe that’s hyperbole, maybe it isn’t, though a discuss would rage. A win would also tie Saban with Bear Bryant with 6 inhabitant championships. So, theory what? We’d start to disagree if Nick Saban is in fact a biggest conduct manager in college football history. With a win, Alabama would turn only a third group to go wire-to-wire as a AP No. 1 group given a AP preseason check began in 1950. Oh, and from an SEC standpoint, this would be a 10th inhabitant pretension for a discussion given 2003. No other discussion has some-more than dual during that span.

What a win would meant for a Tigers

First and foremost, it would exorcise those demons from Glendale, Arizona, from final year’s detriment to a Tide. Many players continue to trust a Tigers were in fact a softened group final January, that done losing to Alabama that many some-more gut-wrenching. It would finish Alabama’s stream power of college football. That would meant a stately offseason in Clemson — and in ACC republic in ubiquitous — and a terrible time in SEC land. It would also finish Clemson’s large inhabitant pretension drought. A 34-season drought between titles would be a longest by any propagandize given Auburn had a check era-record 52-season drought between titles in 1957 and 2010.

Matchup Alabama can exploit

TE O.J. Howard vs. Clemson defense. Hunter Renfrow had his approach with Alabama’s delegate final year, though Howard only couldn’t be stopped. He held 5 passes for 208 yards and dual touchdowns — both for some-more than 50 yards. For some reason, Clemson’s invulnerability kept forgetful he was out there. What unequivocally perplexed Clemson was when Howard went in suit given a Tigers didn’t have someone who could consistently stay with his speed and size. Clemson’s front 7 has been outstanding, though when Howard goes in motion, that could pierce a tip male out of a box and leave Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts with some-more room to work.

Matchup Clemson can exploit

Clemson WRs vs. Alabama DBs. For as softened as Alabama’s delegate has looked given giving adult 400 yards to Arkansas behind in early October, this is a Tide’s toughest exam of all. And if you’re Watson, you’re zeroing in on cornerback Tony Brown, who has struggled in one-on-one coverage some-more than others in this secondary. Receivers Mike Williams (neck injury) and Deon Cain (suspension) missed final year’s game, and between them, they total for 1,897 receiving yards and 19 touchdown receptions this season. Alabama has also struggled interlude receivers in a slot, and that’s how Renfrow picked Alabama detached for 7 catches for 88 yards and dual touchdowns final year.

Alabama’s X factor

Believe it or not, it’s wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The former All-SEC member has been roughly a mislaid male in Alabama’s offense this season. He has 67 catches on a season, though has only dual 100-yard efforts after induction 4 final season. He also held 4 or some-more passes in 14 games final season, compared to only 9 this season. Clemson’s pass invulnerability is excellent, and if Hurts is going to make some bigger plays opposite it to pierce this offense, Ridley could be a sneaky-good option.

Clemson’s X factor

For some reason, defensive tackle Carlos Watkins hasn’t perceived a ton of courtesy this season. The 300-pound beast in a center has been Clemson’s many unchanging defensive actor a past dual years and leads a group with 10.5 sacks and is second with 12.5 tackles for loss. And he’s impossibly critical in this game. Alabama’s debility along a descent line is in a interior. That’s ideal for Watkins. He could unequivocally wreak massacre on that line and make Hurts’ day miserable. Hurts was off opposite Washington, and if Watkins can put some feverishness on him and get him out of rhythm, it could be prolonged day for Steve Sarkisian’s new offense.

The final word … Alabama

“It’s kind of a slap in a face when we do something good all year and afterwards your relatives give a present to your small hermit and he only got an F on his test.” — Alabama TE O.J. Howard on people picking Clemson to win

The final word … Clemson

“Being in that locker room crying, walking off a margin with a confetti descending on we for all a wrong reasons. So unequivocally those dual things. And as a defense, only felt like crap given we felt like it was on a shoulders when we mislaid that game, giving adult 45 points. So, obviously, wish to change that this year.” — Clemson LB Ben Boulware on losing final year’s pretension game

How to watch

In further to being means to watch this year’s diversion on ESPN, a ESPN App and WatchESPN, we can suffer a CFP Megacast, that facilities a following options, all starting during 8:15 p.m. ET:


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