The countdown to the NCAA Football Championship game continues as Monday approaches. This years CFP Championship game will take place at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona as the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the number one ranked team the Clemson Tigers.
After failing to reach the championship game last year in the inaugural playoff, the Crimson Tide have returned for another shot to add another championship to the record book. That being said they will have an extremely difficult task standing in their was as the Tigers are 14-0 this season and is coming off an impressive win in the 37-17 win over Oklahoma in the Capital One Orange Bowl Semifinal Matchup.
For the Tide, the big test will come from their defense as they will look to slow down the Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson enters this game with 3,699 passing yards while connecting on 68 of his passes including 31 passing touchdowns. Along with his arm, Watson will also present a challenge for the Tide with his feet as he enters this game with 1,032 yards on the ground and 12 rushing touchdowns.
Last week, Watson continued the dual threat passing for 187 yards with one passing touchdown while adding 145 yards and a rushing touchdown on the ground. Along with Watson, Wayne Gallman scorched the Sooners on the ground as well with 150 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Overall the Tigers combined to rush for 312 yards two roll to the easy win.
That being said the Tide have the ability and showed it all season they can stop the run as they enter this weekend ranked number on in the country allowing just 78 yards a game on the ground. In the teams 38-0 win over the Michigan State Spartans last week, the Crimson Tide defense allowed just 29 yards on 26 carries.
If Watson and the running game gets tied up this could be another big time win for the Crimson Tide.
Previous Meetings: The last time these two teams met came back during the 2008 NCAA football season as the Tide rolled to a 34-10 win to open up their season. Entering that season the Tigers were ranked number nine in the country while Nick Saban in just his second season had the Crimson Tide ranked number 24 overall.
Now the Tigers didn’t have the type of player behind center as Watson but they did have one of the top running games in the country that featured a combination of running backs that included James Davis and C.J. Spiller. In the end the Tigers managed to rush for zero yards on 14 carries.
Overall the Crimson Tide has won 12 straight against the Tigers while rolling out to a 74-7 series lead.
Betting Trends: Despite sitting at number one in the country the Tigers opened up as a seven point underdog. That line has hovered around that point dropping to as long as six points on some sites while most sites currently have the Tide as a 6.5 point favorite.
Much of that could dwindle on the fact that the Crimson Tide have been really good against the spread of late covering in seven of their last ten games. That includes going 4-0 against the spread on the road. The Tigers on the other hand are just 5-5 against the spread this season.
Looking a little deeper the Tide have dominated against the spread in most trends. That includes going 4-0 in their last four games against teams in the ACC, 7-1 in games against a team with a winning record, 5-2 against the spread in their last seven Bowl Games and 11-5 in their last 16 games at a neutral site.
Now don’t write off the Tigers yet they have been solid as well going 4-0 against the spread in their last four bowl games as well as going 6-0 in their last six games at a neutral site.
In the end this will mark the 50th time the number 1 and 2 teams in the country will face off in the national Title Game. Can Dabo Swinney get his Tigers ready to get the win against his Alma Mater?