Alabama Crimson Tide (14-0) vs. Clemson Tigers (14-0)
NCAAF: Monday, January 7th, 2019 at 8:00 pm (Levi’s Stadium)
Line: Alabama -6.0
Free ESPN NCAAF Pick Clemson vs. Alabama
Here we are again. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Clemson Tigers. What a surprise to see these two Cinderella stories make it to the biggest stage in College Football! Could’ve skipped the entirety of the NCAA season, and just chalked these two up as the teams to make it. Since starting the College Football Playoff, Alabama and Clemson have played each other in three of them (including this year.) People give the NBA grief for having zero parity, but this is getting ridiculous.
These two teams were ranked top two in the nation for the entirety of the season. When the coaching staff is able to recruit 20-25 top 300 recruits each and every season, it makes it much easier to dominate the College Football landscape. These two teams are just the best, in their own class against the rest of the nation. The best sports stories are told around two rival teams. Clemson and Alabama are defining a generation and creating a makeshift rivalry.
Since Alabama rose to supremacy, all of the analysts said they were a quarterback away from being an unstoppable force. Now, they have that guy. Tua Tagovailoa, is that guy. He is hands down the best quarterback that Alabama has had during this run, and arguably the best they have ever had. He competed for a Heisman trophy and played in the fourth quarter of one game. He finished with 41 touchdowns, just four interceptions, and an efficient passer rating of 205.2, which is the all-time record. Again, this Tagovailoa did all of this, despite playing a little over three-quarters of the time. He showed how amazing he is in their semi-final matchup vs. Oklahoma. As we all know, Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray were the two front-runners for the Heisman. Murray ended up winning it. Tagovailoa really only lost because he got injured against Georgia in the SEC championship game. Alabama certainly took that personally and showed it during their eventual matchup with Oklahoma.
Outside of Tagovailoa, Alabama has their most complete team we’ve ever seen. They always bolster one of the best defenses in the league. They were fourth in the nation in points allowed this season and ranked second in defensive efficiency. This is nothing new for the Crimson Tide, but they coupled it with the most efficient offense in the nation. They have their deepest receiving core in memory. They have four legitimate weapons on the outside in Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, and Henry Ruggs III. This team is scary good
For the amount of love that Alabama got, how they dismantled all of their opponents all season, none of the games were close, we’ve heard it all year long. Clemson did the exact same thing. They played two total games that were decided by decided by less than one touchdown, against Syracuse and Texas A&M. They destroyed Notre Dame last weekend to a tune of 30-3. That is how to dominate a season. Now, they seem to have no pressure on them at all leading up to this game, as if they beat Alabama, it would be a monumental collapse for the Crimson Tide. The Tigers are led by true Freshman Quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, and their stout defense.
Lawrence who has had a very similar story to Tua Tagovailoa, who took over for a more tenured starter. Lawrence came into the season #2 on the depth chart behind Kelly Bryant. He was the best quarterback out of his recruiting class, and was labeled as a “once in a generation talent.” He has shown that he deserved the starting role early on, and will be a top three Quarterback in the nation the rest of his college career. Bryant is a Senior, and Lawrence was so good, that Bryant transferred to Missouri. So, despite taking limited reps for the first couple of games during the season, Lawrence still tossed 29 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
The Clemson defensive unit has been the best defense in the nation. They played the number three rated team in the nation on Saturday and allowed three points. Here are some of their defensive statistics:
9th in the nation in total yards allowed (3,597)
4th in the nation in yards allowed per game (277)
5th in the nation in total rushing yards allowed (1,208)
3rd in the nation rushing yards allowed per game (92.9)
2nd in the nation total points allowed (178)
2nd in the nation in points allowed per game (13.7)
8-6 ATS this season
Under has hit in 8 out of 14 games this season
8-6 ATS this season
Over has hit 7 out of 13 games this season
14-4 all time vs. Clemson
Free ESPN NCAAF Prediction Alabama Crimson Tide vs Clemson Tigers
Alabama and Clemson have formed a nice rivalry over the passed five seasons. They consistently face each other in the College Football Playoff. This game was certainly chalked up from the beginning of the season, but that doesn’t mean that the game will be bad. Over their their last three meetings, the two teams have gone OVER 60 points, and the Alabama offense has never been this good before. Clemson has the nation’s best defense, but I don’t see them holding off Alabama. In order to keep up, Clemson has to score with them. Expect a shootout in this one.
The Pick: OVER 59.5