This will be the third time in the last 4 years that these two teams have met in the National Championship game.
Some might think it has gotten boring … seeing the same two teams again and again … and again. And I’ll be the first one to say that I was rooting for both Oklahoma and Notre Dame (even though I am not a fan) just because I wanted to see something different in the final this season.
However, it doesn’t mean that we won’t see an exciting, highly competitive game. Top online sportsbooks like Intertops have the Alabama Crimson Tide opening as six-point favorites over the Clemson Tigers. The combined score (TOTAL) has been lined out at 59.5.
The Oklahoma Sooners fell flat in the first quarter against Alabama. That said, they outscored the Tide over the next three quarters, but the 21-0 start ended up being insurmountable. The reason I am bringing this up is that the Sooners really pushed the Tide in the second half. And in a lot of ways, the game was closer than the score indicates. The point is, if Alabama plays the way they did against Oklahoma —a defense that is #105 in yards allowed and #95 in points allowed— they are going to lose.
It has been said more than once this season by pundits that this Alabama team may be the most complete and ‘best’ Crimson Tide team ever. But, they got away with Lincoln Riley being shell-shocked in the first quarter, otherwise, they might have lost to Oklahoma. On the flip side, Clemson absolutely handled Notre Dame. They kept the Fighting Irish out of the end zone in their 30-3 win and looked absolutely dominant. Six points seem like too much to give to Alabama.
The Last Time Around
Clemson and Alabama met back in 2016 and played for the National Title. It was a back and forth affair, but the Crimson Tide came from behind in the fourth and won the day 45-40. In 2017 it was exactly the opposite. The Clemson Tigers put up the numbers in the 4th quarter to take down Alabama 35-31 and snatch the title from their grasp.
So one game was decided by five points and the other by four. Is six too much? I believe so. Especially seeing how the Oklahoma Sooners were able to slow down the Alabama offense in the second half. Clemson has the No. 2 scoring defense in the NCAA. So, Alabama will have a much different test ahead of them in the National Championship game. The Tigers excel at stopping the run. They are No. 3 in rushing yards allowed. Alabama has the No. 2 offense, but the separation in offensive power isn’t lopsided. Clemson has the No. 4 scoring offensive going against Alabama’s No. 7 defense. So, the second-ranked offense against the second-ranked defense. Then, the fourth-ranked offense against the seventh-ranked defense. Well, the Tigers seem to have a statistical advantage here.
I am not sure if Clemson will win the game, but they are going to give Alabama everything they have and all that the Tide will be able to handle. This game is going to come down to a field goal or so. So, I have complete confidence in taking the Tigers to cover six points.
College Football Championship Prediction
Take Clemson to cover +6