When: Monday January 1st, 8:45, ESPN
Current spread: Bama -3, O/U 47
All-time series: Bama 13-4
And here we go………3rd year in a row. Who wins the rubber match? This is becoming a yearly event, and I’m fine with that. Two hard-nosed teams, two great defenses, two dual threat QBs. If you live on the east coast and have to get up early, squeeze in a nap before this game. You won’t want to miss this one.
Bama QB Jalen Hurts (1,940-15-1) gets it done on the ground too. He rushed for 768 yards and 8 TDs. He’s dangerous once he leaves the pocket. WR Calvin Ridley (55-896-3) is the only valid threat he has downfield. But the running game is the strength of this team. Damien Harris (906-11) and Bo Scarbrough (549-8) will be pounding the line of scrimmage in an attempt to wear them down. This has always been Alabama’s forte. They are notorious for pulling away late in the game against tired defenses. Alabama has the #2 defense in the country. They will be looking to get the ball in the hands of Hurts and the offense.
Kelly Bryant (2,678-13-6) can run as well. He rushed for 646 yards and 11 TDs. Like Hurts, he can be a threat outside the pocket. Clemson features a 2 back system too. Travis Etienne (744-13) and Tavien Feaster (659-7) will keep fresh legs on the ground. When Bryant goes to the air, he has a trio of capable targets. Deon Cain (52-659-7), Hunter Renfrow (55-571-3), and Ray-Ray McCloud (46-502-1) will challenge the Bama secondary all game. And McCloud is explosive on special teams with a 12.1 punt return average with a TD. Clemson’s defense is ranked #6 in the country. They will be tested in this game, there’s no doubt.
This game has everything. Will the defenses rise to the occasion? Will the running game prevail? Will either QB stretch the field in the passing game? If you like football, this is the game you won’t want to miss. Like the other semi-final game, I have no idea who wins this game. But again, I like the under. I think this game is fought at the line of scrimmage. Sit back and enjoy.