Alabama vs. Clemson, Part IV. Sign me up. For the third time in the last four years, the final two teams standing are Alabama and Clemson. That should come as a surprise to no one because these two teams happen to have the two best coaches in Division I football, Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney. Both Alabama and Clemson come into the National Championship undefeated and motivated to add to their recent history of success. Both teams can win tonight and here’s how it can happen.
Alabama Can Win If…
Tua is Tua
- Tua Tagovailoa is the best quarterback that Nick Saban has ever coached at Alabama. The numbers speak for themselves. 3,671 yards and 41 touchdowns would have been good enough for the Heisman Trophy had it not been for Kyler Murray. That being said, Tua exacted his revenge on Murray as the lefty threw for 318 yards and 4 TDs to defeat Oklahoma in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff. What Tua can do on a football field is special. He can make every throw, keep plays alive with his legs, and change the course of the game at any moment. If Tua is his usual self, it will be a long day for the Clemson Tigers.
Quinnen Williams Plays Like A Superstar
- Clemson may have the depth at defensive line, but they don’t have Quinnen Williams. The Alabama defensive lineman has had a meteoric rise this past season as he became the best defensive lineman in the country. Williams accumulated 67 tackles, 8 sacks, and 18 tackles for loss. Williams is the best player on the field at all times and is currently projected to be taken in the top 3 of this year’s NFL Draft according to NBC Sports. If Williams wreaks havoc on the interior line, it will be a long night for Clemson.
Good Luck Stopping Alabama’s Pass Catchers
- The best phrase to describe the Alabama receiving corp is “Pick your poison.” Seriously, this unit is a five-headed monster. It all starts with Jerry Jeudy, who was a first-team All-American and the Biletnikoff Award winner, which is awarded to the nation’s top receiver. After Jeudy, a quartet of talent awaits as Henry Ruggs III, Jaylen Waddle, Irv Smith Jr., and Devonta Smith all have over 6 touchdown catches each. You cannot stop this group. You can only hope to contain it.
Nick Saban Shows Why He’s the Greatest Coach Of All-Time
- For my money, Nick Saban is the greatest coach of all-time. Although he’s tied with Bear Bryant for national championships with 6, Saban has won titles with two schools, which is why I give him the edge over Bryant. There’s a reason why Alabama is 55-3 since 2015 and are making their fourth straight appearance in the National Championship game. Saban and the Tide make little to no mistakes throughout the game. No one adjusts better at halftime than Saban. Look at last year as Saban inserted Tua in at quarterback over Jalen Hurts. Most coaches play checkers. Saban plays chess. If Saban throws his headset again, Clemson should give up on the spot.
Clemson Can Win If…
Trevor Lawrence Thrives Under Pressure
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has drawn many comparisons to his idol, Peyton Manning. However, Lawrence has been described as “Peyton Manning, but a better runner.” That’s a lethal combination, and it very well is the winning formula for defeating Alabama. The true freshman took over as the starter for Kelly Bryant in September and hasn’t looked back since. Lawrence has thrown for 2,933 yards and 27 TDs to only 4 INTs. Without a doubt, Alabama will be the toughest defense that Lawrence has faced all season. If the freshman can limit the turnovers and convert on third downs, then Clemson keeps Tua off the field, which may be the difference in the end.
Clemson Defense Proves They’re The Better Unit
When asking the casual fan about the team with the better defense, one might assume that it’s Alabama because of their recent history of dominance. However, that’s not true this season. The Clemson Tigers defense is statistically better than the Alabama defense. Clemson is ranked 2nd in the country in total defense while Alabama ranks 13th. Alabama might have the best defensive player on the field in Quinnen Williams, but Clemson has the better defensive line. Even without Dexter Lawerence, Clemson still boasts two consensus All-Americans in Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins. Add Austin Bryant and Albert Huggins into the mix, and the Tigers defensive line can disrupt Tua and the Alabama offense all night.
Travis Etienne Finds Success On The Ground
Alabama has depth in the backfield, but the best running back on the field wears orange and white. His name is Travis Etienne. The Clemson sophomore rushed for a jaw-dropping 1572 yards and 22 TDs this season. That’s 700 more yards than the leading Alabama running back. Plus, Clemson has three running backs that average over 7 yards per carry while Alabama has none. If Etienne find success on the ground, then it will open up the offense and put less pressure on Trevor Lawrence
The Clemson Coaching Staff Orchestrates The Game Of Their Lives
Nick Saban is in a league of his own, which is why it’s going to take a team effort from the Clemson coaching staff to defeat Goliath. There is a reason why Brett Venables is one of the highest paid assistants in college football. Venables is the best defensive coordinator in Division I, and he’s worth every penny. Venables’ defense ranked second in total defense and provided the anchor for this undefeated team. However, it all starts at the top for the Tigers. Their success is credited to their energetic and passionate head coach who is the only man to ever defeat Nick Saban in the National Championship. That coach is Dabo Swinney. Swinney has turned Clemson from an average team to a national powerhouse during his tenure. If there’s one coach who could disrupt the Alabama dynasty, it’s Dabo.
Alabama vs. Clemson. Tua vs. Trevor. Saban vs. Dabo. This is the heavyweight fight that college football fans deserve.