2016 CFB Playoff National Championship Preview

January 11, 2016

Wouldn’t it be nice if leading up to one of the most important days of your company’s fiscal year, you were able to head out to a destination with warmer weather and take it easy, relatively speaking? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what ESPN and their personalities do the week before the college football national championship.

Just set up a bunch of booths in front of University of Phoenix Stadium, do some fluff stories that no one really pays any attention to, then broadcast the game.

Who am I kidding…that sound amazing.

But since ESPN, FS1, CBS College Sports and too many local networks to count have already broken down the game more ways that I could even hope to, I’ll keep this post short. If you follow @KBecks_ATC on Twitter, you already know who I have winning the game.

Let’s take a closer look at the final game of the 2015-2016 college football season.

CFB Playoff National Championship Game

#1 Clemson vs. #2 Alabama (Monday, 8:30 PM ET – ESPN)

For nearly the entire season, Dabo Swinney and the rest of the Clemson Tigers have been acting as if the country does not respect them. And for about six weeks of the regular season, that may have been true. But the Tigers have made it now. The number one team in the country, playing the number two team in the national title game. They can continue to adopt the underdog mentality if it helps them, but no one is buying it anymore. Alabama isn’t looking forward a week or taking the Tigers lightly. So both teams must man up and play to the best of their ability in order to win. Point spread aside, there really is no underdog here.

Clemson’s offense has put the team in this position and it will be the difference in this game as well. With the exception of letting Jake Coker look better than he really is, Michigan State didn’t do badly against Alabama’s offense. No Crimson Tide running back rushed for over 100 yards and if not for one long touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown, Alabama was held to under 25 points. But the defense absolutely stifled the Spartans, not allowing more than 14 yards from any Michigan State running back and forcing two Connor Cook interceptions. Deshaun Watson may not be quite the polished passer that Cook is, but he has better range of motion and that has been an issue for Alabama this season. The ability to keep plays alive may be Watson’s most dangerous asset tonight.

On Alabama’s end, it’s fairly simple as well. Play good defense and get a strong performance out of the special teams unit. The Crimson Tide made the semifinal a snoozefest thanks to the kick return game and defense, two areas that have improved drastically since the Ole Miss loss early in the season. Nick Saban’s teams have always operated with a “business as usual” attitude, a stark contrast compared with the opposite sideline. Although Clemson is the No. 1 team in the nation currently, there is a feeling that if the Crimson Tide do what they do best, then they will win this game. If they do, then Nick Saban and Urban Meyer will be responsible for seven of the last ten national titles. It’s not too early to call it a dynasty in Tuscaloosa, anymore.

My Pick: 37-26 Alabama

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