Dabo Swinney reflects on life in Alabama, Nick Saban gets sentimental

Violet Powell
January 8, 2017

And Saban usually makes good in-game decisions, including a surprise onside kick that proved crucial in defeating Clemson for the title past year. Scott, who was close to committing to UCF at one point just prior to his senior year at East Lake, has 73 catches for 608 yards and five touchdowns.

Deshaun Watson is back.

Alabama beat the Tigers past year 45-40 in a thriller, we should have another one Monday.

And if the Tigers have any chance to claim their first national title since 1981, they will need similar output from their best offensive player on Monday night in Tampa. "Those guys do a job from a breakdown standpoint so when you walk in they can hand it to it you and say, 'Hey, this is kind of what these guys do'". Mike Williams is a freak and should be the focal point for the defense.

Clemson: They were vulnerable at times in the regular season. Against Pittsburgh, Watson did throw three picks, but this was on 52-of-70 passing for 580 yards and three more TDs.

Tracking by TicketIQ shows the average ticket price for the 2017 National Championship Game is $2,945, a 42 percent price jump from the day before.

Alabama players remarked Saturday during the game's annual Media Day how they were not prepared for the Tigers' up-tempo offense and DeShaun Watson's elusive style passing and running past year. That's great incentive for Clemson to give him added attention this time. "Pretty soon we were going to the ACC championship game and winning it and being top 15, top 10 and top five". He figures to be at fever's pitch come kickoff.

Alabama has NFL-caliber talent everywhere, of course, but Williams is a matchup nightmare even for good corners such as Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett.

Steve Sarkisian

The public also has driven down the money line. Whether or not he gets to the quarterback, he defines pocket-collapser. If Alabama's historic-looking defense doesn't take care of business - which is something that's been on defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick's mind for a while - the pundits will knock this unit right off its current pedestal. He will be the next great defensive player to emerge from Tuscaloosa.

"Systematically, what they do on offense, defense and special teams are very, very challenging", Saban said.

As a result, Sarkisian may not deviate too much from a game plan that has a heavy emphasis on the running game.

Alabama has won 16 consecutive football games against ranked opponents.

Digging a little deeper into the numbers, the Clemson defensive line is 12th in adjusted line yards, 32nd in power success rate and 33rd in stuff rate, according to Football Outsiders. Clemson's offense is notfocused on pounding the football from the backfield. heavy run game from its tailback.

Clemson offensive lineman Jay Guillermo put it even more succinctly. It's a program record.

Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts, who hopes to be the first true freshman to win a national title since 1985 and just the second ever, was asked to pass only 14 times, completing seven attempts for 57 yards. It might be the best the Tide has ever had. "If you think that Alabama's defense can do something like that again, then you think that Alabama can score enough points to win this game". "However, Clemson is quickly proving itself to be as good as Alabama".

Here's how great Alabama's defense is: Jonathan Allen finished sixth in the Heisman voting and received 17 first-place votes. No team has come out on top against Alabama thus far this season, but if Clemson is able to play to its strengths, one of which includes having the best quarterback in the NCAA manning the offense, the Tigers are certainly capable of doing so. Early in the fourth quarter, Howard became invisible again and caught a wide-open 51-yard score to give Alabama the lead. While Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd went pro after last year's national title bout, Clemson does have another bountiful crop of high-end pass rushers including Carlos Watkins, Austin Bryant, and Clelin Ferrell.

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Beathard played much of the game with a hamstring injury suffered in the first half, something that limited his running ability. This is college football and all of that certainly matters. "That was the most important part".

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