CLEMSON vS ALABAMA
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Clemson vs. Alabama: Position-by-Position National Championship Breakdown,What’s old is new again. After meeting in last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship, Clemson and Alabama are set to clash in college football’s first-ever national title rematch.
Both teams waltzed through the College Football Playoff semifinals, definitively establishing themselves as the two best squads in the country. It was a similar case last year, and the Crimson Tide nabbed a thrilling 45-40 victory in that battle with the Tigers.
Clemson’s offense is largely built on returning players, but the Tiger defense and whole Alabama unit feature plenty of new starters.
Comparing these rosters by positional group solidifies the belief that these are two evenly matched teams. Starters are listed at the beginning of each section, though rotational reserves are mentioned as well.
Jalen Hurts put together an excellent freshman campaign, winning the job in early September and guiding Alabama to the SEC crown. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin utilized the true freshman’s speed to give the Tide a useful third dimension.
But there’s a twist: Kiffin will not coach in the championship game. Instead, Steve Sarkisian will be calling plays for the Tide.
Deshaun Watson already held a clear edge in this category, but Hurts’ championship debut just became that much more difficult. He’s accustomed to Kiffin calling the shots, so the freshman must adjust to Sark while in the biggest game of his career.
While that’ll be a fascinating storyline to follow, Watson is the obvious selection. The third-year starter is liable to throw an interception or two, and that could be a game-changing problem.
However, there are few, if any, quarterbacks a college football team would rather have in a clutch moment. In last season’s matchup, Saban decided to call a surprise onside kick because he was concerned Alabama couldn’t stop Watson, according to John Zenor of the Associated Press.
You don’t hear Saban suggest that often.