5 reasons Alabama will win
1. Derrick Henry
The nation’s leading rusher is a handful to bring down and seems to get better as the game goes along. As defenses wear down, he doesn’t. The Heisman Trophy winner has more than 40 carries in two of the last three games, and has 2,061 yards and 25 touchdowns on the year.
2. Nick Saban
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Alabama’s coach has led the Crimson Tide to three national titles since 2009. He always seems to have his team ready to play in big games.
3. Special teams play
Clemson has had its struggles in the return game, and Alabama is more than capable of making you pay. Cyrus Jones has returned four punts for touchdowns, and as a team, Alabama has five punt returns for scores.
4. Defensive front
Clemson’s offensive line is very good, but Alabama presents a whole new challenge. Alabama leads the country in sacks with 50, led by Jonathan Allen with 12 and Tim Williams with 10.5.
5. Turnover margin
The Tigers have struggled taking care of the football and have a minus-1 turnover margin. No one has capitalized yet, but Alabama is more than capable. The Crimson Tide has a plus-9 turnover margin, good for No. 22 in the country.
5 reasons Clemson will win
1. Deshaun Watson
The Tigers have the best quarterback in the country. He has yet to lose when starting and finishing a game. Watson has shined on the big stage numerous times in his first two years, and is more than capable of doing it one more time.
2. Clemson’s offense
If anything gives the Alabama defense trouble, it’s a spread offense. Alabama has five losses in the past three years, all against spread teams. The Tide’s one loss this season was to Ole Miss, which uses a spread offense.
3. Secondary play
Mackensie Alexander is as good as anybody in the country at cornerback and Cordrea Tankersley, Jayron Kearse and T.J. Greene make up quite a supporting cast. The Tigers rank in the top 10 in the country in passing yards allowed.
4. Brent Venables
Clemson’s defensive coordinator is one of the best in the nation. He put together a plan to hold Oklahoma, the hottest offense in the country, to 17 points in the Orange Bowl. He’ll have another solid game plan to slow down Alabama.
Unlike some teams that face Alabama, Clemson won’t be intimidated. Watson is as cool and confident as they come and the Tigers’ defense is full of guys who are good and don’t mind letting you know.