The College Football Playoff, for all of the complaining, has been widely accepted as a better system for deciding college football’s national champion than the old BCS. This season, we’ve ended up with the consensus top two teams in the country playing for the title game as the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers get set to play on Monday night.
The funny part? The BCS probably would have given us this match-up too.
“Yes, I guess the BCS would’ve gotten this right,” said Jerry Palm CBSSports.com’s bracketologist on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It’s hard to really say because some of the data that was used in the BCS no longer exists. But, I think it’s pretty likely that the BCS would have gotten this one right.”
Now, as we near Monday night, the focus has been mainly on one match-up: Deshaun Watson vs. the Alabama front seven. The Tide lead the nation in sacks this season with 50, how can Clemson’s offense stack up against that massive Alabama front.
“Clemson’s offense is the kind of offense that has given Alabama’s defense and their scheme problems in the past,” said Palm. “Not as much this year, but that’s probably because of all that depth the Tide can stay fresh when offenses spread them out. This is definitely a prolific offense. Deshaun Watson is a fantastic player, who was probably underrated for most of the year, until he became a Heisman finalist anyway. But, he really didn’t get a lot of attention until the end of the season. Yeah, it is going to be a problem I think for Alabama’s defense to some degree, certainly more than Michigan State was. Michigan State’s offense sets up a lot better for Alabama’s defense. This one is going to make them work a lot harder to keep them off the scoreboard and I doubt they’re going to keep them off entirely.”
On the flip side, Alabama’s offense is primarily based around its running back Derrick Henry. Quarterback Jake Coker however, did a nice job opening up the Spartans defense in the semifinal completing 25/30 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Which style of offense will we see from the Tide against Clemson?
“Well, Clemson’s defense is also very good, and probably doesn’t get enough credit because Deshaun Watson, when Clemson gets attention, it’s Deshaun Watson. But Clemson’s defense is very good,” said Palm. “Their defense attacks the passing game better than they attack the running game. They’re good against the run, they’re great against the pass because they’ve got great pass rushers and great corners. So, the game plan that Alabama used against Michigan State, which is to throw over the top a little bit because that’s how you attack their defense and Jake Coker had a great game doing that. They’re not going to have to do that to set up the run against Clemson the way they had to do that against Michigan State. So, you’ll probably see more of a traditional Alabama attack. They’ll probably try and establish Henry early because that’s a better way to attack Clemson’s defense. But, if Clemson can slow that down, then they’ve got a very good chance of making it a difficult night for Alabama’s offense.”
The National Championship Game kicks off Monday night at 8:30 pm on ESPN.