I’ve been had. Like many others, including Las Vegas, I believed the hype of the Big Ten. Then Bowl season came. Nebraska got pummeled by a Tennessee team whose previous game had been an 11-point loss to the not exactly great Vanderbilt. Iowa was blown out by Florida. Penn State and Michigan both lost their Bowls as well. And then there was Ohio State. Sure, their win over Michigan was controversial, but that didn’t mean that they weren’t still the team that beat Alabama in a recent Sugar Bowl, right?
Anyway, it’s Alabama and Clemson for the top prize in college football. Again. The SEC had a down year, thank god we were the exception. The ACC does seem to be on something of an upswing, so it most likely means nothing that Clemson lost a regular season game this time around.
We have two fantastic teams, great on offense and defense. And two great coaches in Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban. Deshaun Watson remains a fantastic running quarterback. And with the accuracy of his passes, he shouldn’t have much trouble shifting into a more pocket passing style in the NFL (where both the rules and rough nature of the game favor pocket passers). Jalen Hurts does make freshman mistakes, but we have a hell of a defense!
That defense has only twice allowed more than 16 points. But we’ve mostly been playing mediocre teams. Clemson is not mediocre. Again, Watson is great! This will probably be the toughest test to date for our “D.” Also, we won’t have Eddie Jackson this time.
Not to mention that offensively, we haven’t been doing so well as of late. Washington held us to 24 and was pressuring Hurts even more than that suggests. Not to mention that we weren’t scoring that much on Auburn until they got tired from being on the field all game and could only score 31 on Chattanooga (by college standards, that’s not all that many).
However, Watson has been throwing a lot of interceptions this season. We need to capitalize on these chances he seems likely to give us. Even without Jackson, this is a very opportunistic defense.
My guess is we win in a lower scoring game than last time, but still pretty close. ROLL TIDE!!!