Once again, for the third time in four years, there will be an Alabama-Clemson National Championship and for the fourth year in a row they face each other in the playoffs. This seems to have the makings of a rivalry. But it has all led up to this moment as this will be the final game of the 2018 season. Let’s take a look at the matchup.
The Crimson Tide steamed rolled over a very productive Oklahoma team 45-34, but now they are playing a very good Clemson side. What they will need is to have their quarterback Tua Tagovailoa match Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence score for score if they want any chance of staying in the game. Jalen Hurts does provide Alabama with a strong backup just in case Tagavailoa struggles or gets hurt, but they could utilize Hurts with how dynamic he is with his legs in a way to throw off the Clemson defense. That being said, their defense is very good, however Lawrence will throw the ball a lot and the secondary will need to stay on their toes. They also will need Damien Lewis, Josh Jacobs, and Najee Harris to continue their production from the backfield like they did against Oklahoma, but Clemson’s defense is much better than the Sooners’. Their backfield will have to attack the defensive line as much as possible as Clemson is missing a big piece of their defensive line. And another big deal is whether Alabama’s defense can shut down wide receiver Tee Higgins who is 6’4″ which means he’s a big frame. The hope is that Jerry Jeudy can be as productive as Higgins, but the other hope is that Jaylen Waddle can be a secret weapon as well as tight end Irv Smith to spread out the offense. Higgins will be a point of emphasis for the Crimson Tide defense as it will likely be cornerback Patrick Surtain’s job to defend him (or even Trayvon Mullen’s), but don’t be surprised if there is some double teaming there as their secondary, with the help of safety Deionte Thompson, will need to shut Clemson’s offense down. Lastly, the defensive line, led by stud defensive ends Raekwon Davis and Quinnen Williams, will need to hold the Clemson running game at bay and will hope to get some pass rush help from linebacker Mack Wilson. Never count out the Crimson Tide as they always find ways to win games.
Clemson might be better than people might think as they defeated a Notre Dame side 30-3 easily especially against a very good Fighting Irish defense. These guys are scary good and well balanced. One of the biggest strengths for the Tigers is their defense, especially their defensive line. They employ Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, and Christian Wilkins on their defensive line, but with the suspension of Dexter Lawrence, it does leave a big gaping hole. The other three will need to make up for Lawrence’s absence, plus they will need help from Xavier Thomas and Albert Huggins. Their offense is awesome as they have Hunter Renfrow and Higgins at wide receiver, plus they boast an incredibly talented running back in Travis Etienne and their point of emphasis will have to attack Alabama’s defense as much as possible, but another weapon they have discovered recently that they could use against the Crimson Tide is wide receiver Justyn Ross who gives them more options, to spread out the offense, and another threat against a very good Alabama defense. If their defense can give Tagovailoa a lot of problems, then the Tigers will have a very good chance of winning. Clemson is definitely the more talented team, but Alabama always finds way to win games. It will be tough for the Tigers no matter what.
James Rowe: Clemson. The more I analyzed both teams the more I realized that the Tigers are the actual better side. It will undoubtedly be a close game, but I think Clemson has more advantages this time around.