No. 1 Alabama (14-Zero) and No. 2 Clemson (14-Zero) had been dominant this season even by the requirements of faculty soccer nationwide championship contenders. Alabama’s common margin of victory was 31.four factors per recreation, whereas Clemson’s was 30.6. Between them they defeated groups ranked third, fourth, sixth, 11th, 17th, 18th and 21st within the newest Associated Press ballot.
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Clemson vs. Alabama: Top Story Lines
Here are the factors that could make the difference between Clemson winning its second national title in the last three seasons, or Alabama winning its sixth in the last 10.
Alabama’s fast starts. In last month’s semifinal at the Orange Bowl, No. 4 Oklahoma (12-2) lost to Alabama by a close margin, 45-34. But the Sooners were effectively finished once Alabama jumped to a 28-0 lead in the second quarter. This outburst was typical for the Crimson Tide offense, which led all 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in first and second quarter points. Clemson must not get into a deep hole versus an offense that, with its always-potent rushing attack, knows how to hold a lead.
Clemson’s rushing attack. While true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence gets all the deserved attention, that means he will also get plenty of note from Alabama’s staff, starting with the former defensive back named Nick Saban. When Alabama drops back six defenders to prevent Lawrence from slicing up the secondary, it will be time for Clemson’s underrated rushing offense — ranked 10th in the country — to shine.
Clemson down a star. Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence was suspended for the semifinal at the Cotton Bowl as well as this game after he and two other Tigers players tested positive for a banned substance called ostarine (they have denied intentionally taking it). This did not seem to matter against Notre Dame, which averaged just 2.5 yards per carry, but Clemson had better hope that reflected their ability to cover up for their missing star.
Postseason Saban. Including national title games held under the Bowl Championship Series, Nick Saban is a crazy 10-2 in playoff games. The two losses came to teams with quarterbacks who outscored the Tide with an ability to throw the deep ball — quarterbacks like Trevor Lawrence. Everyone buckle up!