The national championship for the 2018-19 college football season is going to be between a pair of teams familiar to the national title game spotlight—the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide. The two have met in the College Football Playoffs in each of the last four seasons, once in the semifinals and three times in the finals.
Both were expected by many to make it back to the championship game this year, and sure enough—they did. Alabama had to outscore Oklahoma to earn the right and Clemson just flat out dominated Notre Dame.
But neither has faced an opponent like the other all season.
As usual, Alabama is pretty good at running the ball this season. But the strength of the team is not in the rushing attack this year; it is the passing game. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the most efficient quarterback in college football this season. Behind his talent, skill, and leadership, the Crimson Tide developed the sixth best passing game in the country this season.
But they have still managed to run for over 200 yards a game and score close to 50 points a contest (47.7 average; they did score 50+ in seven games).
However, Clemson is no slouch on offence either. Trevor Lawrence did not start the season as the starter but worked his way into the spot. While he is not as efficient as Tagovailoa, he is ranked 15th in the nation. His passing attack isn’t as productive as Alabama’s (-51.5 yards/game). But Clemson gets a lot more help from the run game (+54.3 yards/game).
Clemson averages a few points less a game on offence (44.3). But their defence holds opponents to under 13 points a game.
While it may be the explosive offences both teams have that get people to tune in, how well their respective defences play will decide the game. Statistically, both are fantastic. Alabama gives up more in every significant category, but the difference could be attributed to the competition they faced.
Clemson could very well shut down the Alabama run game, but that could just set Tagovailoa for a monster day. Because if Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond can throw for 400+ against Clemson so can he.
He may need to throw for 400+ yards to keep up with the damage Trevor Lawrence has inflicted on the Alabama secondary—assuming the stage and magnitude of the game don’t affect the freshman quarterback.
Spread: Alabama by 6
This is going to be a close, hard-fought game. But Clemson has just a little more talent on defence than Alabama this year. Don’t expect the Crimson Tide to cover the spread.
Defence is going to play a significant role in the outcome of this game. But both offences are too good. It is easy to see both scoring 30+ points.
Money line: Clemson +175.00; Alabama -238.10
It is not hard to see this one going either way. But Clemson has a slight talent advantage in this one (on defence) which will allow them to win the day. So, take Clemson to win.
*Odds via 888sports