Clemson vs Alabama: Alabama vs. Clemson: College Football Playoff National Championship preview and predictions. No. 1 Alabama (14-0) vs. No. 2 Clemson (14-0).
They’ve pieced together tremendous seasons leading their loaded clubs to this point and though vastly different in size, both are bound to be serious NFL prospects when their respective times come. Let’s examine where Tagovailoa and Lawrence are today, what they need to improve, and how they stack up with signal-callers from the 2018 and 2019 classes.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide became the first team since Yale all the way back before 1900 to beat every opponent in the regular season by 20 or more points. Over the course of the regular season, which featured eight games of at least 50 points, no team came closer to beating Alabama than Texas A&M’s 45-23 Week 4 loss in Tuscaloosa. It wasn’t a soft schedule, either. The Tide beat LSU, Texas A&M and Mississippi State before besting Georgia in a drama-filled SEC Championship Game. The stretch of 20-point wins came to a close as the Bulldogs gave the Tide all it could handle until Jalen Hurts, in relief of the injured Tua Tagovailoa, executed a storybook comeback and preserved Alabama’s undefeated season. From there, Alabama advanced to the College Football Playoff semifinals, where it dispatched of No. 4 Oklahoma 45-34 in a game that was not as close as the final score may indicate.
Clemson: After a somewhat uninspiring start to the season, Tigers coach Dabo Swinney officially made the switch from playing both senior Kelly Bryant and five-star freshman Trevor Lawrence at quarterback to naming Lawrence the starter. That caused Bryant to transfer and led to a close call when Lawrence was injured during his first start against Syracuse a week later. Thanks to third-stringer Chase Brice, Clemson edged the Orange, 27-23. And when Lawrence returned the following week, that started the Tigers’ easy march through ACC play. Over the next eight games, including wins over No. 16 NC State, No. 17 Boston College and Pitt in the ACC title game, Clemson won by an average of 38.25 points. In the College Football Playoff semifinals, the Tigers made quick work of No. 3 Notre Dame, winning 30-3 to set up round four with Alabama.