You could argue that there aren’t many games in modern college football history that have been more highly-anticipated than this one. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers have become really familiar with one another.
Each of the last two National Championships were decided between the Crimson Tide and Tigers. Now, they’ll meet in a national semifinal in the de facto rubber match between the two power programs.
Clemson Bowl History
This marks the 13th straight season in which Clemson has made a bowl game. The Tigers have won three of their four contests played in the College Football Playoff in their history, and they’re 3-1 under Dabo Swinney in New Year’s Six/BCS games.
If Clemson wins the National Championship, it will become the first team in college football history to have won 14 games in three straight seasons. As it is, this is a team that has won at least 12 games in three straight years, and this will be the third straight year that it finishes ranked in the top-five.
Alabama Bowl History
The run Alabama has been on under Nick Saban is ridiculous. Ever since Saban brought the Tide to the Sugar Bowl in 2008, he has been to nothing but games played on New Year’s Day or New Year’s Six/BCS games.
The Crimson Tide are also the only team to have played in all four editions of the College Football Playoff; they’re 2-1 in their previous national semifinals.
Why Clemson Will Win the Sugar Bowl
Swinney deserves all sorts of credit for keeping the Tigers relevant after losing Deshaun Watson, Wayne Ellington, Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett following last season’s championship. The names are different, and the results aren’t nearly the same offensively, but the fact of the matter is that Kelly Bryant did a fantastic job stepping into the huge shoes that Watson jumped out of after the title game last year.
But if the Tigers win this game, they’re going to have to win it with their defensive line. They have the best line in America and have won games with defense this entire season.
Why Alabama Will Win the Sugar Bowl
Throughout the 2017 season, the Crimson Tide had the best team in America. Even when they were threatening to fall out of the CFP after losing to Auburn, our friends in Vegas had the Tide as the favorites to win the National Championship.
Jalen Hurts is one of the best game managers in the nation. He led an Alabama offense that only turned the ball over eight times all season. Of course, when the Crimson Tide don’t give the ball away, they’re virtually impossible to beat.
Most every linebacker that was dinged up early in the season is healthy at this point, and with men like Minkah Fitzpatrick back in the fold, it’s a wonder how Clemson is going to move the ball against this defense.
Sugar Bowl Prediction
There isn’t a thing these teams don’t know about one another at this point. This is just the second time in college football history that two teams have played in bowl games in three consecutive seasons.
This game isn’t going to be anything like the other two. The Crimson Tide defense has a lot to prove after being trashed by Auburn in its last game. We suspect that a month to stew over that loss will provide all the motivation that Nick Saban needs.
Sugar Bowl Pick: Alabama 24, Clemson 7
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