The NCAA's College Football Playoff (CFP) Championship game is officially set with the Clemson Tigers taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on January 11. Alabama is looking to grab its first national title since defeating Notre Dame in 2012. Clemson has not won a national title for more than 30 years.
The Crimson Tide, currently number two in the NCAA ranking, destroyed the Big Ten champion Michigan State Spartans 38-0 in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl while the number one Tigers ran through the Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners 37-17 in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
These two teams have met 15 times, the last of which was in 2008. Clemson lost the last 12 of the meetings and in seven of those, Clemson did not score. In fact, the Tigers did not score more than 14 points in any of the said losses, according to Yahoo Sports. The last time Clemson topped Alabama was over a century ago in 1905.
Clemson's strength lies on its offensive capability which allowed it to conquer challenges this season. The Tigers' final challenge will come in the CFP championship match against the Tide's remarkable defense. Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy race, possess leadership skills and playmaking ability that guided his team through a tough schedule with wins over the Florida State Seminoles and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish .
The sophomore dual-threat QB delivered more than 4,700 all-purpose yards and 43 total touchdowns so far, including a recent 322-yard, two touchdown performance against Oklahoma.
However, Alabama is not going to be intimidated by Clemson because it is clear that coach Nick Saban Jr. knows how to prepare the Crimson Tide for critical situations. They did not only withstood a difficult game against the tough Michigan State team, they also defeated the Spartans by a 38-0 margin.
Alabama comes into this championship game with a record of 13-1. The team is led by Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry who dominated the SEC this season. He managed to become the conference's all-time single-season rushing leader, finishing 2,061 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.
Henry is only one among Alabama's key players as it also has QB Jacob Coker. While he did not post stellar numbers during the regular season (with 2,775 yards and 19 touchdowns), he did finish 25-of-30 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the semifinal.
Rant Sports also noted that Coker has a reliable complement of receivers such as freshman Calvin Ridley, who caught two touchdowns against the Spartans, Ardarius Stewart and tight end O.J. Howard.
The Alabama vs. Clemson championship match is set to take place on Monday, January 11 at 8:30 p.m. EST. Fans will be able to watch the game at the ESPN channel who will also stream it live on its Watch ESPN website. Those who would like to stay updated about the playoff via radio can stay tuned to ESPN Radio or the Sirius XM Channel 80 radio station.