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Sunday, 10 January 2016

College Football National Championship Game Pick 2016 (Monday 11th January)

The entire College Football season has come down to the final game of the season as the National Championship is decided between a team that has plenty of experience against one that is surprisingly unbeaten.

I think this is the National Championship we deserve to see before another seven month wait to see it all happen again.

The best of luck to both teams, I hope they can produce a classic.

Alabama Crimson Tide v Clemson Tigers Pick: The Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers came through their Play Off 'Semi Finals' on New Year's Eve to reach the National Championship Game in Phoenix. Out of the two teams, the Clemson Tigers certainly had the more impressive win as the underdog against the Oklahoma Sooners, but you can't take anything away from the way Alabama dominated the Michigan State Spartans later that same day.

While there will be plenty of Sooners fans who believe their team deserved to be here, I think most neutral fans would be happy with the two teams we have competing this National Championship Game.

The layers have given the edge to Alabama, but I am not sure that Clemson don't feel the happiest when they are set as the underdog. Both teams will be unconcerned with how people view them and Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney will be looking to prepare their teams as best as possible for a huge game for both schools.

You won't be having to look too far to see some of the players that will be making an impact at the NFL level in the years to come and two of the top three Heisman Trophy finishers in action in this one. Which of the teams will be ready to take advantage of their Offensive weapons to win this game and take home the National Championship trophy?

It won't be a big surprise to Clemson as to what the Crimson Tide are going to want to do on Offense- they will look to establish the run and keep Quarter Back Jake Coker in third and manageable spots where he has thrived. Coker has been more than a game manager in recent games, but the key for Alabama is establishing the run through Derrick Henry and, to a lesser extent, Kenyan Drake.

Henry won the Heisman Trophy after rushing for over 2000 yards on the season and he will be given the rock plenty of times in this one even if it means wearing down the Clemson Defensive Line. The Tigers have been solid against the run, but not impenetrable and I think Henry and Drake will both have their successes to make sure Alabama are kept in manageable down and distance, which is hugely important to Coker.

That will also help negate a powerful Clemson pass rush, although the Tigers potentially will be missing Shaq Lawson on that front too, and allow Coker the time to make his plays. Being left in third and long will be tough for Alabama to convert on a regular basis with the pass rush Clemson have been able to get through the course of the season even if Lawson is out.

A few seasons ago we saw Johnny Manziel rip Alabama with his brand of a read Offense being able to make plays both with his arm and legs, and Deshaun Watson is more than capable of replicating that as the Clemson Quarter Back. Watson has over 3600 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards on the season, but Saban figured out Manziel the second time he played him and should be more prepared to find a way to slow down Watson in this one.

The big question for Clemson is are they going to be able to run the ball against Alabama who have been so strong against the run all season. Wayne Gallman and Watson both had over 1000 rushing yards on the season, but the Crimson Tide have given up just 2.3 yards per carry on the year and it could be the key to the whole game as to which Line wins that battle.

Shutting down the run has allowed Alabama to tee off on the pass rush in recent games, but Watson might be a little more elusive at Quarter Back than anyone they have seen. Watson's ability to move has meant the Offensive Line has looked good in pass protection, but this Crimson Tide Secondary has also played well through the course of the season and particularly over their last three games.

The turnover battle is going to be all important in these really big games and that is an area where I think Alabama also have the edge. Coker has had more success looking after the ball in the passing game, while fumbles have been an issue at times for the Clemson Tigers.

I love what the Tigers have achieved this season, but Alabama look incredibly strong and I think Saban's experience in the big game is another edge for the SEC Champions. I can see them wearing down the Clemson Tigers in the second half and their Defensive unit making a couple of big plays to slow down Deshaun Watson to help Alabama pull clear and take the National Championship trophy home yet again.

While I do think it will be close for a while, I expect Alabama to pull away in the second half and cover the spread.

MY PICK: Alabama Crimson Tide - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)

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