Crimson Tide likely to add another football championship

By Ben Boezinger

The college football season is slowly coming to a gliding halt. Bowl season is just starting to rev it’s engine.

This season has seen dominance from a likely foe, and some not-so-surprising come ups. With the unusual situation the College Football Playoff committee has been put in, I’m glad to see they got it right with the four best teams in the nation: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Washington. All teams this year have impressive resumes, beating impressive foes. but is any offense good enough to overpower the destructive force that is the Tide’s defense? Is the country’s best QB Deshaun Watson poised for revenge against Alabama? Can Ohio State trump the other veteran teams with their explosive youth? Can the Huskies upset the Tide? All will be answered in the coming paragraphs.

Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide defense has been one of the best in NCAA football history. They’re first in total defense with only an average of 3.9 yards per play and only 249 yards per game. Their offense has been slowing down recently, but I’m confident they’ll pick themselves up in time for the Peach Bowl.

Jalen Hurts has been a pleasant surprise for some and a thorn for most. The freshman has impressed me in how he’s been able to handle and control the Alabama offense.

He’s thrown for 2,592 yards on the season, which isn’t great but much above the average. Twenty two touchdown passes and nine interceptions are pretty respectable numbers as well. Hurts is a dual threat quarterback, and he proved it. He rushed for over 800 yards with 12 TDs. He is the key if the Tide want to advance through the playoff championship.

If the Huskies want to win the Peach Bowl against the Tide, they have to solve that unbreakable defense.

The Huskies offense is lead by quarterback Jake Browning. Since the beginning of the season, he’s quieted down a little. Browning is 21st in the nation in passing yards at 3,280. At Washington’s peak this season, the Heisman vote was expected to be between Browning and Lamar Jackson, but now Browning isn’t even a finalist for the coveted trophy.

The Huskies turnover ratio is also top notch. They are first in the nation in turnovers gained, turnovers lost and their turnover margin. They have 21 more gained than lost, and are sitting at 1.62 for their margin. Against a young Alabama offense, that could prove to be Washington’s x-factor.

If Washington can force Hurts and a weak running back in Damien Harris to cough up the ball, Washington could steal the game right from under Alabama’s nose.

Urban Meyer may arguably be the best coach beside Nick Saban. His Ohio State team prevailed against one of the best Michigan teams to date in “the game” and have an untraditional explosive Big Ten offense.

Led by J.T. Barrett and his 24 TDs, the Buckeyes have an average of 479 yards per game, leading the Big Ten. Also leading the conference in rushing, the combination of Barrett and Mike Weber is a deadly force against weak defensive lines.

Against Clemson, if Ohio State can punish the defensive line early and often, it will be an easy win, but their defense will be the biggest key. They’re ranked fourth in total defense, but they will be going against a veteran college quarterback in Deshaun Watson.

Buckeyes secondary will have their work cut out for them against Watson. It’s not like it will be easy for Watson, however. The Bucks secondary is fifth in the nation in passing yards allowed, so it will be mainly up to the receivers to get some major yards after catch.

Across the field are the third ranked Tigers looking for revenge. After last year’s thrilling loss to the Crimson Tide in the National Championship game. Clemson is led by junior third-year starter Deshaun Watson. In what may be his final game before declaring for the draft, Watson will be looking to make a statement for both his pride and draft stock.

Watson is sixth in the nation at 3,914 passing yards. He can make plays in the huddle, on the ground and in the air. He’s the powerhouse for this offense and can be a huge deciding factor in the game. As far as teams in the CFP go, Clemson has the worst statistical defense. Ranked ninth in the nation in total defense, Clemson gives up more through the air than the ground. If Ohio State wants to pick apart the defense, this should be their weapon of choice.

If I were to pick a national champion right now, it would be Alabama. Their defense is the best in history in my opinion, but I’ve been wrong many times before, and I’ll be wrong many more times. This strange and unusual season wouldn’t be any weirder if there is to be an upset. We’ll just have to see if that involves orange or purple.

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