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National Championship predictions

Our team takes a crack at predicting Alabama-Clemson

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Alabama vs Clemson Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Our team at Mountain West Connection is giving you our picks for the National Championship Game. It is fair to say that none of us our surprised by the matchup, but some of us might surprise you with our picks. Check out what our team thinks.

Zach: Heading into the playoff, I was confident that Alabama would destroy every team in their path. Honestly, Clemson looked more impressive in their first round showing. Alabama’s defense has more flaws than the typical Nick Saban team, but this is the best offense he has had during his time at Alabama. I think Clemson will be the stiffest test that Tua has faced this year. But I think the team with the best quarterback usually wins these games and Tua is ahead of Lawrence at this point. Bama wins a close one. Alabama 28-Clemson 24.

Mike: I’ll start by saying that I haven’t watched much of either team this season besides highlights. I try to avoid watching Alabama and though I have nothing against Clemson, I usually end up watching another game when they are on. Anyway, these are far and away the two best teams in all of college football and it’s not really that close. My heart wants to go Clemson but my head says the Tide roll. Clemson will give them a good, close game but I think Alabama asserts themselves as the champions once again. They have one of the most complete teams Saban has presided over and that balance will carry them past the Tigers. Alabama 35- Clemson 31.

Gino: When thinking about the two semi-final games, one word comes to mind. Domination. Both Clemson and Alabama made short work of their respective opponents and set the stage for an exciting, albeit predictable National Championship. The fourth installment of this rivalry between the nation’s best is shaping up to be the most interesting yet. The two teams are practically identical in offensive and defensive efficiency, points per game differential, and win/loss record since 2015. Both teams feature a dynamic quarterback and dominate defensive lines. Both Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa have the ability to make plays anywhere on the field, and the supporting cast to put points on the broad. I believe it will be a close game, but like their past contests, the team who has the ball last will be the one to win the game. And I think that will be Alabama. I pick them to win in a shootout. Alabama 42-Clemson 35

Isaiah: I’ve been riding the Alabama hype train for a little while now, and I’m taking them against a loaded Clemson front seven. Tua Tagovailoa adds another element offensively for the Tide, and I think he’s going to shred the Tigers secondary with darts down the field. Not the best analysis by any means, but I’m going with my guy on this one. Dabo Sweeney has had success against Nick Saban in the past, but Alabama makes too many plays late and there’s no Deshaun Watson to steal the show. Alabama 38, Clemson 31

Jeremy: The College Football Playoff was thought to create parity in the amateur sport, but to this point the results have been predictable. Nick Saban’s dominance of the sport continued into 2018, often skyrocketing due to finally having a top tier quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. The CFP doesn’t owe us drama, this game could very well be another Tide smacking. I’m hoping Trevor Lawrence can close that gap between the two, but come on…I’m not picking against Saban. Alabama 35, Clemson 27

Matt: Defense wins championships, and Clemson has the defense. All we’ve seen this season is how big the gap is between Clemson, Alabama, and everybody else in the country. This is Round 4 between these two teams, and I think Clemson evens up the series. Clemson 31, Alabama 27

Derek: This might come off as a hot take, but I think this Alabama team is one they might be talking about 20 years from now. Their offensive skill positions contain over half a dozen players who will likely be first round draft picks, and the defense is once again very physical and fast. With that being said, Clemson did put on a very good showing against Notre Dame in the semifinal matchup. The Tigers seemed light years faster and more prepared than the Irish, but playing Alabama is a whole other animal. Both Saban and Swinney will have great game plans that should make for a fun game, but I expect the Tide to be planning their midfield celebration midway through the fourth quarter. Alabama 34, Clemson 20

Terrance: We have college football’s version of Cavs vs Warriors. This one has been a lot more competitive! Alabama hasn’t been tested other than the SEC Championship when Tua was hurt. Clemson will be their toughest test. It’s a test that I don’t see them passing. During the Nick Saban era, the 2009 team was the only team that finished with an undefeated record. The fact that they haven’t faced a ton of adversity shows me that Clemson will win this game. Their defensive front will be an issue for the Tide. Trevor Lawrence is better than Kelly Bryant who made Clemson one dimensional last year which was advantage Alabama. Clemson wins another wild one. Clemson 41, Alabama 31

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