The University of Alabama Football and Crimson Tide Sports Source
January 19, 2017
January 09, 2017
The Last Game
Alabama will play its fifteenth game of the season tonight. This game will determine the national champion and cement Nick Sabanís legacy, though heís not concerned with that. The talk all week has been Bamaís offensive coordinator change, which is unfair to the players.
If Saban didnít think changing offensive coordinators would help the team, he would not have done it. Sure it could be an issue, but it seems unlikely that there will be a wholesale offensive change in a week. Probably what you will see is more of a ground and pound with all of the jet sweeps and other ďinnovationsĒ sprinkled in.
† The line on the game is stop the run and make Jalen Hunts beat you passing. Nobody thinks he can do that. Heís never had to but who knows. On the other hand Deshaun Watson is perhaps the best quarterback in college football today. The teams that have beaten Alabama have all had an elite quarterbacks. Watson burned the Tide last year racking up nearly 500 yards in offense and it still wasnít enough.
† Thereís all sorts of clutter out there regarding the game and why Clemson might/should win. Another anemic offensive performance from Alabama, like we saw last week would not help matters. Thatís what prompted the change at offensive coordinator and thus caused more clutter. Lane Kiffin to his credit changed the Alabama offense for the better. Under his direction the vanilla ground and pound unit became multidimensional and thus much harder to defend. He tutored three different starting quarterbacks and made the playoffs each year. Heís gone but the blueprint he created remains.
† Sabanís old school. He believes that defense wins championships. As a result he wants to play conservative, make Clemson stop what has become an excellent running attack. Then try and defeat Deshaun Watson and company with the fast, stifling defense that has been so successful this season. Last yearís game turned into a shootout and thatís really not Alabamaís style. Thatís the formula that could get this team beat.
† This team has chemistry unlike any team that has been in Tuscaloosa during the Saban era. It is perhaps the most Saban of all ten of those teams. These players have bought into what coach is selling and they now have a chance to be a part of history. If Alabama wins this game it will do something that no other team, no other school has ever done. They will be on a shelf all by themselves. Thatís a lot of pressure for a bunch of kids. But, thatís the thing about this team, which is led by a true freshman quarterback and an upper class laden defense. They know what they have to do to be successful. The only question is can they do it. Vince Lombardi used to say his teams never lost they just ran out of time. If this team fails to win the national championship it will be because they failed to execute properly.
† That said I have been all over the place on this game. Alabama has played a tough SEC schedule this year and won 13 games. They beat the PAC 12 champion in the Peach Bowl and have now won 14 games. When they beat Clemson they will have won 15 games. My guess Alabama 28 Clemson 17.
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