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Why This Clemson vs Alabama CFP Title Game Is Different

by Daniel Gerbick on Friday, January 4th, 2019

trevor lawrence clemson tigersAs the Clemson Tigers (14-0) prepare to play the Alabama Crimson Tide (14-0) in the title game for the third time in four seasons a lot of fans around the country have complained about the “boring” matchup, but to those who love football, this rivalry has been anything but boring.

These two teams have been setting the standard in college football for the last few years as proven by the fact that they are meeting in the CFP playoffs for the fourth time in as many seasons. So far Alabama leads the series 2-1, but they are tied 1-1 in championship games.

Last year, in their most recent meeting during the CFP Semifinals, Alabama won 24-6 as they moved on to beat Georgia 26-23 and claim its second national championship in the last three years.

But what makes this Clemson team different from the ones that have faced Alabama the last few years? The answer to that question in one word is: balance.

With Trevor Lawrence at quarterback and Travis Etienne at running back, they now possess a more balanced offense, instead of the passing team that they were in previous years.

With Deshaun Watson, they were more of a passing team and relied heavily on him, while last year with Kelly Bryant they were more of a running team.

This year the Tigers have to feel more comfortable about the versatility of their attack as they have a quarterback that can stretch the field and utilize all the weapons around him; while on the ground, they have Etienne, an outstanding back that had a superb year as he set the school’s single-season rushing record.

On defense, the key will be for the Tigers’ secondary to be able to slow down Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, which is something that so far nobody has been able to do this season.

Clemson secondary has looked suspect in the two matchups against SEC teams this year (Texas A&M and South Carolina), so it will definitely be a huge challenge  for them to stop the Tide in this game; however the Tigers have looked better recently allowing 10 points or less in three of their last four games, including the CFP Semifinal against Notre Dame on the way to a 30-3 win.

Although the Tigers have a suspect secondary their defensive line is arguably the best in the country so they will look to apply a lot of pressure all game long as the push for the sacks with a lot of different looks to confuse Tua and his offensive line.

Expect a close game as these are both balanced and very talented teams, full of future NFL stars that match very well against one another. They are teams are the best in the nation and have undoubtedly proven they deserve to be here until someone else can beat them.

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