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NCAA College Football 2015-16 National Championship Picks

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Fearless Rick's 2015-16 College Football National Championship Game

Rick Gagliano | Monday, January 11, 2016

All times Eastern

National Championship Glendale, AZ, University of Phoenix Stadium
8:30 pm ET, ESPN

Alabama Crimson Tide (-7, 52 1/2) vs. Clemson Tigers - Following the wins by Clemson and Alabama, the stage is set for the national championship, and there's little dispute that the Tigers and Crimson Tide are the two best teams in the country (though there have been various calls that Stanford should have been included in the final four - sorry, two losses - and and that their running back, Christian McCaffrey, should have won the Heisman Trophy - well, maybe).

Clemson seemed to turn on the jets in the second half of their 37-17 win over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, as the Tigers cruised to a momentous victory. Oklahoma actually took a 17-16 lead into half time, but Deshaun Watson had a huge second half and the defense took care of the Sooner offense, sending player after player off the field with injuries.

Once the Tigers had control of the game, they really didn't let up until the final moments, when the outcome was no longer in doubt. Clemson will be well-represented in the national championship, but they haven't faced a team of Alabama's pedigree yet this season. To put a not-so-subtle spin on it, the 2015-16 version of the Crimson Tide may be one of the best teams to ever set foot on a football field and the Tigers will have to be either extremely lucky or extremely underrated in order to come out of the game on top.

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Alabama is simply the most impressive football team on the planet. They're superbly coached, loaded with talent, and absolutely overwhelming on defense.

There will be no stone unturned by Nick Saban in his quest to capture his fifth national championship, and fourth as head coach of the Crimson Tide. Saban may not eclipse the record of legendary Bear Bryant - who won six national titles with Alabama - but he's getting closer.

The offensive line of Alabama might be the decisive factor in the game. If Clemson's defenders are unable to hold up against this huge surging force, with Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry running behind it, Alabama may turn the lights out early.

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Equally scary is the progression of quarterback Jake Coker, who may not be the most gifted athlete on the field, but, as he showed against the Spartans (25-30, 286 yards, 2 TDs), he will make plays when needed and he's capable of breaking down a defense all by himself. His receiving corps is exceptional, led by Calvin Ridley, O.J. Howard and ArDarius Stewart. For extra emphasis, the Crimson Tide has the next super back in waiting spelling Henry, in Kenyan Drake, who tore up the Spartans with a 58 yard romp that helped break open the 38-0 rout.

Even if Alabama's offense doesn't produce a slew of scoring opportunities, the defense can carry all of the water. They limited Michigan State to 29 yards rushing on 26 carries and allowed just 210 yards passing by QB Connor Cook, one of the most accurate passers in the college ranks. Not only did they limit Cook, they harassed him all game long, sacked him repeatedly, and picked him off twice. Alabama's defense is ferocious and nearly impossible to run on. If Clemson is going to move the ball at all, it will have to be via a mix of pass and run, but mostly, they will have to go airborne.

While Clemson does come into the game undefeated, Alabama comes prepared and full of fire. While fans in South Carolina may be high on their kids, the folks in Alabama know that they've got the better team. The game could come down to a close-out TD late in the fourth quarter by Alabama, but, the way their defense controls games and puts the ball in the capable hands of Coker and Henry on offense, this one could be wrapped up by the middle of the third quarter.

Alabama should win going away.

Prediction: Crimson Tide 31 Tigers 13

All times Eastern

Copyright 2015, 2016, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.



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