Fearless Rick's 2016 College Football Picks - National Championship game

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NCAA Football National Championship

All times Eastern

Monday, January 9

College Football Playoff National Championship
#1 Alabama (-6 1/2, 51) vs. #2 Clemson, 8:00 pm, ESPN, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
- A repeat of last year's national championship game, won by the Crimson Tide, 45-40, is, in many ways, a fitting conclusion to an otherwise uneventful season in college football.

As Alabama seeks yet another national title, the troops from South Carolina have a vastly different idea and revenge on their minds for last season.

The one big comparison is at the all-important quarterback position. Alabama's got a freshman running the show. Jalen Hurts is arguably the best freshman quarterback ever. He's led the Tide to a 14-0 record, completing 227 of 351 passes for 2649 yards, 22 TDs and nine picks. Hurts rambled for another 891 yards on 181 rushes, a 4.9 yards per carry average.

His Clemson counterpart, Deshaun Watson, is a junior with two more years worth of experience and an equally impressive resume.

The pass-happy Watson completed 352 of 523 passes for 4173 yards, 38 scores and 17 interceptions. Watson also rushed for 586 yards on 144 carries, an average of 4.1 yards per attempt.

The two compare well, but Hurts seems to have an edge both in the lower interception ratio and the yards per carry stat. In any case, the pair of talented QBs should put on one whale of a show. And, while the defenses of both teams are more than sufficient, the offenses are creative and deadly, capable of striking from anywhere on the field.

Will the game be a carbon copy of last year's event? Unlikely, though it should present itself as at least a reasonable facsimile. The score almost certainly will surpass the posted O/U line of 51, with most of the scoring to occur in the second half, as the defenses tire and the game gets to the crucial stage.

While Alabama is a strong favorite and difficult to take a stand against, the desire on Clemson's side may be enough emotionally to tip the balance in favor of the Tigers. It's going to be an exciting, close game, so there's no good reason not to take the points, no matter the analysis, hype.

Coin Flip: Alabama

Rick's Pick: Tigers 38 Crimson Tide 34


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