College Football Championship Game 2016: Viewing Info, Odds and Prediction

The Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers made it abundantly clear they are the two best teams in college football on December 31. Now they’ll decide who is truly the best in college football in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday.

For the Crimson Tide, this is the culmination of a tear that came after some were giving their eulogy for the Alabama dynasty. For Clemson, this is the final opportunity to earn the respect its fought for all season. Even when the Tigers were the only undefeated team left in the field, they still weren’t the unanimous No. 1 team in the country, according to the AP and Coaches Polls.

Now, they get a chance to take those votes on the field. It’s an epic matchup and the best game that college football could provide. Here’s a look at all the information you’ll need to catch the action:

When: Monday, January 11, at 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

Television: ESPN

Live Stream Here: WatchESPN


Over/Under: 50.5

Spread: Alabama (-7), per Odds Shark
The MatchupCollege Football Championship 2016Key for Clemson: Get Wayne Gallman Going

College Football Championship

If you’ve read anything about his game, it’s likely that quarterback Deshaun Watson is the key for the Clemson offense. It’s usually followed by the narrative that Alabama has traditionally struggled with some mobile quarterbacks with losses in recent years to teams that had Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton and (to a lesser extent) Chad Kelly.

There might be some truth to that narrative, but Clemson’s offense can’t rely on Deshaun Watson to go out and beat the Tide defense alone. Finding a way to get running back Wayne Gallman going will be just as important.

The running back tends to be the unsung hero of the Tigers offense. While Watson gets the glory and Heisman Trophy votes for carving up defenses, Gallman has put up 1,482 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground.

That production isn’t just a product of great blocking and Watson either. According to CFB Film Room, Gallman has forced missed tackles at a similar rate to Alabama Heisman winner Derrick Henry:The Clemson running back’s teammates see some of Henry in his running style as well. “He runs aggressive, runs hard, fights for every yard he gets,” Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson said of Gallman, per David M. Hale of “He’s determined not to be stopped, just like Henry.”

Gallman will have his work cut out for him to experience success against the Tide. Head coach Nick Saban’s defensive front is the best in the nation at stopping the run, and finding daylight will be harder than ever. Gallman is on a trajectory to rise to the occasion, though.

His numbers are better than ever on a per-game basis as the championship game approaches:

College Football Championship

Some of Gallman’s best games have come when the Tigers have played their biggest games of the season. If he can break off a few runs in this one, it’s going to take some pressure off Watson and divide the defense on option plays.

Key for Alabama: Allow Jake Coker to Throw the Ball Downfield


The attention surrounding the Tide’s offense has been the exact opposite of Clemson. Alabama’s offense is all about running back Derrick Henry, while quarterback Jake Coker is reduced to mere minion.

But that certainly wasn’t the case in the 38-0 Cotton Bowl victory over Michigan State that got Alabama to this spot.

The Spartans front was able to limit Henry to 75 yards on 20 carries, but it was all for naught. Jake Coker went ahead and beat the Spartans secondary for 286 yards on 25-of-30 passing.

Simply put, if Coker has another night like that one, this game won’t be close. The Tigers have the ability to slow down Alabama’s running game like the Spartans did. Clemson’s stout front has given up just 3.59 yards per carry.

If Alabama is able to stretch the secondary vertically, it becomes more difficult for the safeties to aid in stopping the run.

Perhaps even more important than Coker is Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley, though. He was a big part of Coker’s success and has been a boon for the offense since the team’s loss to Ole Miss. From’s Cotton Bowl research notes:

Jake Coker continued to rely on true freshman Calvin Ridley, who broke Amari Cooper’s school record for the most receiving yards by a freshman. Coker completed 8-of-10 passes and both of his touchdowns targeting Ridley Thursday. Ridley has led the Crimson Tide receivers in targets in 10 of 11 games following Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss.

Ridley will see one of his most difficult matchups of the season against Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander. Bleacher Report Lead NFL Draft Analyst Matt Miller has Alexander ranked as his No. 3 cornerback in the draft class.

That doesn’t spell doom for the dynamic freshman, though. He already took on Miller’s No. 1 corner in Vernon Hargreaves III when he played against Florida and came away with eight receptions for 102 yards.

Ridley vs. Alexander is one of the most intriguing individual matchups in this game. Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin can’t be afraid to test that early and often to lighten the load on Henry and the offensive line.


The Tide come into this game as a touchdown favorite. After watching them dismantle the Spartans, it’s easy to understand why.

But this Clemson team is far more complete than Michigan State. The Spartans came into the game averaging fewer than four yards per carry on the ground and were marginal in defending the pass all season. Both flaws were exposed in a big way.

Looking at Clemson statistically, there aren’t many holes. They average 4.99 yards per carry on the ground, have a more than capable passer in Deshaun Watson and rank 13th in the nation in yards allowed per pass attempt. The Tide come into this game as a touchdown favorite. After watching them dismantle the Spartans, it’s easy to understand why.

But this Clemson team is far more complete than Michigan State. The Spartans came into the game averaging fewer than four yards per carry on the ground and were marginal in defending the pass all season. Both flaws were exposed in a big way.

Looking at Clemson statistically, there aren’t many holes. They average 4.99 yards per carry on the ground, have a more than capable passer in Deshaun Watson and rank 13th in the nation in yards allowed per pass attempt. The Tigers have the talent to make sure this game is competitive.

What makes this game compelling is the fact that both teams are so complete. Neither team really has a weakness to speak of, and when that’s the case, it comes down to winning the battle up front and minimizing mistakes.

No one is better at doing those two things than Alabama.

Getting Gallman going will be crucial for Clemson. However, the Tide have made running games nearly obsolete over the final stretch of the season. They’re giving up just 2.3 yards per carry on the season and only get stronger as the game goes on. Teams average just 1.89 yards per attempt in the fourth quarter.

The Alabama offensive line will have its work cut out for it. Shaq Lawson and the Clemson defensive front are among the best defensive lines in the country, but there’s a reason Alabama’s hosses won the first Joe Moore Award given to the country’s best offensive line. They are the best at what they do.

Expect Alabama to have the slight edge in the trenches and on the scoreboard.

Prediction: Alabama 23, Clemson 20

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College Football Championship alumni events around Phoenix for Clemson, Alabama fans

College Football Championship: Thousands of University of Alabama and Clemson University fans have descended upon the Valley for the College Football Playoff National Championship.#College Football Championship 2016#. The Arizona chapters of the colleges’ alumni groups are ready to go with big events, whether you pledge allegiance to the Tigers or the Crimson Tide.

College Football Championship

The Arizona Clemson Club, led by Tracey Clark, class of 1988, has plenty of events planned for her fellow Tigers.

“Each week at Philly’s Sports Grill as we watched the Tigers continue to win, we would always entertain the idea of ‘What if?’ ” she said. “Each win brought us a little closer to that dream becoming reality. We’re excited to see our football team play at University of Phoenix Stadium and to see our fans all in orange with Tiger paws, and to hear ‘Tiger Rag’ live from the Tiger Band.”

Brian Katz, president of the Phoenix chapter of the University of Alabama National Alumni Association and class of 1989, calls the Crimson Tide fan base “insanely faithful” and is excited to see his team in Arizona.

“I came out here 20 years ago, and it was always my dream that one day my football team would come here,” he said. “There are several other local Alabama alumni that have been out here longer than me, and were here for the last time the team was here in 1991 for the Fiesta Bowl game. The city is putting on some awesome events and our tailgate is going to be amazing.”

Here are alumni events and some other special events. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11.

Clemson University

Arizona club: Arizona Clemson Club.

Number of members: More than 200 throughout Arizona.


Home sports bar: Philly’s Sports Bar & Grill, 1826 N. Scottsdale Road, Tempe.

Mascot: The Tiger.

Colors: Orange, white and purple.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney (celebrating after defeating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl last week) has led his team to a 14-0 record this season and a shot at a national title. (Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)


• Two dollar bills with tiger paws stamped on them, to be used at away games.

• “Tiger Rag: The Song That Shakes the Southland,” a 1942 fight song played a sporting events, pep rallies and parades.

• “Bring your own guts,” said by head coach Dabo Swinney after the team beat Notre Dame in October.

• “Running Down the Hill,” a dramatic entrance where players run down a hill into Memorial Stadium, also known has “Death Valley.”


Find a complete list of Clemson events at

Kick-off the Weekend: 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9. Coach’s Corner Grill, 333 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Free. 602-293-3332,

Clemson Alumni Service Event: Volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul, an organization committed to helping “feed, clothe, house and heal” those in need. 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10. St. Vincent de Paul, 1075 W. Jackson St., Phoenix. Free. Sign up by emailing Tracey Clark,

Clemson Welcome Party: Sponsored by IPTAY, Clemson Alumni Association and the Arizona Clemson Club. 6-10 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10. Front Row Sports Grill at Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Free. 602-462-3506.

Legends of Clemson Party: Presented by ONE Clemson and hosted by former NFL player and Clemson legend Brian Dawkins. Rapper Big Boi will perform. Appearances by Stephone Anthony, Kris Benson, Tajh Boyd, CJ Spiller and more. 10 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10. W Scottdale Hotel, 7277 E. Camelback Road. See pricing and purchase tickets at

Rally in the Valley: A tailgate sponsored by the Arizona Clemson Club. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Salt Tacos y Tequila at Westgate Entertainment District, 6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale. $15. 623-772-7282,


• Salt Tacos y Tequila at Westgate Entertainment District, 6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale. Cover charge TBD. 623-772-7282,

• Philly’s Sports Bar & Grill, 1826 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-946-6666,

• Coach’s Corner Grill, 333 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. 602-293-3332,

University of Alabama

Phoenix club: University of Alabama Alumni Association, Phoenix chapter.

Number of members: About 80 people attend each viewing party.

Home sports bar: Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill, 2121 E. Highland Ave., Phoenix.

Mascot: Big Al, the elephant.

Colors: Crimson and white.


• “Roll Tide,” used as a greeting or cheer.

• “Yea, Alabama,” the official Alabama fight song.

• “Rammer Jammer,” a victory cheer that originated in the 1920s.


Bama Hike: Join fellow alumni for a hike past the scenic Pinnacle Peak. 9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 10. Pinnacle Peak Trailhead, 26802 N. 102nd Way, Scottsdale.

National Championship Welcome Party: The ‘Bama alumni social will feature special guests, merchandise, a silent auction and bands playing the school’s fight song and other music from Alabama. 7:30-11 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10. Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill, 2121 E. Highland Ave., Phoenix. 602-977-2700,

Alabama Tailgatin’ With the Tide: This tailgate will feature appearances by former Alabama players and special guests, a game day buffet, beer and wine, Alabama shakers, stickers and other swag. $95, $60 for age 16 and younger. Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, 9495 W. Coyotes Blvd., Glendale. form_id=195908.


• Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill, 2121 E. Highland Ave., Phoenix. 602-977-2700,

• Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, 9495 W. Coyotes Blvd., Glendale. 623-937-3700,

Additional watch parties

Battle on the Block: El Hefe Scottsdale will take Clemson’s side and just across the street Whiskey Row will root for Alabama in this bar-vs.-bar, team-vs.-team party. 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11. El Hefe, 4425 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, 480-945-6200,; Whiskey Row, 4420 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, 480-945-4200,

Talking Stick Resort: Head to the Blue Coyote Cantina to catch the game and enjoy $20 buckets of domestic beers or $23 buckets of imported beers. 4 p.m. doors open, 6:30 p.m. kick-off. Monday, Jan. 11. 9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Salt River Reservation. Free. 21 and older only. 480-850-7777,

Casino Arizona: The viewing party will be in the Showroom, with $16 buckets of domestic beers and $18 buckets of imported beers. Enter the Cowboy Classic Giveaway for a chance to win a trip for two to Arlington, Texas, to attend the University of Alabama vs. University of Southern California game on Saturday, Sept. 3. 6 p.m. doors open, 6:30 p.m. kick-off. Monday, Jan. 11. 524 N. 92nd St., Salt River Reservation. Free. 21 and older only. 480-850-7777,


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What time is kickoff for the National Championship game 2016? Alabama vs. Clemson

National Championship game 2016: Alabama quarterback Jake Coker (14) works through drills during Alabama football championship-game practice, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields in Tuscaloosa. Kickoff in the 2016 National Championship game Alabama vs. Clemson is set for Monday, January 11, at 7:30 p.m central time.National Championship game 2016.

College Football Championship 2016

No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama only have one loss between them this season. So asking opposing coaches how to beat the Tigers and Crimson Tide is a difficult question.

There are two things everyone can agree upon about the College Football Playoff national championship on Monday night in Glendale, Arizona:

— Beating Alabama’s defense will take a special performance.

— Clemson’s Deshaun Watson is capable of such a performance.

Here’s a look at some of the key matchups that will help determine which team wins the national championship. College football national champions 

MATCHUP: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson vs. Alabama OLB/DEs Dillon Lee, Denzel Devall, Ryan Anderson, Tim Williams.

The Heisman Trophy finalist is the type of dual threat that can flummox even the best defenses, and his mobility will be crucial to breaking down the seemingly impenetrable wall that is Alabama’s front seven. Trying to move Alabama’s big and sturdy linemen such as All-America A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed and Jonathan Allen off the line scrimmage consistently is just not happening.

“The more you can spread them out the better opportunity you have of creating a seam in the defense to run the ball,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said.

Don’t expect a ton of north-south power running by Clemson. The Tigers are more likely to attack at the edges of Alabama’s defense.

“You’ve got to have some imagination and some smoke-and-mirror mentality for sure,” said Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, whose team handed Alabama its only loss this season.

There are two ways to do that: Before the snap with receivers and backs going in motion and formations that draw defenders away from the ball and toward the sideline. Or, after the snap with option or packaged plays that allow the quarterback to react to a defense and either run, hand off, or pass.

“Anything that maybe can distract a defensive end or one of those linebackers just for a moment, because the reality is double-teams, their down front guys are so good, the double-teams very seldom even get off of them and get to another guy unless there is something that freezes them for a second,” Freeze said.

As the games have become more important for Clemson, Watson has been used as a ball carrier more. He has surpassed 20 carries in each of the last three games, including a season-high 24 for a season-best 145 yards in the Orange Bowl victory against Oklahoma.

“Most defenses out there are not designed to stop a guy like Deshaun Watson and what he can do on his own,” said Cole Cubelic, former Auburn offensive lineman who now works as an analyst for ESPN and hosts a radio show in Huntsville, Alabama. “(Clemson) cannot be afraid to let that kid get hit. You need him to be dynamic.”

Clemson will also need Watson’s wheels to escape an Alabama pass rush that has registered 50 sacks.

MATCHUP: Alabama WR Calvin Ridley vs. Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander.

The freshman Ridley is Alabama’s next great receiver, following Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. Against Michigan State, the Tide took advantage of a secondary that had no match for Ridley (eight catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns).

Alexander doesn’t get quite as much publicity as some of the nation’s other shutdown corners, but make no mistake: He is as talented as any of them.

“He’s good enough to say let’s not mess with it on that side,” said former Syracuse coach Scott Shafer, who is now the defensive coordinator at Maryland.

That explains why Alexander had no interceptions this season. The other corner, Cordrea Tankersley, led the team with five picks and is no slouch, either. Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables leans on his cover guys.

“You’re going to have to win against man coverage,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said.

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is excellent at creating advantageous matchups for play-makers. It will be interesting to see if Kiffin attempts to get Ridley away from Alexander.

MATCHUP: Alabama RB Derrick Henry vs. Clemson LBs Ben Boulware and B.J. Goodson and S Jayron Kearse. College Championship Game 2016

After going away from its Heisman Trophy winner to beat Michigan State, expect Kiffin to lean on Henry in the national championship game. Clemson would be better off in a high-scoring game, with lots of possessions for its up-tempo offense. Alabama wants to avoid that.

“Ball control. Manage field position. Put your defense in as many good spots as you can,” Cubelic said.

The Tigers also have a talented and tough defensive line, led by defensive end Shaq Lawson. Plus, their top-notch corners allow Venables to get safeties, like the 220-pound Kearse, involved in stopping the run.

“The traditional running game against them is very hard,” Clawson said. “They give you very few run-friendly boxes.”

Clemson has been susceptible to long runs. The Tigers have allowed 22 runs of 20-plus yards, tied for 83rd in FBS. Those are often the result of over pursuing, sloppy tackling and taking bad angles. The Tigers can’t let a 5-yard run by Henry turn into a 35-yarder.

MATCHUP: Clemson TE Jordan Leggett vs. Alabama DBs Eddie Jackson and Geno Mattias-Smith.

Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart moved Jackson and Smith, smaller defensive backs with cornerback skills, to safety so the Tide it could better matchup with spread offenses. Basically, Alabama will be in a nickel defense with five defensive backs most of the game against Clemson.

Leggett, at 6-foot-5, 255-pounds, is a matchup problem and Clemson likes to send him down the middle on run-pass option plays. He caught 35 passes and led the team with seven touchdown receptions.


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College Football Playoff Championship odds 2016: Alabama vs. Clemson prop bets

College Football Playoff Championship odds 2016: The 2016 National Championship Game is Jan. 11, but even if you’re not a fan of No. 1 Clemson or No. 2 Alabama, there are still plenty of ways to make the proceedings interesting. In fact, Bovada has got a whole list of prop bets to liven up Monday’s game, even if it winds up like a New Year’s Eve blowout (Alabama is a 6.5-point favorite). Think the first score of the game will be a safety? That will net you a 4,000 percent return on your investment. That number jumps to 5,000 percent if you can accurately predict whether it will come from the Crimson Tide or the Tigers.

More about Alabama vs Clemson

College Football Championship

Monday’s game also presents several player-related wagers. Jake Coker has thrown for a pair of touchdowns in each of his last two games, and now the bookmakers at Bovada have him favored (-140) to throw two or more against Clemson in the biggest matchup of his career. On the other sideline, you can wager on all things Deshaun Watson, ranging from the number of passes he throws (the over/under is 36.5), his total rushing yards (56.5), or whether or not he’ll hit that two passing touchdown mark (-160). For reference, Watson carved up Oklahoma with only 31 passes and one touchdown, but he did explode for 145 yards on the ground.College Football Championship Game 2016

College Football Playoff Championship Props

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Winning Margin

Alabama by 1-6 pts 16/5

Alabama by 7-12 pts 15/4

Alabama by 13-18 pts 10/4

Alabama by 19-24 pts 8/1

Alabama by 25-30 pts 14/1

Alabama by 31-36 pts 20/1

Alabama by 37-42 pts 35/1

Alabama by 43 or more pts 40/1

Clemson by 1-6 pts 19/4

Clemson by 7-12 pts 9/1

Clemson by 13-18 pts 18/1

Clemson by 19-24 pts 35/1

Clemson by 25-30 pts 55/1

Clemson by 31-36 pts 80/1

Clemson by 37-42 pts 100/1

Clemson by 43 or more pts 125/1

Total Team Points – Alabama
Over 29½
Under 29½
Total Team Points – Clemson
Over 23
Under 23
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Team to score first in the game

Alabama -170 (10/17)

Clemson +130 (13/10)
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – The first score of the game will be

Touchdown -225 (4/9)

Field Goal +160 (8/5)

or Safety +4000 (40/1)
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – The first score of the game will be – Exact Outcome

Alabama – Touchdown 1/1

Alabama – Field Goal 7/2

Alabama – Safety 50/1

Clemson – Touchdown 2/1

Clemson- Field Goal 15/4

Clemson – Safety 50/1
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Will there be a score in the first 6 minutes of the game?

Yes -130 (10/13)

No EVEN (1/1)
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Will either team score 3 unanswered times in the game?

Yes -300 (1/3)

No +200 (2/1)
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Team to score last in the game

Alabama -140 (5/7)

Clemson EVEN (1/1)
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Will a special teams or defensive TD be scored?

Yes +140 (7/5)

No -180 (5/9)
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – The longest touchdown score in the game will be

Over/Under 50½
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – The first turnover of the game will be

Fumble 5/4

Interception 4/7

No Turnovers in the game 7/1
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Team to have the most first downs in the game

Alabama -2½

Clemson +2½
Player Stats

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Passing Yards – Jake Coker (Alabama)

Over/Under 260½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total TD Passes – Jake Coker (Alabama)

Over 1½ (-140, 5/7)

Under 1½ (EVEN, 1/1)

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Completions – Jake Coker (Alabama)

Over/Under 19½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Pass Attempts – Jake Coker (Alabama)

Over/Under 28½
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Rushing Yards – Derrick Henry (Alabama)

Over/Under 145½
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Rushing and Receiving Yards – Kenyan Drake (Alabama)

Over/Under 59½
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Receiving Yards – Calvin Ridley (Alabama)

Over/Under 90½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Receptions – Calvin Ridley (Alabama)

Over/Under 7
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Receiving Yards – ArDarius Stewart (Alabama)

Over/Under 47½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Receptions – ArDarius Stewart (Alabama)

Over/Under 4
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Passing Yards – Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

Over/Under 239½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total TD Passes – Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

Over 1½ (-160, 5/8)

Under 1½ (+120 6/5)

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Completions – Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

Over/Under 22½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Pass Attempts – Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

Over/Under 36½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Rushing Yards – Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

Over/Under 56½
(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Rushing Yards – Wayne Gallman (Clemson)

Over/Under 69½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Receiving Yards – Artavis Scott (Clemson)

Over/Under 63½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Receptions – Artavis Scott (Clemson)

Over/Under 5½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Receiving Yards – Charone Peake (Clemson)

Over/Under 40½

(Alabama vs. Clemson) – Total Receptions – Charone Peake (Clemson)

Over/Under 3½


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College Football Championship 2016: Alabama vs. Clemson Odds, Projected Winner

College Football Championship 2016:The College Football Playoff title game will see No. 1 Clemson attempt to win its second national championship against second-ranked Alabama on Monday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Head coach Nick Saban’s SEC champions will be going for their fourth national title during his tenure. With that type of track record, it’s no wonder Odds Shark lists the Crimson Tide as 5.5-point favorites.

College Football Championship 2016

Let’s take a look at the basic game information below, along with a preview and projected winner for the grand finale of the second annual CFP.

College Football Playoff Championship Game Information
Date Matchup Odds Time (ET) TV Live Stream
Monday, Jan. 11 No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 2 Alabama Alabama -5.5 8:30 p.m. ESPN WatchESP

Alabama vs. Clemson Preview, Projected Winner

The units and players likely to garner the most attention in this matchup may not matter as much to the outcome as their counterparts will. Sound confusing? Think of it this way: Heisman Trophy finalists in Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson and hardware-winning Alabama running back Derrick Henry will dominate the pre-CFP title clash conversation.

Next in the pregame narrative is bound to be an NFL-caliber Crimson Tide defensive front headlined by potential first-round draft picks A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, to name only a couple.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller alluded to just how loaded Alabama is on the front seven:But those stars will be expected to produce. Who wins this game may well boil down to the unsung heroes who rise to the occasion on the biggest college football stage imaginable.

An underrated subplot to Clemson’s 37-17 Orange Bowl triumph over Oklahoma was how well its defense played up front without All-American defensive end Shaq Lawson for the second half. Lawson suffered an MCL sprain early on and tried to play through it before being pulled.

“I think the prognosis is good at this point,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney of Lawson’s status, per’s Heather Dinich. “but he’s got to get out there and run around a little bit today and kind of go from there, but I’m very optimistic he’ll be able to play.”

Even if he does suit up versus the Tide, Lawson isn’t going to be 100 percent. A big question is whether the Tigers can play well enough in the trenches to handle Henry’s punishing runs and apply pressure to Alabama QB Jake Coker.

The savvy signal-caller picked up the slack for Henry in a 38-0 Cotton Bowl romp over Michigan State. If Coker plays as he did against the Spartans, Clemson may not even keep this game close.

That’s why Tigers RB Wayne Gallman looms so large. The sophomore quietly racked up 150 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the Orange Bowl, as he and Watson opened up running lanes for each other and gashed a hapless Sooners defense.

Keeping the Tide’s massive defensive line on the field for as long as possible is critical to Clemson’s cause. Gallman at least provides hope for the Tigers that they can accomplish such an objective.

Unfortunately, the limitations Lawson figures to have—if he indeed does play—are the tipping point in what should be a close contest. Look for Saban and the Tide to eventually roll, pull away late and take college football’s top prize back to Tuscaloosa yet again.

Projected Score: Alabama 27, Clemson 20

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College Football Championship 2016: Latest Reaction for Alabama vs. Clemson

College Football Championship 2016: With convincing wins in their respective College Football Playoff semifinal matchups, the No. 1 Clemson Tigers and No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide will meet on Jan. 11 in the CFP National Championship.Despite being undefeated and ranked No. 1, the Tigers were underdogs in their Orange Bowl matchup with the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners. Although they fell behind early and trailed by one at the half, Clemson took its defensive efforts to a new level, as shown in the video below by ESPN CollegeFootball, to shutout the high-scoring Sooners in the second half and win the game, 37-17:The Crimson Tide can play a little defense as well. After holding opponents to just 14.4 points per game heading into the Cotton Bowl, they shut out a 12-win Michigan State Spartans squad that was averaging 32.1 points per game, 38-0.

College Football Championship

College Football Championship 2016

SEConCBS had some fun on its Twitter account during the game after Alabama headed into halftime leading 10-0:Alabama held the Spartans to just 29 rushing yards, and 239 total yards, in the rout. Fox Sports radio host Colin Cowherd said he doesn’t think Alabama’s “boring” domination is “great for the sport”: Cowherd gets paid to give his opinion, and even if he’s right, no one associated with Alabama is going to care. However, when the Crimson Tide hit the field against Deshaun Watson and Clemson, it most likely will be anything but boring.

The Tigers’ sophomore quarterback, who finished third in Heisman Trophy voting, has been exciting all year and should put some pressure on the Alabama defense.

One reason the Crimson Tide cruised was they were able to completely shut down the Michigan State rushing attack. That is going to be a little harder to do against Clemson, per ESPN CollegeFootball:Watson has rushed for 1,032 yards himself, in addition to 3,704 passing yards and 43 total touchdowns. Wayne Gallman has gained 1,469 yards on the ground to go along with 13 touchdowns.

Although Clemson can play defense and Alabama can score, each team’s play on the opposite side of the ball could be the key to deciding the outcome of the game.

That’s why Jake Coker’s play at quarterback for Alabama against Michigan State—a career-high 286 yards passing and two touchdowns—has Crimson Tide fans feeling great about their chances.

Sure, Heisman winner Derrick Henry and his 2,061 yards and 25 touchdowns will most likely be a factor, but if Coker can throw the ball well, Clemson is in trouble.

He has done just enough all season to balance out Henry’s record-breaking year, but now he has the confidence to know he can play well in big games, along with a belief in his team, per “This is a special team that I couldn’t be prouder of,” Coker said.

The CFP committee got it right this year as the undisputed top two teams will be meeting to crown a champion with the storyline focusing on the dynasty of head coach Nick Saban and Alabama versus Dabo Swinney and the up-and-coming Tigers.

There will be plenty of questions coming Swinney’s way next week as he prepares to take on his alma mater, but right now, all he cares about is that his team at least has a chance, per ESPN:

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College Football Championship 2016: Live Stream, Schedule & TV Info

College Football Championship 2016: Watch College Football Championship Game 2016 Live Stream Online from University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, January 11, 2016. It is the national title round of the 2014 school football season. The primary ever College Football Championship Game, it is planned to occur on Monday, January 11, 2016, and will be the climax of the 2015–16 dish amusements. The national title will be challenged through a four-group section framework, the College Football Playoff, which replaces the past Bowl Championship Series.At&t Stadium (limit 80,000) in Arlington, Texas, was published as the host site in April 2013. Arlington and Tampa (Raymond James Stadium) were the main urban areas to submit facilitating offers for the inaugural title amusement.

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College Football Championship 2016 Live Stream

Premium seat bundles for the occasion will cost $1,899 to $3,899 each. The bundles can incorporate lodging housing, amusement tickets, stopping access, pregame accommodation, and an on-field post diversion experience. College Football Championship 2016

The groups playing for the national title are the victors of elimination round dish recreations held January 1, 2015. The elimination round diversions are the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The elimination round members will be picked and positioned 1–4 by the 13-part playoff choice board, with 1 playing 4 and 2 playing 3.

Sports writers have tabbed a few groups as ahead of schedule top picks, including 2014 BCS national champion Florida State and runner-up Auburn, Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. College Football Playoff

There will be an official vote today at the BCS spring meetings in Pasadena, Calif.

Sources tell that the semifinal rotation through 2026 is:

 Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl

Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl (Arlington)

Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl

In the years the Rose, Sugar and Orange are not hosting a semifinal, they will get the highest-ranked teams from their respective conference tie-ins: Rose (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten), Sugar (SEC vs. Big 12) and Orange (ACC vs. highest-ranked from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame).
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