What the CFP Semi-Final Games Tell us About the Finals
By: Larry Burton
First and foremost, the semi-final games tell us that that they best two college football teams in the country will meet in the championship game. Clemson clearly destroyed Notre Dame and Alabama’s game was never in question and never in doubt.
Secondly the quality of play tells that the final game should be a contest. Any question of Tua’s injury was clearly and abundantly made clear as was how will Clemson’s first year starter at quarterback handle his first truly big game.
Clemson at times showed that the offense could be forced to struggle against a decent defense and Alabama’s defense showed chinks in their armor when faced with a quarterback with a quick delivery and some running ability.
Each team showed that neither is immune from silly penalties and bad times and both teams showed that any quarterback who takes too much time in the pocket will be sacked.
Alabama showed that though they were only forced to punt twice in the game, had some problems with Bernier averaging just a paltry 28 yard average. That’s hardly a field flipping number. Clemson on the other hand sputtered on offense, punting five times, but averaged a much better almost 40 yard an average effort. That could mean a little problem for the Tide if those stats hold up in field position, but pose great news if Clemson is forced to punt more than that against a defense that will certainly be better than Notre Dame’s.
Both teams rushed for about 200 yards while both teams made their hay on the passing game. Alabama passed for 328 yards while Clemson passed for just about the same yardage. However, Alabama will be playing a much tougher defense in Clemson that they played against with Oklahoma. Conversely, Clemson too will face a tougher defense in Alabama than they saw in Notre Dame’s, albeit the gulf will be shorter between Alabama and Notre Dame’s defense than Alabama will face in trying to force their will on the Clemson defense.
The fact that these stats were so close can certainly be debated though. While Alabama will certainly face a much tougher defensive opponent than they played in the semi-finals, it can also be said that the Tiger offense may not be as explosive as the Sooner’s squad.
What all the stats show us when analyzed from every angle show us is that it will be a hard fought game and that these two truly do make an entertaining matchup.
Early Las Vegas odds put Alabama up as 6.5 point favorite. They see something like a 32 – 25 game in Alabama’s favor. That’s what they saw in these semi-final games. What you saw may be different that what the boys in Vegas or this author saw, but that’s what makes college football so entertaining.
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Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter