Can Clemson Shock Alabama Monday Night?
Wayne Root: Can Clemson Shock Alabama Monday Night?
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is known as THE KING OF UPSETS, so obviously my first look at Monday Night's Clemson/Alabama game for college football's National Championship will be at the underdog Tigers. Now, that may not be my FINAL look! I had Alabama -10 over Michigan State in the semifinals because I just couldn't see how Michigan State was going to score any points. They couldn't get much on the board vs. Ohio State and Iowa, and were now playing a BETTER defense! I was right, MSU didn't score, and W.A.R. won a big favorite in a big game.
So...I won't be telling you here whether or not I'll be taking Clemson or Alabama. That's not fair to paying clients. But, I will talk about whether or not there's real upset potential for Clemson.
First off, I think Clemson is MUCH better suited to scoring points than Michigan State was. They have a versatile offense with explosive weaponry. MSU had mostly a plodding offense that was ill-suited to making big plays vs. a great defense. Clemson is potent, varied, and unpredictable.
Most importantly on this side of the ball, quarterback Deshaun Watson can beat you in the air or on the ground. He's very tough to contain. Who does that sound like? Do you remember a quarterback for Texas A&M who gave Alabama fits a couple of times? Johnny Manziel. Watson is the kind of player Alabama will have to chase all night. They hate that!
You regulars know that I want offenses who can SCORE if I'm going to call for an outright upset. Clemson can score. Will they score on this Alabama defense is another question. Nick Saban has had a week to look at game film to come up with a plan.
Secondly, Clemson has a great attitude. Even though they're undefeated and ranked #1 in the polls, they still have managed to create a "nobody believes in us" attitude. An undefeated Cinderella! This mindset helped launch Ohio State to a pair of upset wins last year (beating both Alabama and Oregon as dogs). Maybe that will do the same for the Tigers.
This could line up very nicely with a potential flat spot for Alabama. The Tide was so mentally committed to not losing in the semifinals again to a Big 10 team that they might take this one for granted. They had something to prove vs. Sparty. Alabama better not lose that edge or they will get upset here.
So far, it sounds like Clemson might be a GREAT underdog play. I'll say this...they're a great "nominee" for a big dog play in many ways. The problem is...
ALABAMA IS FANTASTIC
I don't think the media and the public fully realizes how strong this year's version of the Crimson Tide is. They remember the loss to Ole Miss earlier this season. They remember how the supposed juggernaut last year fell apart vs. Ohio State. All that makes 'Bama seem vulnerable.
Some quick points...
*Alabama learned from their mistakes and turned into a juggernaut
*Alabama dominated the SEC in the second half of the season
*The SEC has dominated the bowls so far!
You just watched a bunch of SEC teams crush their bowl opponents day after day. Alabama was better than all of them in the standings. Then, Alabama was 38 points better than Michigan State when the market thought the line should be just 10. While Clemson is terrific, Alabama right now is playing some of the best college football that's ever been played. The defense is scary. The offense has the Heisman Trophy winner at running back and an improved quarterback who can find open receivers downfield.
What about the bowl results of Clemson's slate of victims? They barely beat Notre Dame, who was outclassed by Ohio State. They struggled much of the way vs. Florida State before getting some scoreboard distance very late. FSU was embarrassed in a loss to Houston. Their ACC Championship game opponent North Carolina was a huge disappointment when facing Baylor and its third team quarterback. So we have Alabama's opponents crushing people...and Clemson's opponents fizzling. THAT'S why Alabama is favored by about a touchdown...and that's why it might not be enough.
I can tell you that I will have a big release Monday. I believe my team offers "value" against the line while also having "blowout cover" potential. If I'm taking Clemson...they can win the game. If I'm taking Alabama, they can pull away to a double digit cover. You'll have to sign up for service to get this big play!
You can purchase BEST BETS in ALL SPORTS from THE KING OF LAS VEGAS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS. That Alabama-Clemson game can be included with any longterm package at a nominal rate. Ask for details when you call.
Back midweek to talk more handicapping. I'll either be reviewing Wildcard Weekend to get set up for the NFL Divisional round. Or, we'll sneak in some basketball. How about that upset of UCLA over Arizona last week?! The Pac 12 race may be more wide open than thought...but that seems to be true all across the country this season.
January is a HUGE month in Las Vegas because so much is going on. That means it's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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