National Championship Alabama/Clemson Preview

The rematch that everyone has been anticipating is finally here.

After Nick Saban won his fourth title—fifth overall—as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide last year, winning 45-40 over the Clemson Tigers in last year’s National Championship game, Saban will seek his fifth title in seven years 8 p.m. tonight at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

If Saban comes out on top once more, he will have earned his sixth national championship title, joining elite company, namely Paul “Bear” Bryant, who won six championships in the 60s and the 70s as the coach of Alabama.

While Dabo Swinney has never won a national championship, his team has a chance to join some interesting company. If Clemson wins this chip, according to Forbes.com, they will be the first team since the Florida State Seminoles to win a national title game the year after losing the title game. The Seminoles did this in 1998 and 1999, Tennessee in 1997 and 1998, Florida in 1995 and 1996 and Nebraska in 1993 and 1994.

However, if Clemson loses, they will join company that isn’t quite so memorable. The Crimson Tide could very well hoist the championship trophy, and if they do, Swinney will be the coach of the first team since the Ohio State Buckeyes to lose back-to-back titles, unfortunately. The other team to lose back-to-back titles is the Oklahoma Sooners, who lost titles in 2003 and 2004.

Alabama:

It’s been a month or so for both teams to rigorously prepare for the chance at history. Before the hefty grace period, however, Jalen Hurts led the Roll Tide to a 13-0 record as a freshmen quarterback, and to a 24-6 victory over the Washington Huskies in the Peach Bowl.

Hurts, who tossed the pigskin for 21 touchdowns to just nine interceptions, 2,620 yards, a 64.6 completion percentage and a 142.1 quarterback rating, is well prepared for the task.

Hurts is a dual-threat quarterback, and according to al.com, Clemson players are concerned that Hurts provides an added dimension, an aspect that is much different than last year’s winning Alabama quarterback Jake Coker.

“Last year, the quarterback wasn’t as dynamic as it was this year,” said defensive end Clelin Ferrell to al.com, the Fiesta Bowl defensive MVP. “Jalen Hurts, he can do a lot of things. He’s very talented and very poised in the pocket so I feel like Jalen Hurts definitely changed the whole dynamic of their offense.”