Clemson vs. Alabama Football

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Clemson vs Alabama live

It’s impossible to say what effect there will be from Steve Sarkisian’s abrupt promotion to offensive coordinator. With Clemson’s stout pass rushers like Christian Wilkins and Clelin Farrell, Tide QB Jalen Hurts will need to use his scrambling ability to buy time and make throws downfield. Like last year’s game, expect ‘Bama to use O.J. Howard as a pass-catcher more than usual.

‘Bama’s been able to run the ball consistently all season, especially in the fourth quarter, but Clemson has some dominant run-stuffers in Dexter Lawrence and Carlos Watkins. RB Bo Scarborough may need help from freshman Josh Jacobs

I don’t know that you really feel any sense of relief,” Saban said. “I think that what you do, what the media does, creates a tremendous amount of interest for college football and college football players. I think that’s what makes this venue a great venue for the competitors and the players that are in the game.”

Clemson’s junior quarterback rolled up 478 yards and directed the Tigers to 40 points in last season’s national championship loss to the Tide. He’s back for more — especially a ring — when No. 1 Alabama (14-0) and No. 2 Clemson (13-1) play tonight in Tampa, Fla., for this season’s title (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

If anybody is going to unravel the Tide, it’s Watson. He’s an athletic dual-threat. He has a big arm and go-deep receivers. That all means big plays. You don’t beat Alabama with methodical 12-play, 75-yard drives. You need “chunk” plays. You need “splash” plays.

Clemson carved up Alabama with 10 plays of 20-plus yards last season. Contrast that to Saturday, when the Tide allowed one such play — a 20-yard pass — in a dominating 24-7 semifinal victory over Washington.