What: Second Annual College Football Championship Game
Who: 1 Clemson vs. 2 Alabama
When: Monday, January 11, 7:30 PM CST on ESPN
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Ah, the doldrums of winter. After a bizarre December which featured heavy snowfall and tornadoes in Texas and temperatures warm enough for rain in the North Pole, the nation has settled back into the comfortable familiarity of freezing cold Midwest January football games. After a long weekend of watching football, cold and tired workers across America can take comfort in knowing that after work they can go home, start a fire, curl up under a blanket, and take a nice nap.
But no, they can't.
Despite having already watched four playoff games of football this weekend, there is MORE FOOTBALL tonight. Speaking to your family is going to have to wait one more day, America. Your kids will still love you tomorrow. 1 Shake off your Monday blues and prepare yourself for MORE FOOTBALL.
The RR is here to answer all of your FOOTBALL related questions.
So, there's a game tonight?
Why, yes. There is. The Alabama Crimson Tide will be playing the Clemson Tigers for the College Football National Championship.2
Who is going to win?
But I thought that Clemson was the only undefeated FBS team this year?
This is true. While there are always some goofy teams who look like they could go undefeated early in the season, only Clemson has emerged unscathed. They accomplished this feat behind sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson, who finished the season as ESPN's 4th ranked college quarterback. 3 He is a stud4 and his team is fantastic. Alabama, meanwhile, dropped a game early in the season to the Ole Miss Rebels.
So if Clemson won more games, but you're picking Alabama, then Clemson's schedule must have been easier.
At first glance, yes. Team Rankings has Alabama's schedule as the most difficult in the country. The Sagarin Ratings corroborate this position, as they also rank Alabama's schedule as the most difficult, and put Clemson's down at number 30.
However, Ohio State Wide Receiver Michael Thomas disagrees. Does he have a point?
Alabama's schedule looks pretty daunting, with many quality wins on its resume. Over the course of this season, Alabama defeated teams ranked #20, #8, #9, #2, #17, #18, and #3. Wow.
Yet, those rankings do not reflect the final rankings at the end of the season. Those are the rankings Alabama's opponents had going into their games against Alabama. How did those teams rank at the end of the season? Not so well.
As they are currently ranked, Alabama has defeated the #23, #20, #19, and #3 ranked teams. Clemson, meanwhile, has defeated the #8, #9, #10, and #4 ranked teams.5
Plus, since Alabama lost a game, we can have some fun with the transitive property. Alabama lost to Ole Miss, who lost to Memphis, who lost to RR favorite NAVY. Alabama lost to NAVY, who actually plays rugby instead of football6 and has the coolest helmets ever.7
So then why are you picking Alabama?
Because it's Bama, mostly. They are coached by an evil emperor8, after all.
However, we're not only picking Alabama because of their impressive history. Their team is filled with big, physical players who should overpower Clemson over the course of the game. I decided to look at the average weight of key players who will be generally playing near the line of scrimmage during the game.
I found that Clemson's average offensive lineman weighs 297 pounds. That's big! The average Alabama offensive lineman weighs 313 pounds. That's bigger. The average Clemson defensive lineman weighs 292 pounds. That's big! The average Alabama defensive lineman weighs 314 pounds. That's bigger. The average Clemson linebacker weighs 225 pounds. That's big! The average Alabama linebacker weighs 246 pounds. That's bigger.9
Alright, I'm putting all of my money on Alabama. Any other goofy stuff I should be betting on?10
Great question. Since traditional sports betting lines are based on boring things like final score, we have made our own RR Over-Under guide.
- Derrick Henry Rushing Yards: 200 - If he goes over, Alabama almost certainly won. If he doesn't, then they still probably won.
- Number of times Deshaun Watson is sacked: 3
- Number of times Alabama is referred to as a "dynasty": 2
- Number of times the Star Wars Imperial March will be heard despite no obvious source of the music when Nick Saban strolls the sideline: 3.5
- Number of times the term "Clemsoning" is used: 1 - If Clemson loses this game, this would not be a "Clemsoning" game, because Alabama is a terrifying football automaton. Will the announcers still bring it up? You betcha. Will Dabo Swinney like that? Definitely not.
- Number of times Kirby Smart is made out to be a loyal hero for doing his job even though he already has another job lined up: 1.5
- Incidental Derrick Henry Heisman poses: 0.5
- Number of times Nick Saban smiles11: 1.512
- Dabo Swinney Crying: 0.5 - We're setting this one so that you're betting on if he cries or not. Will he cry if he loses? Maybe. Will he cry if he wins? Almost definitely.
- Number of minutes of this game you actually have to watch: 30 It's anybody's guess if this game will be competitive, or if it's going to get out of hand quickly like the playoff semifinal games.
- Number of times Dabo Swinney says something as epic as "Bring Your Own Guts": 013
- Number of times announcers say "flashes of AJ McCarron"14: 1.5 - This will happen right after Jake Coker completes a long pass, and then the announcers will go on to mention that McCarron nearly led the Bengals to a comeback victory in the playoffs this weekend.
- Number of Defeat Cobras15 shown: 2 - On one hand, we're not sure this game will be close enough to warrant a true Defeat Cobra. On the other, somebody is going to lose this game, and their fans are going to be incredulous. Note that Clemson Defeat Cobras haven't been seen this season... yet.
- Number of Alabama victories: 1
- Amount of speculation about Saban leaving Alabama for the NFL or retirement between now and his winning another National Championship with Alabama in 2017: ∞
I mean, maybe. Probably shouldn't make a habit of blowing them off for sports, but this is the National Championship. You'll make it up to them after the game. Well, after the NFL playoffs. But not during March Madness, obviously. You'll take them on a trip in June. But after the NBA playoffs... ↩
Thanks for asking such a convenient question to use as an introduction. ↩
How does a team whose quarterback had more rushing than passing yards on the season go 11-2? Gotta love Navy. College football will miss you, Keenan Reynolds. RIP. ↩
Their pants actually said "damn the torpedoes!" Navy forever. ↩
Get it? Alabama is bigger. It's possible that the numbers are a little off, because my research assistants are notoriously bad and overpaid. Also, it's worth noting that Alabama plays with three defensive linemen and four linebackers, where Clemson is the opposite. All data from Ourlads Scouting Services. ↩
RR will be accepting bets (minimum $1,000 USD) on these lines. Due to the questionable legal nature of sports gambling, we will accept bets by mail only. Please send your wagers to:
Ruddy Report Secret Office
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC, 20006
This counts as a smile for Saban. ↩
We expect this to happen, at most, once when the clock hits 0:00, and once when he holds up the trophy for the traditional victory money shot. Could anything on earth make him smile besides winning this game? ↩
Nothing can ever be that epic. Humanity has peaked. ↩
Also acceptable: "reminds me of another Nick Saban quarterback...AJ McCarron." ↩
We prefer "Defeat Cobras" to "Surrender Cobras" here at RR. Also, look at the form of that girl who went from a Defeat Cobra right into the Praying Mantis. Excellent form. Great fundamentals. Tim Duncan would be proud. ↩