Alabama to clip Clemson in title game

By Steve Sell
January 09, 2017

Monday’s musings...

• NATIONAL TITLE GAME TONIGHT — It will be Alabama and Clemson in a rematch tonight for the college football national championship.

After what to me was an underwhelming college football season — maybe it was because the Big 12 talent level seemed to take a dip despite a 4-2 bowl record — the Tigers will try to dethrone the Crimson Tide after giving them a scare in last year’s championship game before Alabama won, 45-40.

Don’t expect quite that many points tonight. Alabama is much better defensively than last year, but so is Clemson. Both teams turned the Final 4 into a yawn, with Alabama stifling Washington 24-7 and Clemson blanking Ohio State, 31-0. While the teams won’t combine for 85 points, I can see more than 60 being scored.

I’ll be honest, I have no skin in this game. If I had my druthers, I’d like to see Clemson win since it’s been more than 30 years since the Tigers were last crowned champs. I’m not a big fan at all of Nick Saban because he doesn’t really have to recruit, he just picks and chooses the five-star players he wants.

A lot of so-called “experts” believe Clemson has what it takes to get it done. But I’ve learned never to pick against Saban and Alabama in the big one.

I’ll pick Alabama by a touchdown, 35-28.

• PITTSBURGH LOOKS SCARY — If you’re a Chiefs fan, you couldn’t like what you saw from Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Granted, the Steelers were playing a Miami team that seemed more interested in staying warm than winning the game. It can’t be easy for a team that plays half its schedule in sunny climes to go on the road and play in temps near 0.

And let’s face it, Miami was a fringe playoff team at the best. Its defensive numbers were terrible coming into the game and Pittsburgh was able to do whatever it wanted.

Chiefs fans know the Steelers can score, evidenced by the 43 they hung on KC earlier this season. But the “3 Bs” are really on right now (Bell, Brown and Ben) and Kansas City’s defense is suspect at best. While the Chiefs haven’t given up a lot of points, they give up a lot of yards.

It was Pittsburgh’s defense that should make Chiefs fans nervous on Sunday. I know Miami was playing a backup quarterback, but the Steelers were relentless with their pass rush and the Dolphins could do next to nothing. Kansas City has got to be able to run the ball to have a chance.

I know the Chiefs are at home, but from what I see they should be the underdog.

• GREEN BAY-DALLAS SHOULD BE A DANDY — The other game to watch in the NFL this upcoming weekend is Green Bay at Dallas on Sunday.

The Packers are don’t-touch-it hot, as Aaron Rodgers overcame a 7-yard performance in the first quarter to pierce the Giants over the final three for a 38-13 victory. That completed a dog of a weekend as all four playoff games weren’t very close.

Some are saying the Green Bay-Dallas game will be for the Super Bowl spot, but never count out Seattle. I know the Seahawks have been wildly erratic the last two months of the season, but they have the pedigree, having been a recent Super Bowl champion and were only a brain cramp away from making it two straight before an interception from the 1-yard line derailed their chances.

I’m still mulling over my Packers-Cowboys pick. The Cowboys are the better team, but the Packers are the hotter team. I’ll wait until Friday to reveal my picks.