Lanthorn Sports predicts the CFB National Championship game

By Brady McAtamney , D'Angelo Starks , Eli Ong , Jerod Fattal , Kady Volmering and Kellen Voss | 1/7/19 10:28am


Brady McAtamney: Alabama 38, Clemson 28

College football is exciting; it always has been and it always will be. That said, things can get a bit tiring when two programs seemingly suck the life out of seasons by being the only better-than-elite programs in the nation. Yes, Notre Dame was great. Oklahoma was fantastic. Ohio State and Georgia had serious bids to get into the College Football Playoff, too... but it wouldn't have mattered. Expand the playoff to 32 teams and it would still be these two. Alabama is Thanos and Clemson is, like, Thanos' body double. (If you haven't been following the "Avengers" storyline, Thanos is pretty much the most powerful super-villain ever. Also, you should start watching those movies.)

If you remember correctly, though, Thanos' body double dies. Thanos does not. That's right: Alabama is going to win this game. It should be a pretty close game and an exciting one to watch, considering that the Tide and the Tigers are the top two programs in the nation and have been for years, but Saban and his boys are simply too powerful right now. 

There's a reason the chant is "We Want Bama" and not "We Want Clemson."   

Kellen Voss: Alabama 42, Clemson 17

History always repeats itself, as Alabama and Clemson will meet up for what seems like the 87th time in recent years. While this may be a matchup that fans are getting tired of, these are truly the best two teams in all of college football, proving yet again that the college football playoff works.

That being said, this seems like another classic blowout for the Crimson Tide. What has typically held Alabama's dynasties back in previous years has been its mediocre quarterback play, with Greg McElroy and A.J. McCarron being just a few examples of game managers who can be nothing more than that.

But this year is different for Bama. Not only do they boast beasts in the offensive line, one of the fastest defenses in college football and a bounty of talented skill players, they also have Tua Tagavailoa, the best quarterback in college football and the man who should have won the Heisman trophy. Being that Alabama took the position that is typically their Achilles heel and turned into their biggest strength is scary to think about.

And as for Clemson, as good as Trevor Lawrence is heralded, he is still a true freshman starting in one of the most televised football games on the planet. Most of the freshman on GVSU's campus are the same age as him, and having to face off against a quarterback who's already won a national championship doesn't make the task any easier. If I were Lawrence, I'd be crapping my pants too.

At least we don't have to watch Urban Meyer and his furrowed brow attempt to corrupt this game.

Eli Ong: Alabama 38, Clemson 35

When it comes to down to it, Clemson and Alabama are unquestionably the best two college football teams in the country. Both teams boast top five offenses and defenses in terms of points scored and points allowed. 

Clemson is fourth in the country in points per game at 44.3 and first in the country in points allowed at 12.9 per game, while Alabama is second with 47.7 points per game and fifth with 16.2 points allowed per game. 

A couple of key factors to look at will be how Clemson will get after Tua Tagavailoa while defending the passing game and if Clemson can establish its run game against Alabama’s defense. 

Clemson has struggled at times defending the pass, with Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond throwing for 430 yards and three touchdowns against the Tigers on Sept. 8 and South Carolina’s Jake Bentley torching the Clemson defense for 510 yards passing and five touchdowns through the air. Alternatively, teams that have had any form of offensive success against Alabama have done so by executing run plays on offense. 

Georgia, Oklahoma and Arkansas all ran for over 150 yards against Alabama en route to putting up point totals of 28, 34, and 31 respectively. So if Clemson can run the ball while getting pressure on Tua and disrupt Alabama’s passing attack, they should be able to pull out a win, but that is something easier said than done. 

Given Clemson has had moments where they have struggled to stop the pass against lesser quarterbacks; I’m taking Alabama over Clemson in their fourth meeting against each other in the college football playoff in a close one.

Jerod Fattal: Alabama 35, Clemson 31 

Remember when Clemson’s little Hunter Renfrow caught the game winning touchdown pass as time expired in 2017? And Clemson beat Alabama 35-31? Of course you do. It was electric. Clemson beat Alabama... David beat Goliath. 

But that dynamic changed after Deshaun Watson led the Tigers to that National Championship win. In the past four years, Clemson showed they are no longer an underdog. Rather, they have joined Alabama as "No. 1 and 1A" atop the college football landscape. No longer is this game a David vs. Goliath matchup... Instead it has become the fourth iteration of a heavyweight fight between, dare I say... two Goliaths? 

As a result, there isn’t an underdog or fan favorite in the 2019 Natty Title game like there has been in years past (remember Clemson in 2015?). In fact, this will be the fourth straight year these two teams have met in the College Football Playoff. Because of this, the “Clemson vs. Alabama fatigue” is real and fans are tired of seeing the same matchup again and again. Don’t believe me? 

“There are currently 300 tickets selling for less than $200,” said Darren Rovell of Action Sports. “(The low price is) completely unprecedented.” 

So how does this problem get solved? Simple, expand the playoff to eight teams.

D'Angelo Starks: Clemson: 34,  Alabama: 31

Here we are again, for the third time in the last four years Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban are coaching in the CFP National Championship. 

Only, this time, there is no Deshaun Watson and Alabama isn’t relying on a dominant defense to win games this season. For me, this game comes down to the two quarterbacks in this game. Both of which are elite and it can be argued that they are the two best at their position in the country. 

Alabama has Tua Tagovailoa, who has led this team to an undefeated record and has given Bama one of the most high powered offenses in the country. Clemson has a freshman prodigy in Trevor Lawrence at QB who has been compared to people like Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck. Lawrence has been so good this year that he drove Kelly Bryant, whose job he stole, to transfer. I’m giving the edge to Lawrence in this battle because I think he’s the better QB and I think he will show that in this game. Go Tigers!  

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