Monday, January 01, 2018
Alabama vs. Clemson (NCAAF) - 8:45 PM EST Premium Pick
Pick: Point Spread: 3.0/101 Clemson Pick Title: Mike's New Year's Strongest Bowl On The Board Play (LOSS)
Here's the rubber match! Speaking of rubber matches, the last time this occured was between 1973 & 1975 with U.S.C. & Ohio State. After two 20-point plus blowouts (U.S.C 42-17 & Ohio State 42-21), their rubber match was closely contested with the Trojans edging the Buckeyes 18-17. I feel the same today between the Crimson Tide & Tigers. This game is an intense chess match between HC's with Nick Saban & Dabo Sweeney. There's 1 observation I believe that's stood out all season. Alabama has been over-estimated by the oddsmakers. In 7 regular season/playoff games against post-season bowlers, the Crimson Tide has only covered 1. I feel just the opposite could be said of Dabo Sweeney & Clemson. The Tigers have covered 7 bowl games ATS in a row. In fact, the whole ACC has been under-rated as well. In "New Year's 6" level bowl games, the ACC has cashed in on 10 of 13 chances after slumping to a 3-13 SU prior to that run. There's a lot more history on the Bama' side making their 64th bowl appearance including winning 4 National Championships & 1 runner-up under Saban. Diving into it much deeper, the Crimson Tide has lost its last 4 January bowls ATS & has failed badly in the Sugar Bowl (lost in 2015 to Ohio State 42-35, was defeated in 2014 to Oklahoma 45-31 & was shocked by Utah in 2009 losing 31-17). My bottom line says we have to take into high consideration how these 2 played in BIG games. Alabama lost the pivotal "Iron Bowl" game to Auburn 26-14 while Clemson showed major muscle in defeating a Miami, Florida team 38-13 in the ACC Championship. Both teams have excellent playmakers with Crimson Tide QB Jalen Hurts, RB's Damien Harris & Bo Scarborough along with WR Calvin Ridley AND the Tigers with QB Kelly Bryant, RB's Travis Etienne & Tavien Feaster PLUS 3 solid receivers featuring Hunter Renfrow, Deon Cain & Ray-Ray McCloud. The X-Factor separating these 2 has to be on defense. DC Brent Venables 4-3 alignment has been stifling. They lead the nation in sacks with 44 sacks (DE Clelin Ferrell led with 8 1/2 & led with 17 tackles for losses) & had 2 dominating OLB's (Kendall Joseph & Dorian O'Daniel) who combined for 170 total tackles, 14.5 tackle for losses, 5.5 sacks, 3 INT's with 2 TD's & 2 fumble recoveries. In the numbers also reveal that Clemson is a jalapeno-like 21-2 SU away from Memorial Stadium the last 3 seasons & are 30-2 SU versus bowl teams during that period. Not to downplay the Alabama defense either (but they are losing their DC Jeremy Pruitt after this game), the fact that the Tigers are getting no respect as dogs carries merit. The UNDERDOG in the last 15 bowl appearances by Clemson has gone a near-perfect 14-1 ATS. Even though I feel Alabama may take the lead & hold it for awhile with early adrenalin, look for the Orange & Purple's up-tempo game plan to burn the Tide & win it in the end. Let's go to Mercedes-Benz Superdome for this CFB Semi-Final in the Sugar Bowl to play the CLEMSON TIGERS (buying to + 4 1/2) as my New Year's Strongest Bowl On The Board Play!
NOTES: While the Clemson "D" held the Alabama offense to 17 points (7 by defense), Kelly Bryant couldn't make adjustments to the Crimson Tide pass rush & made numerous mistakes. We'll give kudos to Nick Saban for having his defense prepared well as this game was won @ the chalk board over Dabo Sweeney & the Tigers. Stay tuned as this week I'll have a play on Saturday's FCS Championship (James Madison-North Dakota State) as well as the BCS National Championship (Georgia-Alabama).
My 2017-18 CFB Bowl Record: 4-2----67%----
2017-18 "Smiling Cobra" Bowl Plays: 3-0----100%----
Last 11 CFB Selections: 9-2----82%----
2017-18 CFB Overall Seasonal Record: 55-51----52%----