College Football Playoff- (Peach Bowl)
(4) Washington Huskies (12-1) at Alabama (13-0)
Washington: It’s been quite the season for Chris Petersen and his football team. This is just his third season as the head coach of the Washington Huskies, the school has made the leap into the nation’s conversation of elite teams in all of college football. In coach’s first two seasons, they won 14 games combined. This year, they won 12 games after defeating Colorado in the Pac-12 title earlier in the month. They’ve won games by a high-octane offense that averages 44 points a game led by quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin and their defense hasn’t been too bad either as they have given up only 17 points per game and ranked ninth nationally in the nation. They may have not played the toughest schedule this year, but at the end of the day, this is a power five conference champion that deserves to be here. For most of the year, Jake Browning was considered to be a Heisman candidate and I felt he should’ve received an invite at least. I know he didn’t look all that great against USC in their only loss this year, but this is a guy that threw two touchdown passes or more against everyone else on their schedule this year. He finished with 42 touchdown passes and only 7 interceptions this season. He’s a big play producer, he can make all the throws on the field and he’s fearless which is a trait you have to admire about him. They’re finally here after a great year and will get a shot at the defending champions to kick off the College Football Playoff on Saturday afternoon.
Alabama: From a talent standpoint, this may not be Nick Saban’s best team to some people and there will be some that say it’s pretty close. I will say this is the most complete team Saban has had as the head coach in Tuscaloosa. Their offense has been able to remain on the field and they got that spark they needed when they decided to bench Blake Barnett in the opener against USC and start Jalen Hurts and since then, they haven’t looked back. Everyone will also try to throw in the conversation that the SEC is down this year and them rolling through Texas A&M, LSU and Auburn this year definitely isn’t what it was in previous but you all know how the saying goes, you play who you play. Their defense, however, this is a unit that does it all. They tackle well in open space, they sniff the football out and then pursue to it, they rush the passer and they can prevent the big play from getting down the field. Ever since the playoffs started in 2015, Alabama has been a participant in each one and this year, they enter as the defending champions and will look to win their fifth title in eight years under Nick Saban.
Washington Player To Watch: Coleman Shelton– He’ll have a tough task at hand on Saturday and that’s trying his hardest to keep Jonathan Allen contained and out of the Huskies backfield. I see a lot of double and maybe even triple teams on him. He will also be responsible for helping Jake Browning call audibles at the line of scrimmage. I’ll be clear. He can’t afford to make any type of mistakes or this Bama defense full of potential NFL draft picks will take advantage and it can be a long day.
Alabama Player To Watch: O.J. Howard– He’s a big part of that offensive monster that includes Hurts, Scarborough, Harris, Ridley, and Stewart. Washington will be without Azeem Victor who’s been on injured reserved. Howard is my x-factor for the Tide. He’ll have the advantage on freshman D.J. Beavers who’s only played in three games and has struggled to cover in the passing game.
Prediction: Remember that sign we saw on college gameday where a Washington fan said they wanted Bama? Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. I like Alabama to win this one and advance back to the title game. Alabama 45 Washington 17