ESPN On ‘Gap’ Between Alabama, Clemson

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first_imgHunter Renfrow of the Clemson Tigers catches a 31 yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson #4 in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide.GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 11: Hunter Renfrow #13 of the Clemson Tigers catches a 31 yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson #4 in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Alabama football is the clear No. 1 in college football right now. Internet sportsbook BetOnline.ag recently released odds for Alabama against many of the top teams in the country.Clemson was the closest match-up, with a line of +8.5 on a neutral site. Still, for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle, that is a giant spread.We may be underestimating the Tigers a bit though.Clemson’s defense is among the best in the country, and could put serious pressure on banged up Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He had to leave Saturday’s game against Mississippi State, which also features a stout defensive front.Trevor Lawrence is also just a true freshman, and is improving week over week. ESPN‘s Heather Dinich writes that the gap between Alabama football and Clemson may not be as wide as many think.From her College Football Playoff column published this morning:While there’s no disputing Alabama’s top spot, the gap between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers might not be as wide as national perception might suggest. On paper, top-ranked Alabama and second-ranked Clemson are almost twins, with the Tide having a slight edge.Alabama is No. 1 in ESPN’s Football Power Index and No. 1 in strength of record, while Clemson is No. 2 in both categories, but not by much. The Tide is just 1.6 points ahead of Clemson in FPI, which isn’t a very big gap considering Clemson is a robust 4.7 points ahead of No. 3 Georgia. Strength of record also reveals a slim margin. The average top-25 team would have a 2.8 percent chance to go 10-0 against Alabama’s schedule and just a 3.4 percent chance to go undefeated against Clemson’s lineup.Some have argued that Oklahoma’s explosive offense might give Alabama the most trouble, but a healthy Tua and company could drop 70 on that defense. Clemson’s probably the most balanced team this side of the Crimson Tide, and on the right day, could give them a run.[ESPN]last_img

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