Alabama Football: Kevin Mudd’s National Championship Prediction

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Tavien Feaster #28 of the Clemson Tigers is tackled by Isaiah Buggs #49 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first quarter of the AllState Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Tavien Feaster #28 of the Clemson Tigers is tackled by Isaiah Buggs #49 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first quarter of the AllState Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Considering Part IV of the battle between Alabama Football and Clemson, an in-depth analysis of the history of the series indicates who will prevail.

I still remember sitting in the stands on the goal line, helpless as I watched, right before my eyes, Hunter Renfrow catch the game-winning touchdown. An Alabama football team I believed possessed the greatest defense I had seen in my life gave up the game-winning drive to Deshaun Watson’s Clemson Tiger team.

I’ve been thinking a lot of about that Alabama football team and now this Alabama football team, and I can’t help but think about how different they are.

I don’t know what it is, but there is a different feel to this year against Clemson. Every previous year, I felt like Alabama almost limped into its matchup versus Clemson. Twice I watched a team struggle against a weaker than normal Florida team in the SEC Championship game. Then I watched a team fresh off getting slapped by Auburn in the Iron Bowl.  All three teams either rolled in the first playoff game or struggled.

I remember being in the stands when Alabama beat the brakes off of Michigan State. Honestly, the entire crowd and team wanted Ohio State to avenge the year past. Alabama was ready to prove the previous year wrong. It wanted to win and did. But honestly, it didn’t know how to approach the Clemson team the following week.

The Tide struggled with Clemson all night. The defense didn’t have an answer for Deshaun Watson. The heroics of OJ Howard and an unexpected onside kick proved to be the difference.

The following year, the team found itself in a position of everyone believing it would win because of the strength of the defense. That team struggled overall against a Washington team beyond what the scoreboard indicated. Besides a long touchdown run by Bo Scarbrough and a pick-six by Ryan Anderson, the game was really a stalemate. I think that team suffered from more internal turmoil that has ever become known.

Lane Kiffin was fired the week before because his mind and effort was in other places. His replacement, Steve Sarkisian became utterly lost in the second half when Bo Scarbrough left the game.

A team I felt had so much confidence going into the game, lost it throughout. It was a slow wave that eventually killed the Tide that night. Going up 14-0, then losing Bo. Getting a key fumble and settling for a field goal inside the red zone. Letting Deshaun gain traction. Watching an offense stall on every possession except the last. By then, there was nothing left but an expended defense with no answers for Watson on the final drive.

I felt like the team the year before that wanted to finish so badly, yet this team simply couldn’t finish on that night.

The following year, revenge was on the mind. The Tide wanted to win so badly. It was utter domination over the Clemson Tigers on that night. Not only did that Alabama football team want revenge but so did the entire university. That night they found it.

However, something happened. They walked into Atlanta against a Georgia football team everyone felt they wanted to play, given the option between them and Oklahoma.

Alabama came out flat on both offense and defense. Georgia took a demanding 13-0 lead into half. Out of the half, Tua entered the game. The rest is history.

So I say all this to ask the question. What about this year?

Alabama ultimately has played much better this time around going into the match with Clemson.

Yes, they struggled against Georgia. But given Georgia wanted revenge, on the same field, same uniforms, with the playoffs on the line, it was the exact type of game you would expect. Most importantly, Alabama found a way to win.

Against Oklahoma, you saw a dominant performance in the first half in the Orange Bowl. Followed by a second half of letting off the gas pedal. The offense controlled the game, but you could tell the heat and fast tempo offense got to the Tide’s defense.

So what do I think this means going into the matchup with Clemson.

I’ve seen a lot of players comment on their Instagram or social media platform, #onemore. I believe I know what this means and I hope that I am right in explaining it below.

You must remember the seniors and juniors on this football team were on the field in Tampa Bay when the Tide were defeated by Clemson. They know what it is like to lose a National Championship. They also know what it is like to win a National Championship. They know what it is like to play with revenge on the mind, and what it is like to play against a team with revenge on its mind. They know what it is like to play against Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray. They know what not finishing feels like. They also know what finishing feels like.

I say all this because I believe this team is entering with the right mindset.

I honestly believe this team wants to come in and play its best football regardless of who is on the other side.

I think the seniors and juniors on this team will have Alabama football ready to roll.

Give me the Tide for an 18th National Championship.

Kevin Mudd Game Prediction: Alabama 32 – Clemson 17

Next. How the Crimson Tide wins the National Championship. dark

Stay connected to Bama Hammer as we work our way down to the big game. We have more predictions ahead and some inside scoop from Clemson insiders on the way.