1) Alabama Crimson Tide
Championship Game Result: Beat No. 16 Missouri Tigers 42-13
|Alabama receiver Amari Cooper|
Alabama is playing like the best team in the country right now and I think that they were properly rewarded with the first seed in these playoffs. Since their loss against Ole Miss and some close games mid season, they have been lights out. I know they gave up a ton of yards and points against Auburn, but Auburn tends to do that to even the best of teams. The Tide came into this game as big favorites and didn't have too much to fear from Mizzou other than a pass rush, and what they did is exactly what you would expect out of a team that is lacking offensively and defensively. They caught a huge stroke of luck when one of Mizzou's best defenders, Shane Ray, was ejected in the first half for targeting Blake Sims. Despite the huge shot that Sims took on the play which clearly rattled him, Sims had a tremendous day through the air. He stood calm in the face of pressure and hit his guys when called upon. His job is made so much easier by the presence of Amari Cooper who is head and shoulders above the rest of the receiving class. In this game, Cooper just completely abused the Tigers' secondary to the tune of 12 catches for 83 yards. That might seem like a modest total, but consider the fact that he sees some double coverages and is one of the only true reliable targets for Sims. He made a lot of crucial catches on third downs to help keep the chains moving and made some big ones to make second or third and manageable. DeAndrew White also had a big game, catching four passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. White is a solid compliment to Cooper but doesn't always get consistent targets from Sims. That really isn't his fault as Lane Kiffin's system calls for a premier wide receiver to consistently beat his man and be the recipient of most passes. Cooper has caught exactly 50% of Sims's passes this year and is one of the most unstoppable players this year, a big reason why he is a Heisman candidate. Alabama is just as dangerous on the ground with the tandem of Derrick Henry and TJ Yeldon. Yeldon is a very talented running back but has started to lose some time to Henry who has proven to be unstoppable at times. In this contest, Henry carried the ball 20 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He has regularly ran well against the best defenses as his 5.6 yards per carry average and 12 total touchdowns would indicate. Yeldon has been hampered by injuries which is why he hasn't played quite as well this year, but he has still come up big in a lot of games. He scored two touchdowns on the ground as well, but only ran for 47 yards on 17 carries. Saban rides the hot hand, so it really doesn't matter who is getting most of the carries as both are easily capable of carrying the offense.
|Alabama safety Landon Collins|