Rankman's Pick: Clemson the only team that can almost beat Alabama

TAMPA, Fla.--Clemson is the only team on the intercollegiate Google map that could, theoretically, end Alabama's dynasty in the end-zone of Raymond James Stadium.


The world is ready for a college football headline that doesn't start with "King Saban" or "Roll Tide Roll."

Clemson's Deshaun Watson is the ONLY quarterback in America with the tool kit to off set the greatest defense in a generation.

Watson certainly does not fear Alabama, having taken last year's game down to a 45-40 wire. Last night, thanks to ESPN replay, I watched the fourth quarter of the 2016 game in Arizona and came away impressed with Watson's utter disregard for Nick Saban's defense.

Watson is a throw-run threat who had the Tide defense on roller-skates in the fourth quarter. Even after Alabama scored to put the game away at 45-33, Watson raced his team down the field for another touchdown, with 12 seconds left, to at least give Clemson a shot at an on-side kick.

That said, picking against Alabama is a fool's game. Only guys from Jersey, maybe, would think of it. I do like Clemson covering the 7-point line and the schools topping the over-under at 51.

But Alabama's defense, at this point, is the most suffocating I've seen since the 1985 Chicago Bears. You can't run or pass against it, which leaves few options. The Tide can get pressure with a four-man rush, allowing the back line to disguise coverage schemes and basically make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.

My heart wants Clemson, just to mix things up. A Clemson win would serve the better interests of college football. Dynasties are only interesting, mostly, to the home towns that produce them. The outside world roots for the upset, the underdog.

Yet, facts are stubborn things. Alabama IS a dynasty and the best teams usually win.

Winner: Alabama, 30-24. I hope I'm wrong, but not counting on it.