Sugar Bowl III
The dessert menu tonight is full of sugary treats. After the main course of Georgia and Oklahoma football fans get the conclusion of college’s footballs modern showcase trilogy. Rocky III? Ward-Gatti III? Ali-Frazier III? Nah, The Sugar Bowl, following the Rose Bowl at 8pm EST, features the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers for the third straight year in a must-win playoff match-up.
The line opened Alabama -1.5 and has climbed through the key number of 3 and this afternoon sits at -3.5.
The expected points scored and expected points allowed paint a picture of another tightly contested game between these two teams.
They both scored a little more than a touchdown above what they were expected to. And they both limited their opponents to around two touchdowns less than they were expected to. Very similar teams. Saying all that, it still looks like there might be a point or so of value on Alabama.
The yards per play comparison backs up the value on Alabama. In fact, it suggests there is even more value on the Tide.
The efficiency stats are where the story begins to break down for Alabama. Everything on 3rd down and in the red zone is all about Clemson.
Digging into the defensive metrics specifically though does boost the outlook on the Tide a bit.
Clemson is going to get to the qb a little more and into the back field a little more in general. While Bama tends to shut down drives better; along with Va Tech they are the only teams to keep their opponents to less than a point per drive.
Motivation, much like in the Rose Bowl, should not be a problem. These are two evenly matched teams. Both playing for potential history. You can talk about Nick Saban with time to prepare, Alabama having a month to rest up their defensive stars, or the chip on their shoulder the line of Bama -3 must have put squarely on Clemson’s shoulder. But, when it comes to motivation, just take a peek at this:
Its heresy, its out-dated, its probably nothing but,…. its hard to not want to believe its true.