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Alabama vs. Washington Prediction, Peach Bowl Preview

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Alabama vs. Washington Peach Bowl prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Crimson Tide and Huskies in Atlanta, GA.


Alabama vs. Washington Peach Bowl Preview

When: Saturday, Dec. 31 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
TV Broadcast: ESPN

The Crimson Tide (13-0, 8-0 SEC) put together another dominant effort in the SEC title game on Saturday, as Nick Saban’s squad throttled Florida, 54-16. The Tide scored 33 points in the first half against UF, becoming the first team to score 30 or more against the Gators in a half since 2000, when Mississippi State put up 31 in the second half of a 47-35 win.

Meanwhile, Chris Petersen’s Huskies (12-1, 8-1 Pac-12) were able to get into the CFP after claiming the Pac-12 crown with a win over Colorado last Friday night. The win gave the Huskies their first conference title since 2000, and they did it despite an off game from quarterback Jake Browning. The Huskies compensated for the struggles through the air by rushing for 265 yards, and the defense stepped up when it needed to make a play or two to shift the momentum.

What To Know About Alabama

Saban’s squad was clearly the best team in the country throughout the 2016 campaign, but now the real season begins for the Tide. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has very rarely looked like a true freshman, and the Tide are so talented that they can best most opponents with their “C” game. But that will change in the College Football Playoff, beginning with this game.

Against the Gators, the defense scored on a pick six, and the special teams unit blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. It was just business as usual for a team that has never been challenged this fall because it was a down year for the SEC. The best part about this ‘Bama squad is that it really is a collective effort in all three phases of the game. Hurts is so good, yet so raw, and he bounced back from a rough start versus the Gators to finish with 138 yards and one passing touchdown. He didn’t need to do too much, but expect the offensive staff to focus on developing the passing game over the next month before the playoff begins.

What to Know About Washington

The Pac-12 champs were not hurt by the selection committee for having a weak non-conference schedule, and they shouldn’t have been because they put together a fantastic season despite their home loss to USC. Even though the Trojans exposed U-Dub a bit in that game, this is still a team that matches up pretty decently with Alabama because it is a team that is strong in all three phases, just like the Crimson Tide. Browning has had an outstanding season, but the sophomore quarterback will be looking for a really strong effort against the best of the best. He was not great against USC and Colorado. However, he is helped on the ground by Lavon Coleman and Myles Gaskin, and he has special talent at receiver as well.

Advantages

Offense: Even. This one’s close. Hurts can be a little sloppy with the football at times, while Browning has not played very well in the Huskies’ big games against USC and Colorado.

Defense: Alabama. The Tide enjoyed a month-long streak of games without allowing a touchdown, and Minkah Fitzpatrick had a Pick-Six against the Gators.

Special Teams: Alabama. The Tide added to their non-offensive touchdown total against the Gators, notching their FBS-best 13th this season. Special teams has been a big part of that total, though not having Eddie Jackson as a return man definitely hurts.

Coaching: Alabama. Two words, one man: Nick Saban.

Intangibles: Alabama. While the Tide know that they are the hunted, they also know that they are the best in the land.

Matchup To Watch

Washington offensive line vs. Alabama front seven

Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, a frontrunner for the Butkus Award, had a pair of sacks against the Gators in the SEC title game, while middle linebacker Reuben Foster led the team with 11 tackles and two sacks. It’s one of the best front sevens we have seen recently in the sport, and we saw this U-Dub offensive line struggle in the loss to USC. The Huskies were held to 17 yards on the ground, while Browning struggled and was batted around. The Trojans have a good defensive front, but Alabama’s is great. So this is a key component of the game.

Betting Odds

Spread: Alabama -14
Over/Under: No Line (as of post)

Alabama vs. Washington Prediction

Chris Petersen is arguably just behind Saban and Urban Meyer in the pecking order of best head coaches in the country. His Huskies will be prepared for this one and ready to play its best. However, even U-Dub’s best won’t be enough. The Tide break out in the second half and roll closer to another national title with a win.

Alabama vs. Washington Final Score Prediction: Alabama 37, Washington 23

Campus Insiders Staff Picks

Brian Stultz: Alabama
Dave Miller: Alabama
Jeff Bartl: Alabama
Rich Cirminiello: Alabama
Robert Judin: Washington
Pete Fiutak: Alabama

MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 15

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