Alabama is set to take on Washington in the Peach Bowl, so here are some storylines and predictions for the Crimson Tide ahead of the College Football Playoff semifinal game.
Death. Taxes. Alabama in the College Football Playoff.
Okay, so the playoff has only been around for three years now, but the Crimson Tide are making their third appearance after one of the more dominating regular seasons in recent memory. The Tide are rolling into Atlanta and the Peach Bowl with a matchup against Pac-12 Champion Washington in the semifinal.
Here are five thoughts and predictions as the Crimson Tide take on the Huskies on December 31.
Does Hurts Feel Any Pressure?
It is quite easy to forget that Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts is a true freshman. He never looks panicked, and even when the game isn’t going Alabama’s way, he stays in control. Could playing for a spot in the national title game, plus the month layoff between games, put any nerves inside the young man? I doubt it.
Browning Facing Pressure
It doesn’t matter which Alabama front seven player you name – Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, Reuben Foster – they can all bring the pressure. That will make Washington quarterback Jake Browning’s job extremely difficult. Browning must withstand that rush or it could be an extremely long night for him.
Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin can say all the right things leading up to the game, but how much focus he has on the task at hand, and not on being the new head coach at FAU, will have a major impact on the game. If he can keep his eye on Washington, the Tide will be fine.
Everyone has been talking about not whether the Tide will win, but by how much. Will this attitude seep into the Alabama locker room? After a season that saw only one game decided by fewer than 10 points, could an overconfident team come into Atlanta?
The Huskies have to be asking themselves, “What did we do to deserve this?” They are playing the No. 1 Crimson Tide, have to fly across the country, and then will have to battle a crowd that will be heavily crimson.