Alabama Team News

Clemson presents serious test for Alabama in College Football Playoff rematch

Clemson-Alabama College Football Playoff game
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Part of the answer lies with the unanswered questions from the Iron Bowl. The result of the SEC championship game also creates more doubt about how good this Alabama team really is.

Georgia faced a battered Auburn team that it had faced just a couple weeks before. Running back Kerryon Johnson was clearly not 100 percent healthy in the rematch after sustaining a shoulder injury against Alabama.

How competitive would the Tide have been against Georgia? I would think more than Auburn, but trying to determine that is speculative at best.

RELATED: The complete 2017 College Football Playoff and bowl schedule

What we do know about this Alabama team is that the time off will give injured players plenty of time to heal and hopefully be game-ready before January 1. Nick Saban believes all of his players, aside from Hamilton, will be able to play. While having the defense at full strength is a plus, problems remain.

As promising as all of those five-star recruits are, this defense isn’t as talented as last season’s. Credit Pruitt for the job he has done patching this unit together. This defense is still very good; it’s just not nearly as good in specific areas as last year’s group was, like getting to the quarterback.

Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson are in the NFL. Alabama not being able to find a single player who can regularly effect the quarterback should worry all Alabama fans.

Pruitt has had to rely on Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison out of the secondary to help pressure the quarterback, but good offenses will make you pay for constantly having to blitz, as Jarrett Stidham did. Bryant is accurate enough that if he gets time to find the open receiver, he will.

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