No. 1 Alabama will take on No. 2 Clemson on Monday night in a rematch of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game from last season. Some of Bama’s players on media day said that although they are favored (Las Vegas currently lists Alabama as a 6-point favorite over Clemson according to OddsShark) they are treating Monday night’s game as if they are the actual underdogs.
"[The media] is selling us as possible underdogs, possible upset," said Crimson Tide linebacker Tim Williams, via ESPN. "We know what we have to come out there and do at the end of the day — put the cleats on.
"When you have No. 1 next to your name as much as us at Alabama, a lot of people are going to take shots and a lot of people are going to say a lot of things. But we have a standard that we always play to, and we never worry about the end result. If we put everything we have on the field, then we can deal with everything else after."
Yes, Alabama is favored for Monday night’s game, but that doesn’t mean everyone is picking the Tide. Only four out of 15 of SB Nation’s staff writers picked Clemson to upset the Tide. But in CBS Sports’ staff picks, five out of seven writers picked Clemson, and five of seven at Sports Illustrated also picked Clemson. In the Peach Bowl against Washington, the media was nearly unanimous in picking Alabama.
Given how well Clemson looked in its semifinal against Ohio State, how close last year’s 45-40 Alabama victory was, and that Clemson now has a healthy Mike Williams back on offense, the Tigers have been a trendy pick to upset the Tide in the last week.
Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who had 208 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson’s defense last year, added how Clemson being predicted to upset Alabama serves as motivation.
"It's kind of a slap in the face when you do something well all year and then your parents give the gift to your little brother and he just got an F on his test," he said.
Before Bama’s semifinal game against Washington, Tide staffers put up fake news stories that highlighted the Huskies upsetting Alabama for motivation. Now, there’s no fake news needed to be created; it’s real, actual bulletin-board material they can use. We’ll see how Alabama responds on Monday night.