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Teams: Alabama/Washington Winner vs. Clemson/Ohio State Winner
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
National Championship Game Date: Monday, January 9, 2017
National Championship Game on TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
National Championship Game Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu:
College Football Betting Online: We always knew that the rules for the College Football Playoff were going to be made up just a bit as time went on, and over the course of the first three seasons of this new invention, we've already seen twists and turns.
In Year 1 of the playoff, we saw the Big XII name "co-champions," which effectively kept both Baylor and TCU out of the playoff even though both teams won on the last Saturday of the season. The team that got into the playoff in front of them both, Ohio State, went on to win the National Championship.
Year 2 of the playoff was the first time that a team made it into the last four without having to play a conference championship game. It was also the first year that no team entered the playoff with a perfect record. The Big XII wasn't omitted that year with Oklahoma, but the Sooners were no match to Clemson, who ultimately lost to Alabama.
Now, Year 3 has given us a whole new set of circumstances. Alabama is the only undefeated team in the field, and as a result, it's a -250 favorite to hoist the championship trophy for a second straight season. Ohio State joined the fray as the first team ever to not win a conference championship and still have the shot to play for the title, and this comes in spite of the fact that a team it lost to, Penn State, was left out even though the Nittany Lions went on to win the Big Ten. Then toss in Clemson, a team that cheated death so many times before this year and Washington, a team with the worst non-conference strength of schedule to ever play for a National Championship in the history of the playoff, the BCS or the Bowl Alliance.
It's all going to make for some great football, and it all starts with the two national semifinals on New Year's Eve at the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. The fun all concludes on January 9 in Tampa at the site of the first outdoor College Football Playoff Championship Game.
National Championship Bowl Preview
The Alabama Crimson Tide is the preeminent powerhouse in college football and the defending national champions. Coach Nick Saban and his ultra-talented squad will take aim at securing a second straight title at the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. This year’s game will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. It will be the third College Football Playoff National Championship in the new format, which features four teams facing off in the semifinals. The two semifinal games will be held on December 31st, 2016, at the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl.
The Alabama Crimson Tide knocked off the Clemson Tigers, 45-40, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona last season to capture the national title. Alabama defeated the Michigan State Spartans in the semifinals, 38-0, while Clemson advanced with a 37-17 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. Alabama scored 24 points in the final quarter to claim the victory. The offensive MVP was Alabama tight end OJ Howard, while the defensive MVP was his teammate, strong safety Eddie Jackson, Jr.
It was a measure of revenge for Alabama, which was the top seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2015 but was defeated by the Ohio State Buckeyes by a score of 42-35. The Oregon Ducks defeated the Florida State Seminoles in the other semifinal, 59-20, and it was Ohio State which emerged as the national champion, 42-20.
Alabama several key players, including star running back Derrick Henry, quarterback Jake Coker, linebacker Reggie Ragland and several others who made their way to the NFL. However, Howard is among the talented players returning on offense, and Nick Saban has such a well-oiled machine that others are ready to step in. Alabama is expected to be the No. 1 ranked team in the preseason and the favorite to win another national championship. It won’t be easy, as the SEC is perennially the toughest conference in the nation and Alabama will have to go through star running back Leonard Fournette and the LSU Tigers among other tough teams during the regular season.
The Baylor Bears are one of the best teams in the nation and could be the class of the Big 12. Quarterback Seth Russell would love to get his team to the national championship game, although coach Art Briles was fired recently amid a sexual assault scandal at the school.
The Ohio State Buckeyes lost a ton of top talent from 2015, including star defensive end Joey Bosa, star running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Cardale Jones, but J.T. Barrett is back under center and should have the Buckeyes right in the mix. The Michigan Wolverines could be their biggest challenger in the Big Ten, and the winner of the conference will likely make the College Football Playoff.
The Ole Miss Rebels lose some very talented players to the NFL, including left tackle Laremy Tunsil and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, but quarterback Chad Kelly is returning and hopes to lead the team to a spot in the title game.
Clemson hopes to make another push at a national championship, and returns plenty of talent, including star quarterback DeShaun Watson. The Stanford Cardinal could be the best team in the Pac-12 and hope Heisman Trophy candidate Christian McCaffrey can lead the team to the playoffs.
The Tennessee Volunteers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Oklahoma Sooners have longer odds but are some of the other teams which hope to be in the running for the national championship. While dark horses are sure to emerge, Alabama will have the bulls-eye on its back throughout the year as the defending champion in NCAA football wagering.
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