Alabama expected to roll past Washington in Peach Bowl semifinal
Nobody wants to face powerful Alabama. The Crimson Tide is so powerful that some coaches are avoiding jobs in the SEC because they fear there is no chance of building a national title contender under the shadow of Alabama and Nick Saban.
However, someone must play the Crimson Tide in the national semifinals. Both No 2 Ohio State and No 3 Clemson escaped the guillotine. No 4 Washington did not and will risk being blown out during the New Year’s Eve Peach Bowl.
The winner advances to the National Championship game against the Ohio State-Clemson winner.
No one expects that winner to be Washington, a 14-point underdog, outside of Husky fans, coaches and players. But if there is an upset Washington must continue to play stiff defense and figure out a way to keep sophomore quarterback Jake Browning clean.
Alabama’s defense is filled with stud players whose primary mission is to pressure quarterbacks into mistakes and turn those miscues into scores.
Browning, if given time, can pick apart any defense. However, to take pressure off Washington must establish the run to prevent Alabama’s pass rush from pinning its ears back and coming after Browning.
Running backs Myles Gaskin (103 yards per game) and Lavin Coleman (64 yards) can both attack the perimeter and get out of the way of Alabama’s big boys. They could be running for their lives.
The Crimson Tide is ranked no. 1 nationally in total defense (247.8 yards per game), rushing defense (63.4) and scoring defense (11.8 points a game). Alabama did not give up a touchdown in November playing against LSU, Mississippi State, Chattanooga and Auburn while yielding less than five points a game.
Defense is why Bama is in the hunt each season. Its front seven is the best in football and is led by Jonathan Allen who has 8.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hurries, and two fumble recoveries.
It looks like another case of roll Tide roll. But maybe Washington is tougher than we think. The Huskies are tucked away in the Pacific Northwest out of the way of the media glare. Teams like this don’t get much respect but are capable of shocking the world.