Alabama got one of the best draws in this year’s College Football Playoff for the semifinal round. The Tide opened as two-score favorites over the Pac-12 champion Washington Huskies, and it looks as if it will stay that way leading up to the game on New Year’s Eve. Alabama has passed tests all season long, and if Nick Saban’s team plays as it has all year, it should be smooth sailing against the Huskies. Not to mention the Tide playing in Atlanta should give Alabama a nice home-field feel.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, ESPN. The announcers are Joe Tessitore, Todd Blackledge, and Holly Rowe.
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Spread: Alabama is currently a 14-point favorite.
Washington has undoubtedly earned itself a bid to the Playoff, however. The Huskies finished the season 12-1, with the lone loss coming against a talented USC team. Washington looked even stronger after it finished the season with blowout victories over both Washington State and Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship — both opponents that were expected to match up well with the Huskies.
Three big things to know
1. UW’s offense has a big challenge. It’s no secret that Alabama’s defense is one of the — if not the — most talented units in the country. So what does that mean for the Huskies offense? Well, quarterback Jake Browning will be one of the most talented passers the Tide has faced. He’ll have some opportunities to air it out, but the question is if he’ll have enough time to do so. Bama’s pass rush has silenced even the most well-equipped passers.
2. Lane Kiffin will be on the sidelines. Although he accepted the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic, Kiffin will still coach the offense and will continue to do so if Bama makes it to the College Football Playoff National Championship. This isn’t an uncommon thing — former Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart coached Alabama through its title run last season after accepting the Georgia head coaching job. Former Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman also stayed along with OSU after accepting the Houston job a couple of years ago.
3. This isn’t the first meeting between these two. They have played each other four times, with Alabama winning all the games. The first meeting was in 1926 in the Rose Bowl. Alabama won 20-19.