It’s rarely ever done. Not many teams have had success against Alabama. Here’s what it will take for Clemson football to beat the Crimson Tide.
Do you know how many times Alabama has lost in total the past five years?
Since 2014, the Crimson Tide have lost just five times: Twice to Ole Miss (2014, 2015), once to Ohio State (2015), once to Clemson (2016) and once to Auburn (2017).
There aren’t many teams that have found ways to best the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban has done an excellent job finding team’s weaknesses and just taking advantage of the fact that he has the more talented team in almost every case.
So, how do you take down a dynasty like Alabama? After looking back at these losses, I think there are three things a team must possess to be able to do so.
- You have to match them physically
- You can’t beat yourself
- You have to have a winning quarterback
When we look at the physicality of Alabama, there are few teams that can match that. It’s not about being more physical than them. But, for a team to beat Bama, they have to match their physicality on both sides of the ball.
The offensive line has to play up to that front-seven. The defensive line has to create pressure. Your wide receivers have to be strong enough to match up with the physicality of the Crimson Tide defensive backs. Across the board, your team has to match that unique physicality.
That’s the first step. And that already eliminates the vast majority of teams.
Well, for the teams that can play up and match the Crimson Tide physically, the second step is not beating yourself. You can’t have a ton of turnovers or a bunch of dumb penalties. This just comes back to playing clean football.
Alabama is the type of program that takes advantage of mistakes. Think about last year when Clemson football took on the Crimson Tide. Two interceptions- one of which was a pick-six- were a big difference in that game.
Lastly, you have to have a winning quarterback. I know forever people have always said that “you need a true dual-threat quarterback to beat Alabama.” While that is somewhat true, the last time I checked, Jarrett Stidham has basically no running ability.
While Deshaun Watson could run the ball, he beat Alabama through the air. It was his arm that proved to be lethal against the Tide.
Yes, your quarterback needs to be able to run the ball just to remain a threat, but it’s more about having a quarterback that’s going to make plays down the stretch. It’s more about having a quarterback that isn’t going to make mistakes and isn’t going to beat himself.
It’s about having a quarterback that isn’t phased or afraid of playing against that vaunted Alabama defense. He’s not fearful of mistakes and being hit a few times doesn’t rock him.
Those are the steps to beating Alabama. That’s what Clemson will have to have happen if the Tigers want to beat the Tide tonight in Santa Clara and I believe they have all the pieces to pull off the victory.