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College Football National Championship: Clemson (1) vs. Alabama (2): Game time, draft prospects

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The two best teams in the country will slug it out tonight, with as many as10 potential first- or second-round draft picks on the field.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This is it, the culmination of the 2015 FBS season. Fittingly, the two best teams in the country -- Alabama and Clemson -- will meet in the final game of the year to decide the national champion. Bowl Season has been a disappointing one so far, with games that were expected to be competitive quickly turning into one-sided routs. Both teams vying for the national championship won their semifinal match-ups in lopsided fashion.

Hopefully, these two thoroughly talented and well-coached teams will give us the game we've been hoping for since Bowl Season began.

Game Details


Time - 8:30 p.m. ET

Clemson (1)

The number one team in the country, Clemson isn't the physical juggernaut that Alabama is, but the Tigers up-tempo spread-option offense has proven unstoppable as they've ridden the longest winning streak in the country into the last game of the year. Dabo Swinney's team is just fun; their speed and wide-open style of play is just fun to watch on the field, and the team is having fun doing it.

Clemson's dynamic defense is powered by a trio of potential first round draft picks.

Starting up front, they have defensive end Shaq Lawson. Lawson is -- at this point -- generally considered to be the second-best defensive end in the country behind Ohio State's Joey Bosa, and is a common choice for the New York Giants in mock drafts. So far this year Lawson has 55 tackles, 22.5 for a loss, and 10.5 sacks. He is listed as questionable for the championship game after being injured against Oklahoma in the semi-final round.

On the outside is cornerback Mackensie Alexander, a 22-year-old  red-shirt sophomore. Alexander is slightly undersized but he has a strong build, quick feet, fluid hips, and the aggressive personality to potentially be a shut-down corner. But after a hamstring injury, Alexander might is a game-time decision for the Tigers as well.

And finally bringing up the back end is height/weight/speed phenom safety Jayron Kearse. Kearse is one of the new brand of safeties that is blurring the line between safety and linebacker, however unlike most with his build, his freakish athleticism lets him be a true centerfielder.

Tight end Jordan Leggett is a long, lanky former receiver with an great athleticism and receiving ability, but he has struggled with inconsistencies in both blocking and -- earlier in his career -- in effort. If Leggett can put it all together, learn how to block, and continue to fill out his frame, he could be a legitimate weapon at tight end in the NFL.

And finally, even though he isn't draft eligible, quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the most exciting players in college football, and was a heisman runner-up behind Alabama's Derrick Henry

Alabama (2)

Where Swinney's team is fun, Nick Saban's squad is all business. They don't play with the wide-open speed that Clemson does, instead preferring to pummel their opponents into submission. Or hamburger ... Whichever comes first.

Like Clemson, Alabama is lead by their defense, and specifically their defensive front.

In the middle A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed at defensive tackle. Both Reed and Robinson are considered first round picks. They have the length and quickness to be disruptive penetrators as well as the power to command double teams and clog the middle of the line of scrimmage.

Next to them is defensive end Jonathan Allen. At 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, Allen looks the part of a 3-4 5-technique or a 4-3 base end, but in addition to his obvious power is a surprising combination of explosion and flexibility. With Reed and Robinson commanding attention in the middle, Allen can beat most one-on-one matchups on the outside.

Behind that formidable line is linebacker Reggie Ragland. Ragland has the build of a prototypical thumper in the middle of the defense, but within his range he has the ability to make plays in the passing game thanks to quickness, high football IQ, and instincts.

On the other side of the ball is Heisman trophy winning running back Derrick Henry. Henry has emerged as the workhorse and battering ram of the Alabama offense, averaging better than 25 carries per game, and roughly six yards per carry. Henry's presence forces defenses to load the tackle box, making it easier for the passing game to gash them deep.

In the middle of the Alabama offense is center Ryan Kelly. The red-shirt senior is arguably the top center prospect in the country and a similar prospect to the Giants' own Weston Richburg. Kelly is 6-4, 297, with (reportedly) high football IQ and great communication skills to go with good feet and a nasty demeanor.