#3 OHIO STATE
Washington's Jake Browning will be the best quarterback Alabama has seen all year, but the Huskies still need to be able to run the ball. Bama gave up only 63.4 rushing yards per game in 2016, best in the nation. Against USC—the closest approximation in the Pac-12 to Alabama's level of talent—Washington ran for only 17 yards. If the Huskies can't do better than that, the Tide will keep rolling.
Which Clemson team will show up in Arizona: the one that spreads the ball to its skill players or the one that turns the ball over? The former can beat Ohio State; the latter can't. The Tigers' front seven can limit Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett in the run game, but if he can get the ball to playmakers Curtis Samuel and Noah Brown, this could be a shootout.
OHIO STATE 38
2017 NATIONAL CHAMIONSHIP
Ohio State has the defense to keep Bama's Jalen Hurts in the pocket. Forcing him to throw will make for a close game—for a while. As the clock ticks on, the Buckeyes' inability to run on the stingy Tide D will catch up to them. The OSU defense will spend a lot of time on the field, and the Bama run game will take off in the third quarter; it won't stop until the final whistle.
OHIO STATE 15