Clemson is the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff, but sportsbooks currently favor Alabama, and Kirk Herbstreit says there’s only “one way” the Tigers pick up the win: a big passing game by Kelly Bryant.
Deshaun Watson was likely the best player on the field in each of the two previous College Football Playoff match-ups, and anyone that watched those games or the start of his NFL career this fall knows what a dynamic playmaker he can be. Kelly Bryant has been very good for Clemson this season, but he’s not Deshaun Watson. Few quarterbacks are. Because of that, Kirk Herbstreit thinks that Clemson needs Bryant to really step up as a passer, and attack Alabama’s secondary.
If he can’t, Herbie doesn’t believe the Tigers can beat the Crimson Tide.
He went into detail about this on today’s episode of the “Herbstreit & Fitzsimmons podcast.” Discussion of Alabama-Clemson begins around the 37-minute mark.
“My big thing here, two words: Kelly Bryant. I think he will dictate how this game goes. If Clemson wins, Kelly Bryant’s going to make some throws, and throws that make you go ‘Woah, that’s pretty good, look at Kelly Bryant go. He’s proving some doubters wrong today. Look at him throw that ball.’… It’s either going to be that, or it’s going to be wow, Kelly Bryant, great runner, man, but Alabama’s coverage was tight and he couldn’t quite squeeze it into those windows, and that’s what’s different. They don’t quite have Deshaun Watson. Kelly Bryant’s a great runner, not just quite the passer that Deshaun Watson was.
If they come up a little short, he’s gonna miss on some throws. And if they win, he’s going to make those throws. I hate to just put it all on him, but I think everything else kind of evens itself out.
It’s going to be a low-scoring, field position, special teams, turnovers, who gets the short field kind of game. But I’m telling you, if Clemson wins it’s going to be because of Kelly Bryant, not his feet, his arm, and his receivers are going to make plays in the passing game.
That’s the only way they win this game. If he doesn’t do that, they’re going to come up a little bit short. It’s as simple as that.”
Round three of ‘Bama vs. Clemson opened as a pick’em, but the line has swung pretty heavily towards the Crimson Tide, which is now a three-point favorite at most sportsbooks, according to OddsShark.