College Football Playoff Title Game Trends – By Marc Lawrence


By Marc Lawrence


And then there was one.

One team will be left standing at the conclusion of the 2017 College Football Championship game Monday evening, either last year’s champion Alabama, or last year’s runner-up Clemson.

From our all-knowing database, presented below are some of the more notable findings. Enjoy the game.

How They Got Here

Ironically, while the pointspread on this year’s game is the same as last year’s title game – Alabama is a 6.5-point favorite – the record of the two teams has reversed.

The Tide enters as the 13-0 undefeated favorite, whereas the Tigers were the 13-0 undefeated underdog last year.

Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide began the season as the AP preseason No. 1 ranked team and sailed undefeated into the championship game.  On the flip side, Dabo Swinney’s Tigers suffered their only defeat in a one-point shootout loss against Pittsburgh.

It should be noted that undefeated AP preseason No. 1 ranked teams have gone 3-7 SU and ATS in bowl games since 1980, including Alabama’s win over Washington in the Peach Bowl this season.

Title Game Tendencies

Looking back at the BCS championship and College Football Playoff title games, undefeated teams have been a 50-50 proposition, going 10-10 straight up (SU) and 10-10 against the spread (ATS) since the first BCS title fight in 1999.

However, spotless teams are only 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS when facing a foe off consecutive SU/ATS wins.

In another twist, three teams have entered national championship title games off a SU underdog wins. All three have managed to take home the money.

Conference And Team Trends

Alabama stands 12-3 SU against ACC opposition since 1980, with 10 of the twelve wins by double-digit margins.

The SEC is 5-6 SUATS in bowl games this season, while the ACC is 8-3 SU and 9-2 ATS – including 2-0 SUATS versus the SEC.

Clemson is 3-13 SU in its last sixteen games against the SEC, but 8-3 ATS as dogs of more than 3 points in those games.

Coaches DNA

As expected, both coaches bring plenty of cred into this affair.

Nick Saban is 44-5 SU in games with the Tide in which they are ranked No. 1 in the polls. In addition, Saban is 88-15 SU and 59-39 ATS in games in which his teams are undefeated, including 33-14 ATS against opponents his team defeated in a most recent meeting.

Dabo Swinney is 10-6 SUATS against undefeated opposition, including 6-1 ATS when the Tigers are taking points.  In addition, Swinney is 3-0 ATS with rest when tackling SEC foes.

Still Perfect After All These Years

Alabama is 13-0 all-time against Clemson since 1905.

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