Who’s going to win this year’s college football national championship? Up & Coming Weekly polled the 10 Cumberland County Schools senior high school football coaches for their opinion.
Because of holiday deadlines, we had to get their choices before the two semifinal games on Dec. 29 were played that pit Clemson against Notre Dame and Alabama against Oklahoma.
We gave the coaches the option of picking both semifinals and the championship game or picking one team out of the final four they thought would win. Here’s how they called it.
Ernest King, Westover — Alabama. I feel they have two experienced quarterbacks to lead the offense. The defense plays good on a consistent basis. That gives the offense more opportunities to score.
Bill Sochovka, Pine Forest — Alabama has a complete team, very impressive on defense, and it helps that your backup quarterback was your starter last year.
Jake Thomas, Cape Fear — Clemson over Notre Dame because of their playoff experience and more firepower on offense. Both teams have tough defenses. Alabama over Oklahoma because of their defense. However, if Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t play, that will definitely affect Alabama’s ability to be balanced offensively.
Clemson should win the national championship in a very close game. This team has gotten the job done all year, and they will find a way to do it again.
David Lovette, Gray’s Creek — Alabama over Clemson. I just think Alabama has been overwhelming this year. But if any team can beat them, it’s Clemson.
Rodney Brewington, South View — Clemson over Notre Dame because the Tigers have been there. Notre Dame is not quite ready to take that jump. Oklahoma is playing the best football, and with the Alabama quarterback banged up, Oklahoma gets the edge.
Oklahoma should win the championship game.
Brian Randolph, Jack Britt — Clemson will be the national champs. Clemson has built a very dominant team and program through absolutely phenomenal recruiting and outstanding player development, which will allow them to hoist the championship trophy again.
Deron Donald, E.E. Smith — Clemson will beat Notre Dame because Clemson is more explosive, has more team speed and more experience in the big game. Alabama will beat Oklahoma because their defense is dominant and Oklahoma has not faced a defense like this all year. Alabama and Clemson in the championship game should be a great matchup. You’re talking about the two most dominant teams in college football over the last five years. I have to give a slight edge to Alabama because they just know how to find a way.
Duran McLaurin, Seventy-First — Alabama over Clemson in the title game. There’s not a better big game coach out there than Nick Saban. His defense does such a good job of taking away your strength, and defense wins championships.
Bruce McClelland, Terry Sanford — Oklahoma, because I’ve pulled for them since the Barry Switzer days, over Alabama in an upset, 44-43. Clemson over Notre Dame, 27-23. Oklahoma stuns the college football world and wins the national championship over Clemson, 43-34. Gotta believe!
Mike Paroli, Douglas Byrd — I think Clemson will beat Notre Dame. Alabama will outscore Oklahoma. Clemson will upset Alabama in the title game.