NCAA NFL

Could the Tide Roll over Cleveland?

A question that is asked virtually every time football season come around: could the best NCAA team beat the worst NFL team?

Alabama is up there with the most clearly dominant programs at any level of any sport in the last decade. The Crimson Tide continue to seemingly run through the NCAA when it comes to college football. Despite Clemson being responsible for dethroning the Tide in terms of the NCAA National Championship in 2016, ‘Bama still managed to keep their AP #1 spot coming into the 2017 season, and rightfully so.

To put their dominance into context, Nick Saban has had his hands on four national championship trophies since 2009. Their defense throughout that short span has allowed just over 13 points per game, including an insane 2011 season where they allowed only 8.2 points per game and shut out LSU 21-0 to take the BCS National Championship back to Tuscaloosa.

Simply put, the Crimson Tide have been the most authoritative force in college football and seem to be continuing on that incredibly dominant path.

On the flip side of the moon, in a land desperate for football talent, is a city called Cleveland. Many Clevelanders no longer claim that they have a football team at all, keeping the pride and joy of their city in the hands of the Cavaliers and the Indians. The Browns have struggled incredibly over the last decade, unable to locate, let alone capture that elusive winning season’ since the 2007 NFL season.

The origin of the Browns inferiority, given their infamous quarterback crises, has kept them at their demoralizing dead last position in the AFC North for 12 of the last 14 seasons. The Browns have had 26 starters since 2000, averaging a QBR of 66.0. Terrible.

Since 2009, Cleveland has started 16 different quarterbacks, while Alabama has had less than a third of that – five QB’s – step under center.

Quarterback Spergon Wynn was drafted by Cleveland 16 spots ahead of Tom Brady in the 2000 NFL Draft. Ever heard of Spergon Wynn? Exactly.

Here are the top five matchups that would decide the outcome of a possible Alabama vs. Cleveland matchup:

1.  Minkah Fitzpatrick vs. Corey Coleman

Notable Statistics (2016):

Fitzpatrick – 66 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 6 INT, 2 TD, 1 forced fumble

Coleman – 33 rec, 413 yards, 12.5 avg., 3 TD

This matchup would undoubtedly be a deciding factor in the possible matchup between these two teams. Corey Coleman, two years of out Baylor, was a Heisman frontrunner and one of the most explosive players in the nation. Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the most versatile players in the nation, doing everything from rushing the quarterback to playing cover-corner to working the middle of the field like a safety. Could Fitzpatrick, a possible future top ten draft pick hang with him well enough to limit his influence on this game? Or would he leave Bama fans looking like this?

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2.  Shaun Dion Hamilton vs. Isaiah Crowell

Notable Statistics (2016)

Hamilton – 64 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 INT, 1 forced fumble

Crowell – 952 yards rushing, 4.8 yard avg., 7 TD, 40 receptions, 319 yards

Senior linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton has proved to be one of the Tide’s best leaders throughout his collegiate career. With the exception of CJ Mosley, Alabama has been known for producing quality collegiate linebackers that do not translate well into the NFL. However, Hamilton is determined to overcome that stereotype and prove that he can be an elite linebacker at the highest level of the game. Isaiah Crowell is coming off a great 2016 season. He put up 146 yards of total offense against the Ravens in week 2, while also rushing for 152 yards in week 16 against the Steelers, a notoriously solid run-defense. Could he escape the grips of future NFL linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton?

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3.  Jalen Hurts vs. Jabrill Peppers

Notable Statistics (2016)

Hurts – 62.8 completion %, 2780 yards, 23 passing TD, 9 int, 954 rushing yards, 13 rushing TD

Peppers (Michigan) – 66 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 INT

To me, this would be one of the most interesting matchups to watch in this game. Jalen Hurts is coming off an incredible true freshman season, leading his team to the National Championship, just one year out of high school. His ability to make plays both with his arm and his legs is an attribute that is matched by very few players in college football today. He also happens to be a great leader, always poised and not flustered by much. But Jabrill Peppers… You ‘gotta be hot with a name like that. This is an electrifying player, one that fired up 110,000 people every Saturday at “The Big House” in Ann Arbor. Who ya got in this matchup?

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4.  Bo Scarbrough vs. Myles Garrett

Notable Statistics (2016)

Scarbrough – 812 yards, 6.5 avg, 11 TD

Garrett (Texas A&M) – 33 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery

Bo Scarbrough in TENTH GRADE… This should be all I have to say.

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Myles Garrett, also a freak of nature at 6’5”, 250 pounds, was a standout at TexasA&M. His only downfall heading into NFL Week 1 was the team he unfortunately had to represent. Would he be able to shed Alabama’s O-line and get to big Bo Scarbrough? He would think that’s a stupid question…

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5.  Calvin Ridley vs. Jason McCourty

Notable Statistics (2016)

Ridley – 72 rec, 769 yards, 10.7 avg., 7 TD

McCourty – 69 tackles, 12 pass deflections, 2 INT

Calvin Ridley has been an incredible asset for Bama over his two-year career, and has continued that in the first two games of his third season on the Crimson Tide. He too, is one of the more versatile players in the nation, able to pick up yards on the ground as well as through the air. Jason McCourty, Cleveland’s top cover corner, might have his hands full with the NFL-ready Ridley despite his solid year (for a Brown, at least) last year.

Ultimately, I truly believe that Bama could give CLeveLand  another possible L to add to their name. But in reality, could the Tide actually Roll over Cleveland? Or would Hue Jackson and his team “Brown out the noise?”

What the Sports do you think?

 

1 comment on “Could the Tide Roll over Cleveland?

  1. Reblogged this on What the Sports.

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