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Alabama shows Huskies, nation what great defense is all about

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As expected, Alabama advanced to the college football national championship game in Tampa with a 24-7 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl win over the Washington Huskies on Saturday in Atlanta. Running back Bo Scarbrough put up 180 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to lead his team to the next step.

They did not need anything else from the offense after the vaunted Crimson Tide defense did what they normally do. That means sacks, stuffs, pressures, knock-downs and, oh yes, scoring touchdowns.

Ryan Anderson took the air out of the Huskies with a pick-six with less than three minutes left in the half. With the way the defense was playing, increasing the lead to 17-7 seemed like 47-7.

This defense is among the best that has ever played the college game. They have speed and strength mixed with a high football IQ.

Despite solid play from the Washington defense, they had no chance to stay with Alabama if their offense could not produce points. Despite some false hope early on, the game played out the way the odds makers predicted.

After an eight-play, 64-yard touchdown drive provided a brief 7-0 Husky lead, Washington was put in a vise for the remainder of the game.  Quarterback Jake Browning connected with Dante Pettis for the opening score, but was unable to move the ball thereafter.

Meanwhile, Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts passed for only 57 yards and ran for another 50. Some of his runs came on third down, but Scarborough provided all of the offense the Tide needed. He turned out the lights in the Georgia Dome with a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that made the score 24-7.

As the game wound down, things got a bit chippy with a number of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on both teams. The frustration for Washington must have been immense.

Despite being dominated by the Tide, the Huskies are a very good football team. They probably are the fourth best team in the land. There is no reason to believe Penn State, Oklahoma or any others ranked below Washington would have done any better.

Alabama is that good.

For all of those frustrated by what at times appears to be an SEC bias, there is no choice but to realize the obvious. Unless Alabama turns the ball over or makes a blunder in coverage, an opponent must play a perfect game to have a chance to beat them.

On September 19, 2015 Alabama committed five turnovers and lost to the Mississippi Rebels 43-37. They have won their last 25 games since that night.

They will be favored to make it 26 on January 9 at Raymond James Stadium.

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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