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Steve Sarkisian: Time away showed me I loved coaching football

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Steve Sarkisian has been cramming for a final exam he didn’t know he’d have to take. The newly elevated Alabama offensive coordinator had all of a week after his earlier-than-expected promotion to prepare and implement the game plan for Monday night’s national championship game with No. 3 Clemson. Not to mention getting better acquainted with players, most notably quarterback Jalen Hurts, and adapting to a very different job description. “I’m embracing this more than anything,” Sarkisian said Saturday. “I would…

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Clemson’s Dabo Swinney thinks only Clemson can beat Alabama

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According to Dabo Swinney, there is one team in college football that can beat the Alabama Crimson Tide. Fortunately for Swinney, it’s the Clemson team he brought to Tampa to compete in Monday night’s National Championship game. “To be honest with you, I don’t think there’s another team out there that’s capable of beating Alabama,” Swinney said. “I think we’re probably the only team that has a chance. You know, that’s – and we do, we’ve got a solid chance.…

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Tide-Tigers II: The matchups that will decide the national title

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Every defensive meeting at Clemson this week might as well have started with coordinator Brent Venables passing around a photo of Alabama‘s O.J. Howard with the caption “Know where 88 is at all times.” For the second straight season, the Tigers and Crimson Tide will meet for the College Football Playoff championship. Howard is the talented tight end who came into last season’s title game with 33 catches for 394 yards and no touchdowns. He then went off for 208…

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Mitch Perry Report for 1.6.16 – Big time college athletics parks in Tampa this weekend

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Big time college sports makes its way to Tampa this weekend with the college football championship slated for 8 p.m. Monday evening at Raymond James Stadium. Both teams will be arriving at Tampa International Airport this afternoon, with Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney slated to headline a press conference tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. at the Tampa Convention Center. Don’t expect any sparking quotes from Coach Saban, who is in rarefied air as one of the greatest coaches in college football…

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Clemson’s Deshaun Watson prepares for strong Alabama defense

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Deshaun Watson has looked forward to his Tampa trip, oh, for about a year now. Watson, the Clemson quarterback, was among those who weren’t satisfied when the Tigers lost a 45-40 game to Alabama a year ago. Immediately, he suggested he would see everyone in Tampa. “Just belief,” he said Wednesday in a teleconference. “That’s just the type of person I am. That’s it. I have high standards for me and my teammates, and this is where we wanted to…

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Alabama’s Nick Saban tiring of questions about Lane Kiffin

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Alabama coach Nick Saban hasn’t been able to shed Lane Kiffin as easily as he might have thought. In a teleconference call Tuesday, Saban was peppered with questions about the timing of the departure of Kiffin, who Saban dumped as his offensive coordinator this week before Monday night’s national championship game. The odd-timing of the decision and Kiffin’s stated goal of working in the press box both were discussed. “We made a statement about this yesterday,” Saban said, “and really…

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Alabama 7-point favorite over Clemson in college football championship game

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Alabama is a seven-point favorite against Clemson in a College Football Playoff championship game rematch, according to gambling odds website Pregame.com. The defending national champion and top-ranked Crimson Tide beat No. 4 Washington 24-7 in the Peach Bowl semifinal game Saturday. The third-ranked Tigers won in similar fashion later in the night, beating No. 2 Ohio State 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl. Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 last year in the College Football Playoff final, winning a fourth national championship in a…

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