Staff Predictions for Alabama-Washington in the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
For the third straight season, the Alabama Crimson Tide is preparing itself for a College Football Playoff semifinal game. This year's opponent is Pac-12 champion Washington, who earned the four-seed after a 12-1 record.
These two programs haven't met in 30 years, but there's some pretty significant history in this series. Alabama defeated Washington, 20-19, in the 1926 Rose Bowl to claim the school's first national championship and prove that Southern teams could compete with the best in the nation.
Move ahead 90 years and the Crimson Tide and Huskies will square off again with championship hopes on the line. Nick Saban's team is a heavy favorite to advance to the title game, but Chris Petersen will try to pull the upset.
How does our staff seeing this Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl playing out? Take a look below.
Martin Houston, Host of The Morning Blitz
The wait is finally over. Alabama facing the 4th-ranked Huskies will present the toughest test of the year for the Tide. When it comes to the skill position, Washington brings a ton of talent to the table on both sides of the ball. Will this be enough for the Huskies to overcome the 14+ point spread? I'm thinking not, but with the caveat that Alabama comes out and establish their dominance in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, look for Bo Scarborough and company to get the Bama offense off to a good start and Jalen Hurts to respond with great efficiency to the Huskies attempted challenge of taking away the run. The defense will be stellar and take one more step towards being the greatest of all-time.
The Huskies will see some success offensively, but not enough to matter. Tide forces them into a lot of 3rd and long and when that happens, look for the normally accurate and ball-securing quarterback Jake Browning to give Bama a couple of gifts. Huskies makes it interesting early off the success of a few trick plays, but Bama flips the switch in the 2nd half. Alabama 38, Washington 17
Wimp Sanderson, Co-Host of Inside the Locker Room
Barry Sanderson, Co-Host of Inside the Locker Room
Gary Harris, Host of The Gary Harris Show
Alabama has played all season to get to this point. The Crimson Tide is two wins away from a fifth national championship in the last eight seasons, a truly remarkable accomplishment. The Washington Huskies stand in the way of Bama's "Date with Destiny." Washington is an outstanding football team and won't roll over for the Crimson Tide. Alabama will have to earn it's victory and that is exactly what the Tide will do! Alabama 34, Washington 17
Travis Reier, Host of Southern Fried Sports
This game will be determined more by what the Alabama offense wants to do than what it can do. If that side of the ball comes out and establishes a strong mix of Jalen Hurts and his running backs, UA will likely control the game throughout. If not, UW could find itself with a shot to win in the fourth quarter. Alabama 30, Washington 17
Aaron Suttles, Host of The Suttles Approach
Washington will have to have success making big plays down the field in the passing game to have a chance to pull the upset. Alabama needs to avoid turning the ball over. Alabama 31, Washington 17
Ryan Fowler, Host of The Game
Ben George, Digital Managing Editor
It's difficult to imagine a tougher scenario for the Washington Huskies. Not only do you play a team on 25-game winning streak as a 14-point underdog, you have to do it in Alabama's backyard with far less experience on the national stage. I believe Washington will compete early and lean on its defense to keep it close. Ultimately though, experience and talent win out. Alabama 32, Washington 16
James Hardy, Producer
The Alabama Crimson Tide returns to Atlanta to resume their quest for a second straight national title. In last year's national title run, OJ Howard proved to be a deciding factor in wins over Michigan State and Clemson. Look for Howard to be a difference maker against the Huskies. Alabama 31, Washington 16
Thomas Paradiso, Producer
Well, here we are again. For the third year in a row, Alabama steps into the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide take on the Washington Huskies in this semifinal matchup. Many people haven't given Washington a shot to dethrone the Tide, and while I agree with most, I don't think it will be an easy win for Alabama. Washington has an impressive air attack as well as a defense that has a high number of takeaways. If the offense sticks to what it knows, and takes care of the ball, Alabama will move on. Alabama 34, Washington 17