With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching along with college football rivalry week, I figured it would be appropriate to take a look at one thing each of the Top 4 teams should be thankful for. These can be players, coaches, or even an entire side of the ball. I give to you one thing Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Michigan should all be thankful for.
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
So much talk around this Alabama team starts with their offense. And rightfully so. With Heisman candidate Tua Tagovailoa slinging the ball around to an elite receiving core led by Jerry Jeudy, that offense is almost impossible to defend. But Alabama still sets the tone with their defense. The Crimson Tide rank 7th in total defense, 7th in third-down stops, and 5th in fewest yards gained on first down. This defense will wear you out on every single down. The Tide held both LSU and Mississippi State to 0 points. That’s just insane. Alabama has a lot to be thankful for, but don’t forget about that defense.
No. 2 Clemson
Their Defensive Line
I know, I know. Two defenses in a row. But defense wins championships. Clemson’s defensive line is downright scary. The Tigers have the most sacks in college football and are 2nd in tackles for loss. That starts up front with Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence at the tackle positions. Then you add in Clelin Ferrell off the edge and his 10.5 sacks and you have a real problem on your hands. All three of those guys have a legit shot of being drafted in the first round in 2019. Clemson is another team that has the offense to back it, but it starts up front with that defensive line.
No. 3 Notre Dame
If the Irish had started Brandon Wimbush all season long, I don’t think they’d be 11-0 and a game away from the college football playoff. Ian Book has been sparkling. He’s gone for 2,116 yards, 17 touchdowns, and just 5 interceptions. He is second in college football with a 72.6 completion percentage. What impresses me the most about Book besides his accuracy is the way he can deliver on the run. Pair that with surprisingly quick speed and you have the perfect college football quarterback. The Irish should be thankful that Brian Kelly pulled the trigger Week 4 and put the ball in Book’s hands.
No. 4 Michigan
Speaking of good quarterbacks, Michigan has one in Shea Patterson. The problem for so many years of Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan tenure has been the lack of a legit starting quarterback. He’s finally found that in Shea Patterson. Although the Wolverines like to establish the ground game and set the tone on defense. Patterson has stepped up when they’ve needed him to. Efficiency may be the best word to describe the junior from Louisiana. Patterson has thrown for 2,177 yards, completing 65.9% of his passes. He has only turned the ball over 4 times and has scored 20 touchdowns between the air and ground. Patterson has Michigan on the cusp of a playoff spot and for that, they should be thankful.