Alabama falls short vs. Clemson in championship rematch
The Crimson Tide's 26-game winning streak gets snapped after a 35-31 loss to Clemson in the CFP National Championship.
Alabama didn't finish the job and beat Clemson to win the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T, but as a consolation prize it landed plenty of players on ESPN's All-SEC bowl team.
QB: Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee: The senior went out with a bang, completing 23 of 38 passes for 291 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran for 118 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries during Tennessee’s 38-24 win over Nebraska.
RB: Bo Scarbrough, Alabama: He averaged 49 yards and less than a touchdown per game from August through November. During the playoff, however, the light came on and the redshirt sophomore averaged 136.5 yards and two touchdowns per game. And it could have been more if not for an injury that sidelined him for much of the game against Clemson.
RB: Nick Chubb, Georgia: First, he announced he would come back for another year. Then, he reminded everyone what he could be in 2017, rushing for 142 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries during Georgia’s 31-23 win over TCU.
WR: Deebo Samuel, South Carolina: The sophomore had a career-high 190 yards receiving and 14 catches during South Carolina’s overtime loss to South Florida. He even saved his only touchdown reception of the season for last.
WR: Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M: Reynolds may have been overlooked in the SEC, but the senior closed his career in spectacular fashion with a season-high 12 catches, yielding a season-high 154 yards and two TDs against Kansas State.
TE: O.J. Howard, Alabama: There’s something about Clemson that gets Alabama’s hot-and-cold tight end going. Howard has had two 100-yard games in his career, and both came against the Tigers, with the latest in the national title game in which he racked up 106 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
OL: Cam Robinson, Alabama: Everyone knew Alabama was going to run the ball, and still the Tide averaged 245 yards on the ground against Washington and Clemson, with much of it coming by way of Robinson and the left side of the line.
OL: Ethan Pocic, LSU: During a season in which the LSU offense was erratic at times, Pocic was the one constant, an anchor of a line that paved the way for a breakout season for tailback Derrius Guice, who capped it with 138 yards and a touchdown against Louisville.
OL: Bradley Bozeman, Alabama: Before beating Washington, Alabama coach Nick Saban called Bozeman the “unsung hero” of the team. Against Clemson, Bozeman did a solid job keeping Christian Wilkins and the rest of the Tigers' interior line out of Jalen Hurts' face.
OL Jawaan Taylor, Florida: The Gators hadn't rushed for 100 yards in three games before Taylor & Co. paved the way for 109 yards on 32 carries against Iowa. According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor graded out at an impressive 75.6.
OL Coleman Thomas, Tennessee: Dobbs didn't have a huge day all on his own. Thomas, who allowed just one pressure and graded out at 79.6 by PFF, helped the senior QB to his 400-plus-yard performance rushing and passing.
DL: Derek Barnett, Tennessee: His sack against Nebraska set the school record for career sacks (33), surpassing the great Reggie White in one fewer season.
DL: Jonathan Allen, Alabama: The Nagurski Award winner showed everyone why he should have been invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony, racking up 13 tackles and two sacks during the playoff.
DL: Trenton Thompson, Georgia: Thompson set a Liberty Bowl record with three sacks during Georgia's 31-23 win over TCU.
DL: Arden Key, LSU: Lamar Jackson didn’t have the chance to put up Heisman numbers with LSU’s defense chasing him. Arden Key brought down Louisville’s prodigious quarterback twice during the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.
LB: Tashawn Bower, LSU: Key terrorized Jackson all right, but Bower was even more of a drag on the Louisville QB with three sacks on the game.
LB: Ryan Anderson, Alabama: This senior wasn’t the reason Alabama didn’t win the national championship. The often overlooked outside linebacker had a pick-six against Washington and two fumble recoveries against Clemson.
LB: Lorenzo Carter, Georgia: Is Carter finally ready to break out and live up to the hype? It looked that way against TCU as the junior recorded a sack and two forced fumbles.
DB: Jamal Adams, LSU: The stud underclassman continued to show why he’s a hot prospect in the NFL, racking up six tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup during LSU’s win over Louisville.
DB: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama: The star sophomore continued to show his worth in Alabama’s secondary, whether it was playing multiple positions throughout the season or creating turnovers as he did when he picked off Washington’s Jake Browning in Atlanta.
K: Eddy Pineiro, Florida: Not a lot went right for the Gators on offense this season, but at least they found a kicker. Pineiro capped off a nice freshman year by making three field goals, including two from 40-plus yards out.
P: JK Scott, Alabama: With Hurts struggling to throw the football, Scott became a valuable weapon in the battle for field position, punting 18 times for an average of 45.8 yards during two games in the playoff.
RS: Derrius Guice, LSU: Sure, Guice ran for a bunch of yards against Louisville. But he also returned three kicks for 81 yards.