❚ Who has the edge?

Cap­i­tal One Orange Bowl

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE - Paul Myer­berg

When Alabama runs: Alabama’s run­ning backs got too lit­tle credit for the work they did dur­ing the reg­u­lar season. Three backs will see the field against OU, led by se­nior Damien Har­ris. Look for the Tide to pound away and find holes through the mid­dle. EDGE: Alabama

When Alabama passes: Here’s an­other area where Alabama will have a ma­jor edge, espe­cially if Tua Tago­v­ailoa shows no lin­ger­ing is­sues with the an­kle in­jury that side­lined him in the sec­ond half against Ge­or­gia and re­quired surgery. Ok­la­homa is tied for last in the coun­try in pass­ing yards al­lowed per game. EDGE: Alabama

When Ok­la­homa runs: The Soon­ers rank sec­ond na­tion­ally in yards per carry while Alabama ranks 16th in yards al­lowed per carry. But the Tide have im­proved since the start of Oc­to­ber and seem ready to at least slow down the Soon­ers’ pow­er­ful ground at­tack. EDGE: Alabama

When Ok­la­homa passes: Alabama might try, but there’s re­ally no stop­ping Kyler Mur­ray through the air. The key will be pre­vent­ing the big plays that have come to define the Soon­ers’ pass­ing game. The Tide might slow Mur­ray down but they won’t shut him down. EDGE: Ok­la­homa

Spe­cial teams: Both teams have been great in the re­turn game. Ok­la­homa might be a touch more ex­plo­sive, but it’s es­sen­tially a wash. Where the Soon­ers have an edge is in the kick­ing game, par­tic­u­larly at punter. Field po­si­tion will mat­ter with these offenses. EDGE: Ok­la­homa

Coach­ing: Nick Sa­ban isn’t just the best coach in col­lege foot­ball but one of the very best in history. Lin­coln Ri­ley is join­ing an elite club of col­lege coaches, but no­body can sniff what Sa­ban brings. EDGE: Alabama


Alabama’s Tua Tago­v­ailoa has thrown 37 TD passes this season and three in last season’s CFP ti­tle game.

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