Las Vegas sportsbooks have picked Alabama as the favorite to win this season’s national championship, but coach Nick Saban thinks Clemson should be favored because they have one weapon Alabama doesn’t: Deshaun Watson.
Saban called Watson “the best player in college football since Cam Newton,” according to ESPN.
Newton won the Heisman Trophy and led Auburn to a national championship in 2010. Watson was a Heisman finalist in 2015—though he ultimately lost to Alabama’s Derrick Henry. He brought the Tigers within five points of winning the 2015 title, but Alabama came out victorious again.
Despite Alabama’s success over Clemson last season, Saban doesn’t expect beating the Tigers will come easily this year.
“I don’t care who we start at quarterback,” Saban said. “He ain’t going to be that good.”
Saban has yet to select a starting quarterback, while Watson will return for this third year under center for Clemson.
Alabama opens its season against USC on Sept. 3. Clemson will face Auburn at 9 p.m. ET that day.