Sometimes a win can be so earth shattering that it can change the direction and/or perception of an entire sport. National Title teams from the SEC were deemed unbeatable after the conference had 4 different teams win 7 straight titles. That was until Florida State stopped the streak by defeating Auburn in 2013. SEC hasn’t been looked at the same since – good, but not great.
One program that was still great was Nick Saban’s Alabama teams. It is the modern day collegiate football dynasty. Saban has national titles at Alabama in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017. It’s been an incredible run, and it seems the last four years, the Tide have just further separated themselves from the rest of college football. That is the rest of college expect for one program and one team – the Clemson Tigers.
Sure Clemson beat Alabama for a national title in 2016. That in itself is an achievement, but other schools have one-off wins against Alabama the last four years. Ole Miss and Auburn got the Tide once, but twice in a national title game? That didn’t seem possible.
Clemson did do it and did it so emphatically in their 44-16 destruction of Alabama it is making us looking at College Football differently.
The Alabama dynasty is not over. Alabama has been so far and away better than their competition not named Clemson. Nick Saban is still their head coach, and the Tide recruits better than anyone in the country. Tua Tagovailoa is the nation’s 2nd best quarterback. Alabama will be back, but they have a true challenger now.
Clemson is now the LA Lakers to the Alabama Boston Celtics. Switch it around if you want, but you get the picture. Alabama is no longer the it program in college football. They have to share the mantle with Clemson.
QB Trevor Lawrence, RB Travis Etienne, WR Tee Higgins, WR Justyn Ross all are potential 1st or 2nd round NFL picks. All will be back, some for two more years. It is the best offensive skill position talent returning in college football for 2019.
If you are still viewing the prism of college football through Alabama, you’ve missed the last 4 years of football. Clemson’s program is every bit as good as Alabama’s. In 2018 Clemson’s team was by a wide margin better than Alabama.
I don’t know if Clemson can completely overtake Alabama as a program, but the possibility now can entertained. That is astonishing actually.
Nick Saban has his machine, but Dabo Swinney has built his own unique model for winning. For the foreseeable future if you are talking about Alabama and the national title at any length, Clemson is entrenched in the discussion. It isn’t Georgia. It isn’t Ohio State, not Michigan, not Oklahoma and not Notre Dame.
It’s Clemson – and we all better get used to it.