If someone told you at the beginning of the year that Clemson would win the National Championship by defeating Alabama with under 10 seconds to go, would you believe it?
For most people, the answer would have been no. Coming into this year the Crimson Tide were heavily favored to take home the trophy which would be their 2nd straight; something no team in the history of college football has been able to accomplish. A combination of the best defense in the country along with a very talented offensive line, Alabama had everything they needed to repeat as champions.
But this did not matter to the Clemson Tigers. From day 1, they were focused on getting revenge after they were defeated by Alabama in last year’s National Championship. Just like last year, this matchup would prove to be one of the greatest college football games of all time.
This game was back and forth the entire contest. It seemed that every time Clemson got a little momentum, Alabama would take it right back. Bo Scarbrough came out ready to play as he had 2 touchdown runs to put the Tide up 14-0 early on in this contest.
Just as it looked like ‘Bama was about to run away with it, Clemson was able to put together a 7 play 87 yard drive which was capped off with an 8 yard Deshaun Watson run.
The difference in this contest really came down to the 4th quarter. Despite trailing 24-14, Clemson was able to start of this 4th quarter with a 4 yard touchdown pass from Watson to Mike Williams. With the score sitting at 24-21, Clemson would score again with a 1 yard run from Wayne Gallman to take their first lead of the game.
Just as they had all game, Alabama would bounce back to retake the lead with a 30 yard scramble run from Jalen Hurts.
The calm and composed Deshaun Watson led his team on a 68 yard drive over 9 plays to finish out this game. This drive would end with a 2 yard Hunter Renfrow Touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson. In what some may consider one of the greatest college football games of all time, Clemson got revenge on Alabama and took home their first national championship since 1981.
What did we learn from this game?
Most importantly, there is not as big of a contrast between the power 5 conferences as we thought. Many speculated that Clemson would struggle against Alabama and even Ohio State because they did not play as difficult a schedule.
The two games prior are also very important. Alabama defeated Washington 24-7. While it was a convincing win, it was not as convincing as many people thought. Moreover, Clemson shout out one of the best teams in the Big 10 in Ohio State despite many thinking that this conference was the best in the country.
Either way, College Football is moving in the right direction. This game showed us that any team, regardless conference, has a chance at winning the national championship. Don’t get me wrong, the ACC is a good conference; it’s just that people estimated the gap between the ACC and other conferences like the SEC and Big 10 was much larger than it actually was.
These two teams will once again be favorites to win the national championship next year. But until then, teams will undergo their offseason workouts and coaching staffs will focus on recruiting.
Thanks for the great season college football, we will see you next year.