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Jan
12
2016

Clemson set for another College Football Playoff run after falling just short to Alabama in National Title Game.

deshaun-watson-starter

I finally had some time to sit down and give my thoughts on a classic national title game between Clemson and Alabama. Let me just get started…

Was Clemson QB Deshaun Watson fantastic in defeat or what? Watson absolutely shredded the vaunted Alabama defense to pieces. He had over 400 yards through the air, and led the Clemson to an astonishing 550 yards against a defense some called the most talented that college football has ever seen. As good as Watson was he couldn’t do it without help. Clemson’s offensive line played an outstanding game giving Watson time to make pinpoint throws. Watson is a rare talent, but even he would have struggled if Alabama could have consistently won the battle upfront. They didn’t and Clemson’s offense moved the ball all night long.

That’s a scary thought for 2016 opponents of Clemson. If Alabama’s 4-5 Star NFL Talent on defense couldn’t slow Clemson, well good luck.

On defense Clemson’s front 4 made several plays and sacked Alabama QB Jake Coker 5 times. The secondary struggled some especially after the loss of All-American CB Mackensie Alexander, but overall I think the defense made enough plays to win. Clemson ended up with more yards, more first downs and I think slightly outplayed Alabama. So why did Clemson lose?

Special Teams…

Clemson had suspect special teams the entire year and it showed up against Alabama with a KO return for TD, and on a play that I believe was the difference in the game – the successful onsides kick that Nick Saban called. It was a gutty call that caught Clemson asleep. Those two plays decided what was a very evenly matched game between the two best teams in the country. Clemson played good enough to win, but Alabama was just a little bit better on Monday night.

Most of us that actually watched Clemson this year knew the Tigers would be able to go 4 quarters with Alabama, and the game proved that out. Clemson can play with anybody in the country.

Finally the rest of the nation is catching on to how strong the Tiger’s program has become under Dabo Swinney. There’s Alabama, Ohio State, and Florida State when it comes to the best college football programs over the last 4 years or so. Then I think you can put right behind them Clemson ahead of Oklahoma, LSU, Stanford, TCU, Baylor, and  Oregon.

The Tigers with Deshaun Watson returning, are already the pre-season #1 ranked in several early season polls. The offense with WR Mike Williams returning should be even better. The defense will lose some talent, but don’t expect much drop off. There isn’t any reason to think Clemson can’t make another at the College Football Playoff next year.

In all honesty an opening game with Auburn will be meaningless for anything other than pride. Should Clemson lose there’s plenty of time to get back into the playoff chase if they win out. Louisville will be tough, but that game is at Clemson. South Carolina is a rivalry game, but the Gamecocks have an irrelevant program at the moment.

You know which game matters the most for the Clemson. It’s Florida State. It is always Florida State. The Noles will have their own top 10 team, and playoff aspirations. The winner of the Clemson\FSU game very likely is the ACC’s playoff representative. That’s still a long way off. For now there’s no denying it, Clemson has become a national football power.

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