Are the Clemson Tigers college football’s newest dynasty?

Malcolm Allen, Writer

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When created in 2014, the 4-team college football playoff system was created so the best two teams would play for the national championship. A variety of teams have made the playoff through the last five years. Among those teams, Alabama and Clemson have each been part of the playoff each of the last four years, and they’ve met in the playoff in all four years. The 2019 College Football National Championship game between Alabama and Clemson was the third time in the last four seasons that the respective universities met for all the marbles.

In January 2016, the teams met for the first time in Arizona’s University of Phoenix Stadium for the national championship. A game that featured players such as Deshaun Watson, Marlon Humphrey, Eddie Jackson, Jonathan Allen, heisman trophy winner Derrick Henry, and many other players that are now in the NFL. In the game, Alabama scored 24 points in the fourth quarter, including a 95-yard kick return touchdown by current Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake that all but sealed Alabama’s 45-40 victory.

The next year, the teams met in the championship again in Tampa, Florida. In one of the wildest national championships in history, Clemson entered the fourth quarter down 10 points. After Clemson took the lead on a Wayne Gallman touchdown, Alabama and Clemson traded go ahead touchdown drives. The latter team ended their drive when Deshaun Watson found Hunter Renfrow for a 2-yard touchdown with one second remaining in regulation to take a 35-31 lead and ultimately win the national championship.

Alabama defeated Clemson 24-6 in the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl. The teams would meet again in 2019, with everything on the line once again.

The 2018-19 college football season saw Clemson and Alabama remain the two most dominant teams in the NCAA. Going into the championship, the teams looked very different than they did in the last three years, starting with their quarterback situations. In the 2018 Sugar Bowl, the quarterbacks playing were Bama’s Jalen Hurts and Clemson’s Kelly Bryant. In the year that followed, Jalen Hurts was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa who led a comeback to defeat Georgia in the 2018 National Championship. Kelly Bryant was replaced by true freshman Trevor Lawrence, and ultimately decided to leave the team and transfer.

Tagovailoa and Lawrence led their respective teams to undefeated regular seasons, conference championships, and set the stage for the national championship in Santa Clara, California. When asked who he thought would win, Tallwood sophomore Sam Purvis stated, “Clemson’s offense will split Bama’s defense and destroy ‘Tua Turnthaballova’.”

The game began when Clemson’s offense was stalled on their first drive. Alabama got the ball and was driving down the field until a game changing play occurred less than two minutes into the game. Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell intercepted Tagovailoa’s pass and ran it all the way to the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. Tallwood sophomore Ian Larmore who attended the championship game described Clemson fans who attended as “nervous” and said that Clemson fans “were more comfortable and had a better outlook on the game”  after Terrell’s interception.

When Imagine Dragons and Lil Wayne took the stage to perform during halftime, Clemson held a 31-16 lead. When Clemson showed up on the field to play the second half, it was very apparent that Alabama didn’t. After a fake field goal attempt gone wrong in the third quarter, Trevor Lawrence added two touchdown passes in the second half. Clemson went on to win 44-16 and were crowned the 2019 National Champions. When asked about the future, Lawrence said he hoped to win “three more championships.” After blowing out Alabama, a team with nearly a decade of dominance, could Clemson be the newest college football dynasty?

 

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