Final Thought: It was another wild college football season filled with some parity as usual, but this is the national championship game that we deserve. Amusing how that works out.
CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) The Clemson Tigers are once again bound for the national championship and excited fans are already gearing up for the big game.
Hawkins again went with Alabama. In a 24-7 suffocation of Washington, the Tide scored its 11th defensive touchdown of the season and held the Huskies to season-lows in yards and points. "I'm going to pull for Alabama because I haven't seen them play yet", he said.
"Maybe it would be a little bit different if they had a month to get ready, like that first game, but you've got basically a game week to prepare".
"He's not a freshman anymore", Swinney said on a teleconference setting up the national championship game.
The loss handed Dabo Swinney and his Tigers, who finished 6-7 that year, the first losing season since 1998. "That's a credit to our staff and great preparation". It's time for the guy who hails from Pelham, Ala.to finally take a seat at the throne of college football's highest platform.
The success of this group starts up front with a dominant front seven.
Since that day, Clemson has become a household name winning two ACC titles while going 69-13 overall with program-defining wins over LSU, UGA, Ohio State and Oklahoma (twice) and Auburn (three times). He's third on the team in tackles as a sophomore. If anything, Saban said he believes Watson's even better now. It might be the best the Tide has ever had. But scouts were still impressed by his command of the offense and ability to move the team against a good Buckeyes defense.
"We have these slow starts, but the Tide rolled in the end", she said. "Goons. Monsters. Beasts. Some caged animals".
There were plenty of other teams that managed to cram themselves into the gap between Clemson and the top spot when it did widen.
Swinney said his Tigers were impacted in 2015 by 10 consecutive weeks of grueling football from late September until the Atlantic Coast Conference title game in early December.
Almost a year after playing Watson on Alabama's scout team prior to last year's national championship game, Hurts has put up solid numbers of his own. Students who are chosen to receive a ticket will be refunded after they pick up their ticket in Tampa.
Mike Williams, arguably the nation's top National Football League receiving prospect, was recovering from a neck injury and deep threat Deon Cain was suspended. "He's a good coach and he has brought this team so far and I think we are going to win it". In all honesty, the Tigers shocked most of the country last season and almost did the unthinkable but a few mental errors and along with the disadvantage of the playing against arguably the greatest coach in college football history was just a hair too much for the orange and white.
The Crimson Tide, led by star quarterback Jalen Hurts and head coach Nick Saban, are pursuing their second-straight national title. "We are hoping that the fans are just as intense and just as excited".
At Clemson, that means replacing the right players with the right prospects.
All that's great, and Swinney is not trying to take anything away from Hurts' breakout season. "I apologize for that, and I shook hands with him after the game".
"On the day of the game past year you could find tickets for less than $100".
So, yes, this rematch has the potential to be another shootout, but it seems more likely to be a grind and a grudge match.
"He's got a ton of experience", Swinney said of Hurts. "But we have not been able to win it all".