SANTA CLARA, Ca.--(Here are 5 reasons why we said Clemson would win the national championship by beating Alabama on Monday night) BEFORE the two teams met in Levi's Stadium.
1. BETTER QB
Take chill pills, Alabama bans. Yes, we know Tua Tagliovaila won a national championship game for the Tide as a freshman last season in Atlanta. Yes, we know that he has second in the Heisman Trophy voting in this season and that Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence didn't even start until the 5th game of the season against Syracuse and was knocked out of the game early with an injury.
But we're talking about where the are now and that the upside for both QB's is in the future. Lawrence is healthy, Tua is not, still dealing with a high ankle sprain he suffered in the SEC title game against. Lawrence has classic QB size 6-foot-6 inches, 215 pounds. Tua is slightly smaller at 6-1, 218 pounds.
We may be nitpicking, but we have to find ways Clemson can win, don't we?
NITPICKING? Lawrence was the clear winner and the game's MVP
2.-- CLEMSON OWNS THE SEC
In the College Football Era (the last four seasons) Clemson is 8-1 vs. SEC competition, including 7 of its last 8. It is 1-1 against the Tide in national championship games, but in its 2016 national championship season, Clemson beat SEC opponents 3 times. Clemson has already beaten Texas A&M and South Carolina this season, a win over Alabama will again establish the Tigers dominance over the SEC.
The record is now 9-1,8 of the last 9.
3. CLEMSON HAS A BETTER DEFENSE
Let's look at some numbers. In the Tide's last two wins, over Georgia in the SEC title game and Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, the Tide offense has allowed a total of 961 yards and given up 62 points. In Clemson's last two wins against Pitt in the ACC title game and Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl, the Tigers have allowed only 441 total yards and 13 points.
Even without defensive end Dexter Lawrence, Clemson has a huge edge.
Tua couldn't get things, going, the Tide offense never rolled and Clemson DIDN"T even need Lawrence. The Tigers shredded the Tide defense for another 482 yards on Monday.
IT'S CLEMSON'S TIME
Maybe the Tigers should play the classic song "Turn, Turn, Turn'' by the Byrds before the game.
Every dynasty eventually must stop climbing and head in the opposite direction. We're not saying Alabama has reached that point.
Clemson is the right team, in the right place at the right time to move up one more notch. And here's a clue to look for: Watch out for Clemson RB Travis Etienne, who may be the sleeper star of the game.
Yes, yes, yes And YES about Etienne, who scored 3 Tds and was largely responsible for Clemson's 31-16 halftime lead.
The last Clemson team to finish the season unbeaten AND win the national championship, was the 1981 Clemson team which beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. That team was coached By a former Alabama player named Danny Ford.
This year's team is coached by Dabo Swinney, a former Alabama player.
Ford's first official game as a head coach was in the 1978 Gator Bowl, where he had replaced Charlie Pell, who resigned to take the head job at Florida.
Swinney's first official game as the head coach of the Tigers was in the 2008 Gator Bowl, where he replaced a Tommy Bowden, who had resigned midway through the season. Swinney served as an interim coach before being officially named the head coach before the Gator Bowl, just as Ford had 30 years earlier.
Clemson 31, Alabama 27
Were we wrong?
Final Score Clemson 44, Alabama 16.