With Rout Of Alabama, Clemson Becoming College Football Dynasty
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
While his name may not be mentioned among the greatest college football coaches of all time, Dabo Swinney is certainly on his way to being included in that fraternity. After the Clemson Tigers whooping of the Crimson Tide of Alabama (44-16) in the CFP National Championship Monday night Coach Swinney improved his head coaching record to 116-30 in his 11 years on the sidelines. That is better than 80 percent in the win column.
At his current pace Swinney will soon be talked about like Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Bobby Bowden, and his modern day contemporary Nick Saban. Since the College Football Playoffs series began four years ago only two teams have hoisted the trophy, with Alabama under Saban and Clemson under Swinney now claiming two championships apiece.
The two titles for Clemson couldn't have been any different. The first on a last second touchdown and the most recent championship a lop-sided victory over one of the most storied programs in college sports history. When Clemson celebrated in 2017 after the 2016 season, it was a walk on wide receiver named Hunter Renfrow who provided the late game heroics, giving the Tigers something they hadn't enjoyed in over 35 years.
The matchup Monday night between Clemson and Alabama couldn't have been more hyped. Both teams entered the contest with identical 14-0 records, with Las Vegas and most sports prognosticators giving the Crimson Tide a slight advantage. By halftime with Clemson up by two touchdowns and Alabama looking decidedly mismatched it was clear something was in the northern California air that night.
Not only did Clemson outplay and out-perform Saban and the mighty Crimson Tide, they did it by playing football with finesse. Clemson's receivers caught balls that should have been dropped. Their freshman quarterback phenom Trevor Lawrence made throws that rivaled NFL greats. Their defense hurried Bama's star QB Tua Tagovailaoa, allowing for two interceptions, perfectly timed sacks, near fumbles, and a botched field goal attempt in hope of a first down that turned the ball over to Clemson.
In retrospect it was as perfect a game for the Clemson Tigers in the 100 plus years of Clemson football. Their win in 2019 eclipses their championship win in 1981 and their win two seasons ago over Alabama. Since 2012 Clemson has lost only twice in post season bowl games. Their first loss came in 2015 in the title contest against Alabama and they lost last year to Alabama in the first round when the Crimson Tide were ranked No# 1 and the Tigers were the four seed.
The championship game this past Monday night (Jan 7) proved the Clemson Tigers are an elite team, and Dabo Swinney is well on his way to becoming one of the all time greats in college football. Over the past seven seasons Clemson has beaten the likes of Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU and Notre Dame in the post season. Many would agree they are the best of the best in the history of the game. For Clemson fans and sports writers it's time to start using the 'D' word. Clemson has become a dynasty in college football.
More amazing than their run of wins and championships since Swinney took over the program in 2008 is the continued humble nature of their leader. As he's done over his career as both a head coach and an assistant Swinney gives God the glory and beyond that just applauds his players. His post game comments on Monday echoed his true self. "I know we're not supposed to be here, and I'm not supposed to be here, but we are, and I am, and how about them Tigers, man? I'm so proud of our guys."
With most of the offensive unit returning for the 2019 season, including Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne, and all of their receivers except Renfrow, it appears the Clemson Tigers will be one of or perhaps the favorite to repeat as national champs. It's clear God is smiling down on Death Valley. The only unknown is when will Lawrence pick up the first Heisman Trophy for Clemson. Relax Tiger fans, it's only seven months to college football season.