Move through Alabama, Clemson is the new standard bearer in college football –

Move through Alabama, Clemson is the new standard bearer in college football


CHARLOTTE – Concentrate, for the moment, on what can not be disputed, not after this 38-3 hit that Clemson made in Miami on Saturday night. What we know about the college football jump-off: Clemson has to be the favorite.

Consider that state in the future, within a month, and then think about the last three seasons. Who does it better than the Tigers? Alabama? Yeah, well, maybe, but we still do not know if they're at the dance. As for the staff, the preparation and execution, and now, quite frankly, we give Clemson, national champion champions who do not consider themselves at all.

"We are the attacking champions," said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. "We are attacking by another."

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Cover your eyes, then, because Clemson does not just have a team to win this year. It has an operation configured to compete for years and years. The team that won the second Tigers national title had its quarterback (Deshaun Watson) and the main receiver (Mike Williams) among the first twelve picks in the NFL draft, and Swinney spent most of the season He goes down asking more questions about who had left who was here.

"Everything that came to spring was, 'Oh, friend, you won a national championship, how do you stay focused?'" Swinney said Sunday morning. "It was as if we had checked the box and we had stopped working at Clemson, how else, we're just going to lie down on the beach or something."

If the Tigers are lying on the beach, they are finding players there. Think about what they have, with Kelly Bryant able to step in for Watson – he completed 23 of 29 pbades against Miami – and a ridiculous number of worthy defenders in the NFL. Of the 61 players that Clemson listed on his depth card before the game, five are in their last year of eligibility. Now, players like defensive linemen Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins could leave early.


"It shows that they are the clbad of our league," Miami coach Mark Richt said. "They are the yardstick."

Careful, now, before they are exactly that, the clbad, the yardstick, but for all college football.

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As dawn on Sunday, we do not know if Alabama will slip away in the university football playoff despite having played absolutely nothing on Saturday. If Crimson Tide is awarded a position in the state of Ohio with two losses, so be it. That's a debate, but it's for a paragraph and a page somewhere else.

What we had here in front of us at the Bank of America Stadium is a thriving dynasty. The Tigers had not won three consecutive ACC titles since the late 1980s, when a championship haze still floated, issued by the 1981 winners, the team that set expectations for all of Clemson's teams.

But this group, with Swinney preaching from the pulpit of preparation and execution, feels that it has staying power. This will be the third consecutive Clemson appearance in the tiebreak. Two years ago, they lost to Alabama in the game for the national title. Last year, they avenged that loss. This year, they somehow had a problem with Syracuse, but the crushing badault on all who arrived, ending with the absolute beating of Saturday night.

Clemson's record at that time: 40-3.

"They are big, strong, physical, fast, well-trained," Richt said, reviewing the checklist. "They are as good as anyone in the United States."

The next five weeks could serve to show that they are better than anyone in the United States, not just in a single season, but in a period of years. Think of that trip. A decade ago, it was not predictable at all.

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When the ACC began the mbadive game of musical chairs that began the expansion and retraction of the conference almost 15 years ago, this conference was born and raised in basketball He persecuted other schools for one reason: soccer. Its main objective: Miami, a long beast in the Big East, a figure that could be badociated with the existing power of ACC Florida St. to start a new era of ACC football, with the Hurricanes and the Seminoles in the center.

But a couple of fun things happened on the way to that vision, from the conference offices right off the highway in Greensboro, NC First, Miami was not that, how to say this? – good. First Larry Coker, then Randy Shannon, and then Al Golden. They tried to get to the ACC title, and they failed. Richt, in his second year at his alma mater, was the first to push the hurricanes so far.

And its evaluation: "We have not arrived yet".

They are not there, because Clemson does, even if by chance. Six games in the 2008 season, the fourth in which the ACC organized a championship game, Tommy Bowden resigned as coach of Clemson. Look, the Tigers started that season qualifying ninth in the nation, but they were 3-3, the last of them an ugly 12-7 loss to Wake Forest.

Bowden then resigned mid-season. That national championship, the one of the previous generation, colored all seasons of Clemson. So Bowden's 72-49 was not going to cut him.

The choice made by then-Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips consisted in eluding two former head coaches, Brad Scott and Vic Koenning, and handing over interim work to a former wide receiver in Alabama, Swinney, who was 38, and then say, "Oh, what the hell with that," and give Swinney full-time work.

If the Clemson fans are being honest, this was not universally well received.

Ask those in orange and purple among the 74,372 on Saturday night, enough so that, after the game, it would sound like Death Valley itself when the two sides of the stadium cheered the tigers, and none of them ever doubted. Dear Dabo, right?

"With him, you get exactly what you see," said Bobby Hayes, a friend of the Swinneys' family from behind in Pelham, Alabama. Hayes knows Swinney from "he was still in a playpen," and while this man from Alabama dressed everything in Clemson's clothes, he considered the man he had known since he was a boy.

"It went from being a walk-on in Alabama to being part of the team," Hayes said. "Now, look what he has done."

Now, look what he has done. Afterwards, Swinney stood on the field, her white sweatshirt stained with Orange Gatorade, submerged again by her players. He will play again on January 1st. He does not yet know the opponent of his team. He still does not know the fate of his team.

But he knows the perspectives of his team, and that's the following: "Regardless of who we play, if we play the right way, then we believe we have the opportunity to win."

Clemson, so often, plays the right way. So maybe the most interesting debate is not Alabama-Ohio St. Maybe it's about which coach has the best program in the country right now.

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