Alabama faces Clemson in the College Football National Championship

An in-depth look on one of the most exciting games of the year


via CreativeCommons/CarolinaPhotography

Clemson Football playing at home

Alex Young, Editor

If you really think about it, it is all because of the AP Poll. When the NCAA college football season begins, the Associated Press, also known as the AP, publishes a ranking of the top college teams in the nation based on the prior season. From there on out, the AP Poll standings change every week depending on what teams win, lose, or play better than the rest. At the end of every season, the top four teams in the standings move on to the College Football Playoff. In the playoff, the first seed plays the fourth seed, and the second seed plays the third seed. The winners then move on to play in the National Championship.

The four teams that earned the right to play in the College Football Playoff this year are 1 Alabama, 2 Ohio State, 3 Clemson, and 4 Washington. Although every year people debate on what teams actually deserve a playoff spot, the AP was firm on their decision on who earned what rank.

On this past New Year’s Eve, 1 Alabama met 4 Washington in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. The winner of that was to move on to the National Championship. Alabama, who had been the number one seed the whole season, steamrolled Washington by a score of 24-7. Washington scored on their first drive of the game, but from there on out were held to 0 by Alabama’s defense. Later that night, 2 Ohio State battled 3 Clemson in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. In a huge surprise, Clemson shutout Ohio State 31-0 by lead of the Heisman Trophy runner-up, Deshaun Watson. This monumental victory means that 3 Clemson is to meet 1 Alabama in the National Championship.

Oddly enough, the National Championship this year is a rematch of the National Championship from last year. In that game, Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide just barely edged out Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers by a score of 45-40 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. Last year Clemson was ranked number one, higher than Alabama, but the “tides” have turned this year. Alabama has 14 wins and no loses the year to Clemson’s 13 wins and one loss. Although Clemson had a stellar defensive performance against Ohio State, their offense is arguably one of the best in the nation. This year, the Clemson Tigers have scored an average of 39 points every game. On the flip side, Alabama’s defense, ranked at number one in the country, has only allowed an average of 12 points per game to opposing offenses, on top of their already dominant offense.

Here at Battlefield, college football fans seem to be split right down the middle on who they want to hold up the trophy. Sophomore Hunter Key says “I want Clemson to win because I’m a Clemson fan. Plus, Alabama’s offensive coordinator is leaving.” Key referred to Lane Kiffen, the former offensive coordinator of Alabama. After leading them all the way to the National Championship, Kiffen stepped down to accept a head coaching role at Florida Atlantic University. Kiffen’s departure from the University of Alabama is highly controversial, with details on that to most likely come out in the near future. Jake Hitt agrees with Key by saying ‘I like Alabama’s defense, and in fact, they used to be my favorite team. Over the years though I have kind of lost the feel for them, so I’m rooting for Clemson. It would be good to see the underdog win.” On the the other hand, Senior Jed Osei says “Roll Tide. I like UNC but I want Alabama to win.” Osei also adds that he thinks the controversial AP Poll is “just fine because it shows which teams are the best or are getting better along with keeping up with the records,” which Key and Hitt agreed with.

The two football programs are set to meet Monday, January 9 at 8:00 PM at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. With Clemson seeking revenge from last year’s loss, it is most likely set to be an instant-classic.