Ebb Tide: Clemson Claims CFP Championship in Epic Smackdown

Published on 8-Jan-2019 by Alan Adamsson

Football - NCAA    NCAA Football Daily Update

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Ebb Tide: Clemson Claims CFP Championship in Epic Smackdown

The ominous signs were there during the second half of Alabama's CFP semi-final victory over Oklahoma.

In retrospect, it seems like the Crimson Tide might not have been just dicking around after heading into halftime with a 31-10 lead.

After that, the Sooners scored on all four of their possessions, notching a field goal and following with three TD drives.


Clemson already had a high-octane attack, but it's odds-on they took a hard look at that game video and noted what was working.

What they discovered and implemented -- on both sides of the ball, really -- was enough to put together a play that covered a hella lotta winter vacations.


Few knew how much of a lock until Tiger DB AJ Terrell jumped a route from his zone assignment -- that Tide slinger Tua Tagovailoa misread as man coverage -- and pick-sixed it to set the tone.

When the music was over, Clemson had waltzed away with their second CFP title in three years after their 44-16 nuclear blast of a thrashing that rattled college football's landscape:


That was the worst patootie-pounding a Nick Saban team's suffered since 2007.

That it came from one of his studied admirers could be considered a compliment, but it won't make the feeling go away.

Dabo Sweeney had his crew so prepared for this game, actually playing it must've been an afterthought.


One obvious factor in the Sooners' and Tigers' comes down to signing days every winter.

The glory boys they recruit at ball-possession positions get all the ink, just as they do in highlight clips, but the dudes up front were spectacular. Halftime adjustments in the semi-final put Oklahoma back in that game, and with Trevor Lawrence's laser-precise talent, neither Alabama nor anyone else could stop them consistently.


They're hard to miss during a game. Or get around.

They're also why sensations like Lawrence and Alabama native Justyn Ross have the extra seconds to belie their years out there.


It's hard to believe they're just freshmen who've hardly had the time to learn the ways and shortcuts of surviving college.


Going 15-0 for the season puts Clemson right up there in the annals of achievement with those 1897 Penn Quakers, too.

Their 2019 schedule features Texas A&M in Death Valley East during Week 2. With depth in the trenches and their young playmakers at the ready, if the Tigers race past the Aggies, it'd take an upset to curtail their streak.There'll be possible speed bumps at North Carolina State and Syracuse, but they've gotta like their chances.

Odds are the Crimson Tide will be their biggest fans. They'll surely be circling calendars for a Round 5 next January.