4. With a win, is Clemson really the new Alabama?
The thing about being Alabama over the last several years is the assumption.
Right now, without knowing anything about who’s coming back this year, next year, or in 2025, if Nick Saban is still at the helm, you’re automatically going to assume Alabama is awesome and put it in any sort of preseason top three.
So in that way, Clemson is already here.
It’s not fair to either program. Alabama won five national titles in ten years under Nick Saban, played in two other national championship games, and came within a few historic moments of going to a few others. And yeah, there is a difference between doing this against an SEC schedule and with the slate that Clemson has enjoyed.
On the other side, it’s not fair to Clemson. It beat Alabama in two of the last three College Football Playoffs and split two of the last four. It’s here in the CFP this time around, and Alabama isn’t.
No, it doesn’t have to play the schedule that Alabama does, and it doesn’t have to contend with the SEC West or Big Ten East run. But that doesn’t give the Tigers enough credit for maintaining the mental sharpness to not miss when everyone is bringing the A+, calendar-circle game.
There have been a few misfires here and there, but there haven’t been the season-killing brain-cramp losses like Ohio State suffered against Purdue in 2018 and Iowa in 2017.
Outside of the North Carolina game this year, there hasn’t been so much as a blip for Clemson in terms of overall play, and even if the schedule isn’t that great, it’s used what’s been given to it to improve as the seasons go on.
Yeah, of course a win would make Clemson the king of the college football mountain to win three in four. Forget about being the new Alabama. A win over LSU would make Clemson the new star of the SEC.