Pine Whispers

College Football Playoffs

Charlie Mensh, Staff Writer

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By Charlie Mensh

The college football season came to an end on January 7th in a way most of us did not expect. The game was played between Clemson and Alabama as they matched up for the 4th time against one another in the past 4 years. Alabama went into the game as strong favorites that posed as a dominant force all year. Both teams were undefeated, yet one of them was to break that streak by the end of the night.

         Clemson was the expected underdog, not only because they were playing Alabama, but also because they were riding the arm of a true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence won the starting position mid year and people doubted that he could perform against what was known to be an unbreakable Alabama defense.

       One of those variables had to prevail over the other and that turned out to be in favor of Trevor Lawrence. The Alabama defense got absolutely shredded by Lawrence all night on his way to going 20 for 32 passing, 347 yards and adding 3 more touchdowns. Lawrence’s poise and ability to make big time throws were evident all night as the defense stood no chance.

      On the other side of the ball Alabama’s offense, which pounded everyone all year, was shut down by a Clemson defense that people doubted all year. The Crimson Tide offense, led by Tua Tagovailoa, were pointing up numbers that people just don’t put up. It seemed to be a force that wouldn’t be stopped.

     That thought was quickly shut down after a first drive pick-six for the Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen which led to more mistakes by Bama and one more interception to finish off the night. Alabama was moving the ball all night but could never capitalize scoring touchdowns. It was the first time all year that Alabama looked like the inferior team on the field.

      On top of this, there was one play that stood out to everyone watching. Alabama had the ball around Clemson’s 20 yardline, 4th down and 6. Instead of going for it, or even kicking a field goal, they elected to do a fake field goal that from the beginning, had no chance of working at all. This play changed the game and absolutely put Alabama’s chances of winning away for the remainder of the game.

        The numerous third down conversions, the outstanding wide receiver play, and suffocating defensive play, all led the dismantling of Alabama. Clemson poured it on and came out on top 44-16. No one saw this coming, not even the bookies in Vegas, as they had Alabama as marginal favorites.

         The pure domination of both schools is evident. They have made every playoff while it’s been around since 2014-2015  and they have played each other in the national championship multiple times. Alabama is 1-2 against clemson and 40-1 against everyone else. It’s safe to say Clemson is Alabama’s kryptonite. Clemson is the first team since 1897 to go undefeated since Penn did it over 100 years ago.

      No one expects this rivalry to go away as these two teams bring in the best players every year and also return most of their best players for next year’s season. In all likelihood we will see this same matchup in next year’s championship. For now, Clemson has Alabama’s number but we will see how Alabama responds heading into next year.

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College Football Playoffs