Defining an Era

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There is no question that the Alabama Crimson Tide are the best team in college football and have been for the better part of this decade.

Ever since Nick Saban came to Tuscaloosa, they have been one of the most feared teams in the country.

They continue to win and have been ranked #1 more than any other team during that time while taking five national championships.

They dominated the BCS and were a major reason for the NCAA to rethink their system to bring in the College Football Playoff.

That didn’t slow them down though as they have been the only team to enter the playoff in every single year.

Out of those four years, they took two titles while also returning this year to play for their third in the CFP era.

That dominance has helped them recruit better than anyone and it has only helped them stay on top.

When the preseason rankings come out it is a shock not to see Alabama on top and if they aren’t on top they likely will make an appearance at some point in the year.

So it was no surprise to see them in the National Championship this year as Saban looked for his seventh total National Championship putting him ahead of legendary coach Bear Bryant.

The only problem for the Tide is that a few years ago they had found the thorn in their side, because what is a dynasty without a major rival?

Not many teams have been able to regularly give the Tide a challenge but in 2016 a team announced their arrival.

The Clemson Tigers looked just as good as Alabama that year and found their way to the National Championship.

They would take on a very tough Tide team and put up a fight all the way through the game.

Unfortunately, they seemed to be thrown onto the heap with the other teams that had tried and failed to unseat Alabama.

They lost that game 45-40 but little did anyone know, that 2016 title game was the beginning of the rivalry that has come to define the CFP era so far.

Clemson returned to the title game a year later and unseated the Tide with a 35-31 thriller that handed the Tigers only their second National Title.

The Tigers were now on top of the league as Dabo Swinney had bested the best coach in the country.

A year later the matchup was back although this time it was in the semifinal rather than the title game.

The Tigers didn’t have much for the Tide at that point as they took a convincing loss to the Tide who had taken the rubber match.

Coming into this new season it seemed like everyone was going to get a fourth game in the series as both teams seemed to only have gotten better.

The Tide had a newfound offence led by a Heisman candidate while the Tigers were bringing back a full defensive line that would include some of the best prospects in the country.

They spent most of the season as the #1 and #2 teams in the country and proved it as they got to their tougher games.

In the semifinals, both teams crushed their opposition proving that the committee had made the right decision in their rankings.

It was going to be a clash of the two best programs in the country and a clash of the two best programs of the past four years.football-sidebar

The game would also establish the rivalry that has defined this new era as the Tigers had another chance to prove they can hang with the mighty Tide.

It was game that looked to be a shootout that was going to show the evolution of the sport to the offensive showcase it has become.

Quickly though the Tigers began to prove that their offence was the better offence on this particular day.

Behind the arm of true freshman, Trevor Lawrence, the Tigers continued to pile on the scoreboard against a team that has been known for their defence since Saban took over.

The Tide’s newfound offence was nowhere to be seen as Tua Tagovailoa struggled, throwing two interceptions and looking like he was trying to force the ball into bad areas.

The Tigers’ defence took advantage of the mistakes and gave Clemson the chance to showcase what makes them great.

The balance between Lawrence and Etienne had Alabama unsure of themselves and in the end, it was their downfall.

Clemson took the convincing win to claim their second title in three years and officially establish a rivalry to define an era.

The Clemson win is far for the end though as the series is now 2-2 and with young star leading the way for both teams they could be even better next year.

Don’t expect this rivalry to go away anytime soon as both could very well be back a year from now playing their fifth game and continuing to put their stamp on the playoff.

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