The start of the 2017 college football season is just over two months away, and a handful of teams are expecting to compete for a national title.
However, USA Today columnist Dan Wolken believes the national championship game will look eerily similar to the last two season’s games between Alabama and Clemson.
Picking Alabama to make the national title game isn’t very surprising. The Crimson Tide have played in the last two title games, and they’ve made the playoffs all three years. Nick Saban has won four national titles during his tenure at Alabama.
But the Clemson pick by Wolken will definitely turn a few heads. The Tigers lost quarterback Deshaun Watson, running back Wayne Gallman, wide receiver Mike Williams, and linebacker Ben Boulware to the NFL after last season.
The Tigers do return plenty of talent on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and Wolken thinks that will help them win the ACC and make the playoffs again.
Dabo Swinney has turned Clemson into an annual national title contender, but it is fair to ask if they can still be a playoff team after having to replace a star QB like Watson, who was a first round pick (No. 12) to the Houston Texans in the 2017 NFL draft.
Swinney has led Clemson to six straight 10-win seasons, including the two national championship games appearances in the last two seasons. If the Tigers make it three straight trips next season, it would be the most impressive accomplishment of Swinney’s young career.