Alabama won the 2017 national championship by defeating Georgia in the College Football Playoff finals. The victory also led to Alabama holding the No. 1 spot in ESPN’s rankings for the 2018 season, but that is something the Crimson Tide no longer hold, as Clemson has now taken the No. 1 spot after some major NFL Draft decisions.
Clemson got some great news last week when coach Dabo Swinney announced at a banquet that several draft-eligible juniors would be returning in Austin Bryannt, Kendall Joseph, Clelin Ferrell and Mark Fields. That left Christian Wilkins to make a decision and he will be coming back for a senior season as well despite the fact he likely would have gone in the first round of this NFL Draft.
The Tigers had the No. 2 scoring defense, No. 4 in passing defense and No. 4 total defense this past season. They had the most sacks on defense as well as the sixth-most tackles for loss in the country. Returning those guys with Dexter Lawrence getting another year under his belt will only help this team become even more dominant on defense, and having that to fall back on should help the offense develop no matter who the quarterback might be next season.
Alabama, of course, has had no problems reloading in recent years, so being at No. 2 shouldn’t be a big issue for Crimson Tide fans right now. At the very least, the chance to take on Clemson for the fourth consecutive year in the College Football Playoff should be something that everyone should look forward to.