For the last decade, there hasn’t been an argument on the premier program in college football. Since head coach Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa back in 2007, the Alabama Crimson Tide have scored 6,006 points (fifth-most in college football) and scored 3,622 more points than their opponents. No other team in the country is even close.
Sure, Alabama’s lost a few games along the way, but there hasn’t been a regular challenger year after year. Until now.
The Clemson Tigers rose to the top of the college football world in recent years. They’ve defeated Alabama in two of the last four College Football Playoff national championship games, which culminated with Clemson’s 44-16 dismantling of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Tide to end the 2018 season.
Clemson and head coach Dabo Swinney are turning everyone away from the past and into the future. That even includes a man who wrote the book My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football.
ESPN and SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum is the Southeastern Conference’s biggest promoter and, despite the fact he’s a Tennessee alum, has heralded the University of Alabama as the nation’s best team year after year.
During his weekly appearance on WFNZ Radio, Finebaum declared that Clemson has finally surpassed Alabama, citing numerous reasons.
“I think anyone realistic has to say that Nick Saban should be regarded as the No. 1 coach in the country with six national championships, however I do the think debate is pretty healthy about which program is the best right now.
“You guys know my resume and where I’ve lived (30 years in Alabama), but I don’t think there’s really a tremendous amount of debate that Clemson, right now, has the best program in America.
“It has passed Alabama in terms of appeal, showroom value and upward mobility. A lot of that is because of Saban’s age and a lot of that is because Clemson is a lot more fun to go play at than the University of Alabama.”
— Paul Finebaum, h/t WFNZ Radio
The tale of the tape reveals Finebaum couldn’t be more right.
After a verbal commitment from the No. 1 high school quarterback in the country — St. John Bosco’s D.J. Uiagalelei — Clemson already has four five-star commitments for the 2020 college football season. That includes arguably the best player in the country, defensive tackle Bryan Bresee.
LSU is the only other program with two such commitments, while Alabama has just one.
On the field, Clemson just finished the first 15-0 season in over 100 years thanks to the rise of quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Last season, the Tigers ranked No. 4 in scoring offense (44.3 points per game), No. 3 in total offense (527.2 yards per game), No. 5 in total defense (285.9 yards allowed), and were No. 1 in scoring defense allowing only 13.1 points per game.
There’s a new dynasty in college football. And with Dabo Swinney’s fresh 10-year contract, it doesn’t look like the orange and white will be going away any time soon.
Sorry Alabama fans, but for now, there’s a new king of the hill.