The Clemson Tigers completed the first 15-0 campaign in FBS history on Monday night with a 44-16 shellacking of the Alabama Crimson Tide (14-1) as five-point underdogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Alabama entered the NCAA title game as the defending champion but lost to Clemson for the second time in three years. The Crimson Tide return Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa under center and are listed as the +250 second choice to win it all. Tagovailoa struggled against the Tigers after recovering from ankle surgery, throwing two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown within the first two minutes.
While Tagovailoa will be one of the favorites on the Heisman Trophy odds in 2019 as a junior, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be the one to beat despite being just a sophomore following his incredible performance in the national title game.
Lawrence threw for 347 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, and he will have a lot of help returning on offense too with running back Travis Etienne and wide receiver Justyn Ross. Etienne scored a school-record 26 touchdowns and rushed for 1,658 yards as a sophomore while the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Ross had six catches for 153 yards with one touchdown versus the Tide to finish with 1,000 yards as a freshman.
The Tigers are not expected to have much competition in the ACC again next season, as the Miami Hurricanes (+2500 to win the 2020 national championship) and Florida State Seminoles (+4000) are the only other schools from the conference on the board at sports betting sites that appear to have a shot at knocking them off.
The same cannot be said for Alabama in the SEC, with the Georgia Bulldogs the third choice to win it all at +550 followed by the Auburn Tigers (+2500), LSU Tigers (+3000) and Florida Gators (+4000).
The Big Ten has been a major disappointment in the CFP since the Ohio State Buckeyes won the NCAA title four years ago, but they have three schools in the mix to take home the championship next season. The Buckeyes - without head coach Urban Meyer - and Penn State Nittany Lions are both +1200 while the Michigan Wolverines are +1400 as they continue to chase their first title under head coach Jim Harbaugh.