A JERSEY GUY: Another All-SEC CFP National Championship Game
NEW ORLEANS--Just what the CFP didn't need--an all Southeastern Conference national championship game.
You say we are wrong.
It's LSU vs Clemson.
SEC vs. ACC.
And certainly, the folks at the Atlantic Coast Conference have every right to claim Clemson, which celebrated last season (as the picture above between Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and Alabama Coach Nick Saban will verify), as a legitimate conference national champion.
But let's look at the SEC slogan---"It just means more''.
At Clemson, in football, it does.
More than elsewhere in the ACC, at North Carolina State, Boston College, Wake Forest, Louisville, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and, yes, even Florida State, at least for the time being.
How do you qualify to become an "SEC'' school?
You have to start with the feeling you get when you drive into town.
SEC towns like Athens, Georgia, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana have have an immediate link to their schools, which you feel during your entire stay, especially on a college football weekend.
Among the Power 5 conferences, there are only two towns that are directly linked to the schools within their city limits: Auburn, Alabama and....Clemson, South Carolina.
Clemson is different than its ACC brethren.
As one long-time observer of Southern football put it, '"Clemson is one of those towns that you say, Yeah, this could be an SEC town.''
Start with the Tiger paws you see painted on Highway 28 when you come into downtown Clemson.
As former Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Lewis Grizzard once described it, "Clemson is just Auburn with a lake''.
But it's more than just a look, or a feeling. It's an attitude and a resume which lives up to the SEC list of accomplishment which includes:
-13 times in the last 14 seasons and 15 times since 1998 an SEC team has advanced to the national championship game.
-9 times since 2006 an SEC team has won the national championship.
-11 of the previous 21 national championships have been won by SEC teams, including a remarkable stretch from 2006 through 2012 when an SEC team was the national champion.
Does Clemson have those type of credentials?
You be the judge.
If the Tigers beat LSU on Monday night, Clemson will have won three of the LAST four national championships, as well extend their nation's best winning streak to 30 games.
From 2011 through 2019, only Alabama's 113 wins top Clemson's total of 110. The Tide has lost only 12 games during that stretch--two of those losses were to Clemson.
In the last five seasons, no FBS team has topped Clemson's 68-4 record.
Clemson has a streak of nine consecutive 10-win seasons--which trails only Alabama's streak of 12.
Clemson has won five consecutive ACC championships, a period of dominance only matched by Oklahoma in the Big 12.
The Tigers are a touchdown underdog to LSU in Monday's game. But no one will be stunned if Clemson wins another national championship.
If that happens, the folks at the ACC can celebrate, but the gloom in the SEC should be somewhat diminished.
No matter what anyone says, Clemson is also "family.''