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December 2019
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Tonight, the College Football season ends the way it has the past 3 of 4 years, #1 Alabama playing #2 Clemson


The site, Levi Stadium home of the 49ers 2014 photo By Jim Bahn, CC BY 2.0, https


Some college football fans and media wonder why the same teams are always in the Playoffs and why can’t there be a limit to times in a row being in the 2-game system.

I don’t know if rules for that would be fair or not, but it is abundantly clear that Alabama and Clemson have been the top two teams every year and have played three out of the past four title games.

Both teams come in at 14-0 for the season.

The Crimson Tide won 45-40 in 2016, and 26-23 in overtime in 2017. The Tigers pulled the upset in 2017, 35-31.

Tonight, they meet again as the number 1 and 2 teams respectively.

#1 Alabama has been the dominant team since Nick Saban took over at the Tuscaloosa school. They are poised to win their third national title in four years and sixth since 2009. That is a decade of constant dominance in college football.

QB Tua Tagovailoa in action (courtesy

The Tide running attack sometimes gets overlooked due to their all-star wide receiving corps. They use three running backs, led by The Harris’ Damien and Najee. They usually can find holes in any defense even Clemson’s.

QB Tua Tagovailoa can pick apart the best o defenses and if the Tigers can’t pressure him, it will be a long night and a rout. Backup Jalen Hurts may see time behind center as well.

The Tide’s receiving corps of Henry Ruggs III, Derek Kief, Jerry Jeudy and Davonta Smith are all fast, athletic, elusive and physical.

Alabama’s defense is tough, being 16th in the country in yards allowed per carry. But their pass defense can be vulnerable at times.

#2 Clemson, under 11th-year head coach Dabo Swinney (115-30), are making their fourth straight playoff appearance, third championship game in four years. The team just gets better and better every year and is all alone as the benchmark school in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Their defense is one of the nation’s best and is fast, talented and athletic. It begins with their front four, no doubt the best in the country. They have allowed opponents only 2.4 yards per carry and 93 yards per game. Their secondary can struggle at times. That is probably the only weak part of the team overall.

That fact that Clemson is back in this game is a story in itself.

During the early schedule of games in September, Swinney showed he is willing to gamble especially with his offense. He replaced the athletic Kelly Bryant with true freshman, Trevor Lawrence. Fans and media questioned him but what can you say about a coach who repeatedly has his team in the college playoffs and national championship game plus, 54 wins in four years. Impressive!

He made the move to jump-start at offense that sputtered at times under the erratic Bryant. He wanted Lawrence, who at 6’6, 215 pounds, has the size and skills that the NFL wants and watching closely. After he took over, the Tigers offense rolled as he was a consistent, steady performer providing a school record for touchdowns with 24  and and just 4 interceptions. They became formidable. Lawrence also got help in the backfield from RB Travis Etienne.

Trevor Lawrence (courtesy Clemson Sports Information)

Etienne has piled up 1,463 yards, 8.31 per carry and 21 touchdowns.
Tonight’s game is a tossup! No clear edge as the team’s are evenly matched. Probably will come down to a mistake or a field goal at the end.

Championship game

Cities around the country bid to host each year’s championship game. The playoff group’s leaders make a selection from those proposals, in a similar fashion to other large sporting events, such as the Super Bowl or NCAA Final Four. Officials say the championship game will be held in a different city each year, and that bids must propose host stadiums with a capacity of at least 65,000 spectators.[58] Under the system, cities cannot host both a semifinal game and the title game in the same year.


Season Champion Runner-up Score Venue
2014–15 4 Ohio State (13-1) 2 Oregon (13–1) 42–20 AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
2015–16 2 Alabama (13–1) 1 Clemson (14–0) 45–40 University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
2016–17 2 Clemson (13–1) 1 Alabama (14–0) 35–31 Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
2017–18 4 Alabama (12–1) 3 Georgia (13–1) 26–23 OT Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
2018–19 1 Alabama (14–0) vs 2 Clemson (14–0) TBD Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
2019–20 Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
2020–21 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
2021–22 Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
2022–23 Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, Inglewood, California
2023–24 NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas



For the list of College Football Playoff New Year’s Six Bowl Appearances, see College Football Playoff New Year’s Six.
For the list of College Football Playoff National Champions, see College Football Playoff National Championship.

College Football Playoff appearances by team

Teams that have won the College Football Playoff

Appearances Team W L Pct Games
5 Alabama 6 2 .750 Lost 2015 Sugar Bowl

Won 2015 Cotton Bowl (Dec. 2015)
Won 2016 CFP National Championship

Won 2016 Peach Bowl
Lost 2017 CFP National Championship

Won 2018 Sugar Bowl
Won 2018 CFP National Championship

Won 2018 Orange Bowl (Dec. 2018)

4 Clemson 4 2 .667 Won 2015 Orange Bowl
Lost 2016 CFP National Championship

Won 2016 Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 2016)
Won 2017 CFP National Championship

Lost 2018 Sugar Bowl

Won 2018 Cotton Bowl (Dec. 2018)

3 Oklahoma 0 3 .000 Lost 2015 Orange Bowl

Lost 2018 Rose Bowl

Lost 2018 Orange Bowl (Dec. 2018)

2 Ohio State 2 1 .667 Won 2015 Sugar Bowl
Won 2015 CFP National Championship

Lost 2016 Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 2016)

1 Georgia 1 1 .500 Won 2018 Rose Bowl
Lost 2018 CFP National Championship
1 Oregon 1 1 .500 Won 2015 Rose Bowl
Lost 2015 CFP National Championship
1 Florida State 0 1 .000 Lost 2015 Rose Bowl
1 Michigan State 0 1 .000 Lost 2015 Cotton Bowl (Dec. 2015)
1 Notre Dame 0 1 .000 Lost 2018 Cotton Bowl (Dec. 2018)
1 Washington 0 1 .000 Lost 2016 Peach Bowl

College Football Playoff appearances by conference

Conference Appearances W L Pct Championships # of teams Teams(s)
SEC 6 7 3 .700 2 2 Alabama (5)
Georgia (1)
ACC 5 4 3 .571 1 2 Clemson (4)
Florida State (1)
Big Ten 3 2 2 .500 1 2 Ohio State (2)
Michigan State (1)
Big 12 3 0 3 .000 0 1 Oklahoma (3)
Pac-12 2 1 2 .333 0 2 Oregon (1)
Washington (1)
FBS Independents 1 0 1 .000 0 1 Notre Dame (1)

The 2018 Championship Game featured SEC teams Alabama and Georgia. The SEC has a record of 6–2 (.750) in games against other conferences.