And then, there were…NONE! No college football FBS school was able to get through the 2015 season undefeated. Clemson came the closest but, last night, fell five points short as they were defeated by Alabama, 45-40, in the National Championship game .
Say what you want about the Tide and head coach Nick Saban…they have won consistently and now boast four national championships in the past seven years. During that time period, Alabama’s record is 86-10. Saban now trails just the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant by one in number of total national championships. He won one title when he was at LSU and the other four at Alabama. Saban is now tied with Bernie Bierman (Minnesota) and Howard Jones (Yale and USC), each with five college football titles.
No one can say that the game, hosted by Glendale, Arizona, was not exciting. The teams scored a total of 85 points. Clemson actually had more total yards, 550 to 473, but Alabama did not have one, single turnover. Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, joins Tony Dorsett as the only Heisman winners to also win the national championship in the same year.
So, now, the question is: will the Crimson Tide be able to repeat in 2016? The Tide has a tough opener as they face Southern California on September 3. They have road games against Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee; plus they open the month of November on the road at LSU and then hosting Mississippi State. How much will Saban have to reload in order to contend again? He will definitely have to replace his QB, Jacob Coker and RB Kenyan Drake, both of whom are seniors. Henry is a junior but he will most definitely enter the NFL draft…he has nothing more to prove.
As for Dabo Swinney and Clemson, they look like they will be back in the playoff hunt again next season. QB Deshaun Watson is only a sophomore, so he will be back, as will CB Mackensie Alexander and RB Wayne Gallman. Hunter Renfrow, the great WR, is only a freshman.
The Tigers’ 2016 schedule looks pretty favorable. Clemson starts the season in Auburn against those Tigers. The only other road game that may give Swinney’s team trouble will be traveling to meet Florida State.
All in all, it looks like the 2016 season will be a repeat of 2015.