“What did we learn Palmer?”
This was one of the final lines in the film “Burn After Reading.” It’s always been one of my favorite closing scenes in film and about 24 hours after a great National Championship game, it’s a question that deserves answering. These are three things we learned after the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Alabama Is Mortal
When you look at the Alabama Crimson Tide over the last several seasons, they look like an unbeatable monster. Over the last five seasons, the Tide has only lost eight games and three of those were in the postseason. Simply put, Alabama has looked incredible, especially after the loss to Ole Miss early in the 2015 season. This season was not different with many people saying that this may be one of the best defenses in the history of college football.
However, they did have one weakness and that was on the secondary. They allowed almost 200 yards a game this season and were shredded by Ole Miss earlier this season for 400 yards. If not for the Rebels inability to keep momentum rolling all season long, we could be talking about a different national title game. Coach Dabo Swinney watched the film from the Alabama-Washington game and saw how he could get after that aspect of their defense. It worked as Clemson had 420 yards through the air and three touchdowns. They dominated the secondary and that was a big reason why the Tigers from South Carolina walked out of Raymond James Stadium with the trophy.
Clemsoning Isn’t a Thing Anymore
Over the last few seasons for Clemson, there’s been one word associated with the program under Dabo Swinney. That word is Clemsoning. Last year, it seemed like this team would finally get out from under that word, but Alabama was able to fight back in the final quarter and win the trophy once again. In fact, Swinney put together a great rant early on last season that attested that it’s never been a part of the narrative. However, that word has died a very slow death over the course of the 2016 season with wins over Florida and Louisville. The final nail in the coffin for Clemsoning came in the final two minutes in the Alabama game.
DeShaun Watson Is a High Level Draft Pick
One of the biggest points of emphasis when NFL franchises want in a quarterback is being good in the clutch. Watson has that ability if you look back to earlier in the season at the Florida State and Louisville games. Both were big games where Clemson was down in the fourth quarter and Watson was able to come away with a big win over two solid teams. Because of that, it was in my opinion that Watson deserved this year’s Heisman Trophy. The game on Monday night wound up making it clear to NFL scouts and the average fans of football stand up and take notice. With two minutes left, the Tigers got the ball back and all six plays that Clemson had were pass plays. Basically, Watson put the team on his back when it matters most and got the win over the Crimson Tide dynasty.
Why am I saying he is a high level draft pick? The biggest reason why is because I’m not sure who will absolutely need a QB. The pundits are starting to say Cleveland, but one of their biggest weaknesses has to be on the defensive side and Myles Garrett could be a serviceable number one pick for the Browns. He deserves to be picked up by a team in the first round and has an ability to be a starter for several NFL teams.