No one in college football has dominated the sport like Alabama has in the last decade.
Since Nick Saban took over the program in 2007, the Crimson Tide has won 87 percent of its games, while posting a 132-20 overall record. They have won five national championships and played for another.
It is, without a doubt, the greatest stretch by any team in the history of college football and it does not appear to be ending anytime soon.
However, there is one program that might be in line to knock Alabama off its lofty perch.
Since Dabo Swinney became the permanent head coach at Clemson in 2009, the Tigers have had a large amount of success, including being the only program to beat Saban’s Alabama squad in a national championship game.
We all know the success Swinney has had at Clemson. In his nine full seasons as head coach there, the Tigers have won 78.2 percent of their games, while posting a 97-27 overall record. They have played in the College Football Playoff three straight years, won the 2016 National Championship by beating Alabama and played Alabama to the wire for the 2015 National Championship.
Clemson has recorded seven straight 10-win seasons, the only program not named Alabama that can make that claim. Alabama has recorded 10 straight 10-win seasons.
The list of accomplishments can go on and on. We all know what Swinney has done to make Clemson a national power.
However, can Clemson become the next great dynasty in college football?
I don’t know if it can reach the lofty status that Saban built at Alabama, but is the Clemson program the next big thing? Is it the modern era’s Florida State?
Remember when Bobby Bowden built the Seminoles into the greatest winning machine the game had ever seen from 1987-2001? Florida State won a couple of national championships and for 15 straight years finished inside the Associated Press’ top 5 … still the longest streak in the history of college football.
As you look at what Swinney has accomplished at Clemson, he is already ahead of the pace Bowden established at FSU. It took Bowden 17 years to win his first national title, while Swinney did it in his eighth season.
The Tigers streak of 10-win seasons began in Swinney’s third year. Swinney already has three top five finishes in his career and more is sure to follow.
What has happened in the past is not the only way you measure a program. You also measure it by what the future looks like. Right now, the future seems bright at Clemson.
Swinney and his coaching staff just signed another top 10 recruiting class. Recruiting efforts for the 2019 Class seem to be headed in the same direction. The Allen Reeves Football Complex is one of a kind, a building no one in college football, including Alabama, can match.
With 17 starters back on offense and defense, including all four down linemen on the defensive line, Clemson is one of the favorites to win this year’s national championship. If that were to happen, then it would mark the Tigers’ second title in three years, something no other program will have done during the Saban era.
Of course, there is still some work to be done. Clemson has to go earn it. It has to prove it belongs in the same breath with Alabama.
The only way to do that is to go and beat them. The Tigers have done it before so why not go and do it again? If there is anyone who can knock Saban and the Alabama program from its throne, it is Swinney and Clemson.