For those of you who don’t watch much college football, the Alabama-Clemson Rivalry is the probably the biggest one in the NCAA and might even be for all sports in general. In the past three years, these two teams have clashed against each other at the College Football National Championships three times: Once in 2016, 2017, and 2019. The first game Alabama beat Clemson 45-40, and the second one Clemson got their revenge and beat Alabama 35-31, and then last year’s game the Tigers obliterated the Crimson Tide 44-16!
At the heart of the rivalry are two quarterbacks: Tuanigamanuolepola (Tua) Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence. Whenever the two play it is practically a Superman vs. General Zod battle — where both are dominant and they are equally matched , only the football version. Contrary to public opinion, both are genuinely humble people which sometimes can be hard to find in D-I College Quarterbacks.
In one corner you have Tua Tagovailoa who is a an all-around spectacular athlete. He throws, and runs like he owns the place! In the 2017-2018 NCAA National Championship Alabama’s starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, wasn’t doing very well on the field. So Nick Saban made a controversial move to put his true freshman quarterback (Tua) in for Hurts. Tagovailoa lead the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 lead at half and eventually successfully completed a 41 yard touchdown pass that resulted in a win of 26-23. In the 2018 season, as a sophomore, Tua put up some impressive numbers. In the 15 games he played, he was 245/355 completion, had 3966 passing yards, and threw 43 touchdowns and six interceptions (Sports Reference). He also ran for 190 yards and five touchdowns! The reason why I claim that Tua is so athletic is because he can throw the ball far with accuracy and he can score rushing touchdowns on his own.
Trevor Lawrence is such a beast on the field! Last year he too lead his team to a national title as a true freshman! In that year alone Lawrence completed 259/397 of his passes and had 3280 passing yards (Sports Reference)! This is absolutely outstanding for a player just coming into the NCAA! I am sure Clemson fans everywhere are very excited that he will be with them for a couple more years. In the 2019 National Championship, he completed 20/32 of his passes and had three touchdowns with no turnovers (NCAA). It probably helped that he wasn’t sacked once the whole game — a shoutout to the offensive line, they sure do deserve it! I’ve also heard fans call him a “once in a generation player.” According to 247 Sports, Trevor was ranked as number one on the college recruit list for the 2018-2019 season. This means that he is the first quarterback to be ranked first out of high school since Matt Barkley did in 2009 (SB Nation). In other words, this guy is the real deal.
I’m really curious to see how both quarterbacks stack-up against each other once they are both out of college because then they will have had an equal amount of time to play (Because of the one year age gap between the two).
We often talk about rivalries in sports that are of the past; ones that we already know the outcome of. The difference in this rivalry is that we will have one more chance to watch these amazing quarterbacks battle to try and get another national title this year.
But the real question is…
Who will become the champ?
By The University of Alabama, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76594443
By Thomson200 – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63073588