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Why College Football Needs Clemson To Win The National Title

This Monday, the No. 1-ranked Clemson Tigers will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in Glendale, Arizona in the College Football Playoff National Championship. But despite having the higher seed, the Tigers are not considered the favorite. Alabama is favored by a touchdown in most sports books. Given Nick Saban's track record in Tuscaloosa, none of that comes as a surprise.

Clemson, which sports a 14-0 record, has a chance to become the first 15-0 team in the modern era of college football history. Sure, achieving such a mark has only been possible the past two seasons, but it's still significant. Head coach Dabo Swinney is already starting a campaign to call his squad the "best ever" if it can pull it off. If we're being honest, most college football fans should be pulling for it. There are a number of reasons why.

First, the Tigers are certainly a feel-good story. Swinney, a former real-estate salesman, took an unconventional route to his current position, ascending from wide receivers coach to interim head coach to permanent head coach in the span of less than two months. Since, he's slowly built the program into a title contender - and he's done it his way. His assistant coaches love him. His players love him. Alumni love him. He dances. He comes up with clever program-specific catch phrases. He has Clemson as a household name these days.

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But this isn't necessarily all about Clemson. The Tigers represent something far more important in college football - hope. Since 1992, only 13 programs have won the national championship in college football. There is no sport in our country that is more top-heavy. The big programs make the most money, spend it on staff/amenities, attract top recruits, win games, rinse and repeat. And it's almost impossible to break your way into that group - which is more or less 15 schools. Clemson, with a win on Monday night, would prove that it's doable. That would give hope to dozens of other programs in the country.To be clear, Clemson is no slouch. The Tigers do claim a national title - from back in 1981 - and have held their own the past few decades, posting 30 winning seasons since 1980. But prior to the Swinney era, Clemson was stuck in mediocrity. From 1992 until 2008, Clemson finished with at least four losses 15 times. They were the definition of good-but-never-great. There are plenty of programs currently in that same scenario. Clemson is playing for them too.

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Appropriately, the Tigers will attempt to make history against the biggest powerhouse of all - Alabama. The Crimson Tide, which has won three of the past six national titles, is the perceived evil empire of college football. And Alabama's dynasty, while impressive, isn't necessarily good for a sport which is already considered the most exclusive of its kind. A little parity might go a long way in keeping the common fan interested - and hopeful.

College football - as a whole - would be better off with Clemson prevailing this Monday. Just don't tell anyone in Tuscaloosa.