I’m generally fascinated by the strength of schedule debate. It’s certainly not irrelevant, but there is a danger in overrating its importance. The simple truth is that a great team can play a weak schedule. The latter shouldn’t define the former, but I’ve seen plenty of cases where that’s argued.
What’s important is that a great team should dominate mediocre opposition and do it on a consistent basis. Take a look at what Matt wrote about Clemson’s latest national championship season.
A little less than four weeks ago, Clemson won their second national title in the past three seasons (and third overall). The Tigers dominated (on the scoreboard if not in the box score) an Alabama team that many thought might be one of the best of all-time. Clemson was touted as one of the best teams in the nation all season, but with the Tide sucking most of the oxygen out of the college football ecosystem, I feel like most casual football fans didn’t realize how dominant Clemson was this (I know I didn’t realize it until I was crunching the numbers for bowl season). The Tigers did survive a few tight games in 2018, edging Texas A&M in College Station and rallying to beat their Orange adversaries in Death Valley. However, those games share a common thread: quarterback Trevor Lawrence did not both start and finish them. In games Lawrence both started and finished, the Tigers won by an average of 36 points per game, with no team coming closer than twenty points!
He concludes, “The ACC was mediocre at best in 2018, but Clemson thoroughly dominated it, and with their non-conference performance (victories against two SEC bowl teams as well as a solid Sun Belt squad) and subsequent playoff thrashing of two unbeaten heavyweights, the Tigers can make a case they are the best national champion of the new century.” Agree or disagree? If you disagree, how much do you hold the overall weakness of last season’s ACC against Clemson?