They have become the two undisputed heavyweight champions in college football, and September suggested nothing had changed. What we have here is Ali vs. Frazier in shoulder pads.
In one corner, wearing crimson, the Tuscaloosa Terror . . . Alabama.
And in the other corner, wearing orange, the Palmetto State Pummeler . . . Clemson.
Alabama has lost once in its past 32 games. That was to Clemson in the national championship game last January.
Clemson has lost twice in its past 38 games. One was to Alabama in the national championship game the season before that.
Alabama just beat two SEC opponents by 59 and 63 points.
Clemson just beat three top-15 teams in September, two of them on the road.
In the past two seasons – which featured Alabama-Clemson I and II for the national championship games – Alabama had 17 players taken in the NFL draft.
Clemson has had 15.
Alabama has not lost an interception or fumble in its first five games. Including the end of last season, the Tide has now gone 34 quarters and 590 plays without a turnover, the longest streak since 1940. Alabama’s turnover ratio is 10-0.
Clemson has scored four touchdowns off opponents’ turnovers.
Alabama’s average winning margin in its 5-0 start is 37.6.
"I bet you won't..."— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) October 1, 2017
...We did. pic.twitter.com/YFiD1QWFAz
Clemson’s is 25.6.
Alabama has trailed only once, for 2:13 against Florida State.
Clemson has trailed only once, for 21 ½ minutes against Auburn.
Alabama is a stat sheet juggernaut; first in the nation in scoring defense, eighth in scoring offense, second in rushing defense and fourth in rushing offense.
Clemson has a committee of four running backs carrying the football, and together they have scored 12 touchdowns in five games, averaging 6.47 yards a carry. Notre Dame’s famed Four Horsemen combined for 19 touchdowns in 1924, and averaged 5.6 yards a carry.
Alabama has scored 29 touchdowns and given up five.
For Clemson, it’s 25-6.
Alabama has been outrushing the opposition by an average of 241.8 yards a game.
In 2016, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts became the first freshman to ever start for Nick Saban at quarterback. He has thrown or run for 10 touchdowns this season, and leads his team in rushing.
In 2016, Clemson’s Kelly Bryant spent his second season as backup quarterback behind Deshaun Watson. With Watson gone, he has thrown or run for 10 touchdowns this season, and leads his team in rushing.
The Alabama defense has gone 21 quarters without allowing a touchdown in regular season SEC play.
The Clemson defense allowed one total touchdown in the first three quarters against ranked opponents Auburn, Louisville and Virginia Tech.
Alabama won the national championship in 1964.
Clemson College became Clemson University in 1964.
Alabama football: Ronnie Clark's first career touchdown is rewarding for entire team
Alabama has an elephant named Big Al.
Clemson has a tiger named Tiger.
Tide coach Nick Saban has a statue at Alabama.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has an MBA from Alabama.
Saban is 65 and has won four national championships. His first at LSU was at the age of 52. His first at Alabama was at 58.
Swinney is 47 and just won his first. Only two other active FBS coaches – Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher – have been national champions.
Alabama’s JK Scott has punted 15 times this season. None have been returned.
Clemson freshman Will Spiers is 26th in the nation after his first 24 punts. His father Bill once walked on to punt for Clemson, answering an ad in the student newspaper, then went on to play major league baseball.
Turnovers on Offense— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) October 1, 2017
Forced Turnovers on Defense
Alabama’s first-ever football game back in 1892 was against Birmingham High School.
Clemson’s first-ever football game back in 1896 was against Furman.
Alabama has never been to the Final Four in basketball and appeared only once in the Elite Eight.
Clemson vs. Virginia Tech: Kelly Bryant, Tigers defense handle Hokies on the road 31-17
In the past two national championship games, Alabama scored 76 points.
Clemson scored 75.
Together, they produced 20 touchdowns in the two games, had seven lead changes and put up 68 points in the fourth quarter alone.
It’s 202 miles from Tuscaloosa to Atlanta, site of the national championship game.
It’s 124 miles from Clemson.
This much we know: They both know the way.