Students and fans of Clemson University celebrate championship

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The title was Clemson's second in three years, but Swinney still thinks the program is not on the Crimson Tide's level.

Clemson won 44-16, the largest margin of victory in a college football championship game since Alabama beat Notre Dame by 28 in the 2012 BCS title game. Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence found receiver Tee Higgins for a 62-yard bomb on third down to put CU in the red zone, and sophomore Travis Etienne finished things off the very next play with a 17-yard run into the end zone.

Bad news is that Alabama will likely offer Swinney a blank check to coach his alma mater when 67-year-old Nick Laban retires. On Monday night in Santa Clara, Clemson showed the rest of the college football world that Alabama can bleed just like everyone else. Justyn Ross caught six balls for 153 yards and a score for Clemson, which shut out 'Bama after leading 31-16 at the half.

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Clemson finishes 15-0, while Alabama ends its season 14-1.

The bully became the bullied on Monday night, but it would be foolish to pen an obituary for the Crimson Tide with a ton of talented players returning to Tuscaloosa next season as well as the nation's No. 1 ranked recruiting class.

The coda to Notre Dame's season was written nine days after the fact by one of the architects of the finale, that blowout loss to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl that somehow called into question the program's College Football Playoff credentials despite a ideal regular season.

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