College football odds for the season had the Alabama Crimson Tide as the favorites to win the national championship coming into the season, and after five weeks, it looks like we might get a rubber match between the Tide and Clemson Tigers. The two have been the best teams in the country, so far, and could be the last teams standing at the end of the season.
The latest rankings have the Crimson Tide and Tigers as the top two teams in the country, but the Tigers have the most impressive resume of any team in the so far. Clemson has defeated three teams pretty convincingly that were in the AP Top 15. North Carolina State, ranked 24th in the AP poll, is the only remaining ranked team on the Tigers' schedule and that game will take place in Raleigh on November 4. Among Top 25 teams in the Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR Top 130) at CollegeFootballPoll.com, Clemson has to also survive 10th-ranked Georgia Tech at home on October 28.
Alabama has just one ranked team on their schedule - a little game called the "Iron Bowl" against state rival Auburn. Auburn is 12th in the AP Poll and 13th in the CCR Top 130.
The Crimson Tide have outscored conference foes Vanderbilt and Ole Miss by a cumulative 125-3 in the past two weeks. But their biggest win of the season still remains the opener against Florida State, even though the Seminoles are only 1-2 after escaping a trip to Wake Forest with a 26-19 win on Saturday.
Both Clemson and Alabama lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but neither team has shown any sign that they are rebuilding. Quarterback Kelly Bryant, who took over the job after Deshaun Watson left for the NFL's Houston Texans, has made sure the Clemson offense hasn't skipped a beat. Kelly has shown a lot of poise for a first year starter and has been improving as the season goes by. Their defense has also been great, led by a four-man front that has been dominant in the trenches.
Even though Alabama hasn't faced the level of competition Clemson has, the team appears to be as deep as any Alabama group in the past and more than capable of defeating anybody. Aside from the Colorado State game in which they allowed 23 points, the Crimson Tide defense has been a major shut-down group, allowing just 20 total points in its other 4 games.
After the two teams gave us two of the greatest national championship games in consecutive seasons, do not expect to see the Crimson Tide and Tigers play each other in the first round of the playoffs this year. The selection committee will do its best to make sure the two teams don’t meet until the finals because that is what the fans will want to see. And honestly, who could blame them for that?