College football was a little different the last time that Clemson reigned as the national champion.
 
A look at what the game was like in 1981: There was a Southwest Conference then, the Big Eight still existed, the Big Ten actually had 10 teams (imagine that), the ACC had only seven (compared to its current 14), games could still end in ties and there were only 16 bowl games.
 
Oh, and a playoff was a long way away.
 
 
 
No more. What's old is new again. A generation or two later, and after a whole slew of change, Clemson is back on top _ after beating Alabama 35-31 in the College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday night.
 
Imagine: Back then, ABC had the national television contract for college football and showed 23 games. Most teams were capped at four national TV appearances. And the AP Top 25 wasn't even a Top 25 then _ it was still a Top 20.
 
Now, the wait for Clemson is over. "We weren't leaving here without that trophy," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.