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For Clemson, turnabout was fair play.
Alabama denied the Tigers a 15-0 record last season. And on Monday night, Clemson did the same thing to the Crimson Tide.
Clemson's 35-31 win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game means that no major college team has enjoyed a 15-win season since the formation of the NCAA.
The last team to win 15 games at the major college level was Penn _ in 1897, long before the NCAA was around.
The record the NCAA recognizes for wins is 14, shared by several teams. Only eight teams _ including Alabama and Clemson in each of the last two years _ have even played 15 games since the NCAA was formed in the 1930s.
None of those clubs finished 15-0. Yale won 15 games in 1889 and 16 games in 1894. Penn won 15 games in both 1892 and 1897.
So as seasons have gotten longer, and with the addition now of a four-team playoff _ meaning two bowl games for the national finalists _ the chance has been there for 15-win seasons.
When TCU won the national title in 1938, they were 10-0. In 1969, Texas was the first team to be 11-0 when crowned the AP champion (other teams got to 11-0 after finishing atop the final poll, which was taken before bowls in some years). Nebraska was 13-0 when it won the title in 1971, and Ohio State was the first to do so at 14-0 in 2002.
Barring some sort of change in scheduling rules, someone will get to 15-0.
Just not this season.