APTOPIX CFP National Championship Clemson Alabama Football

Clemson's A.J. Terrell intercepts a pass for a touchdown during the first half the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

1. WHAT WE LEARNED

We saw why ex-Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant packed his bags after four games this season. Tigers freshman Trevor Lawrence wasn’t always on the mark Monday night, but more than enough times he carved up the Alabama defense with long, destructive passes. Credit Clemson’s offensive line with keeping Lawrence out of the clutches of Quinnen Williams, but oh that quick release …

2. TRENDING NOW

Alabama’s gambles. Trailing 21-16 early in the second quarter, Nick Saban went for it on fourth-and-1 from his 34 and made it, though the drive ended in an interception. On the first drive of the third quarter down 31-16, Saban faked a field goal that came up 8 yards short. Alabama loses occasionally, but rarely ever slips into panic mode.

3. FINAL THOUGHTS

Was Clemson’s smashing rout of Alabama merely one team beating another for a championship or a paradigm shift atop the college football world? One expects these two teams will be ranked 1-2 to start next season, but it will be Clemson that is No. 1 with a quarterback in Lawrence who is just the kind of talent that gives the Tide fits.

Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​