According to Connelly, there are five major factors that determine college football games the majority of the time: explosiveness, efficiency, field position, finishing drives, and turnovers.In the Clemson preview, Connelly writes that even after the title game, Alabama maintained its spot at the top of S&P+, thanks to a very strange set of numbers for a game that lopsided. Based on the box score, he says that Alabama would have actually won the game most of the time, but Clemson’s crazy third down numbers and big plays overcame them for the 28-point win.Clemson wasn’t really 28 points better than Alabama last year. S&P+ still graded the Tide better for the season as a whole (and does so heading into 2019 as well), and the title game’s strange “Alabama wins every first down, and Clemson wins every third down and red zone snap” formula wasn’t particularly replicable.The Tigers still got the ring, though, their second in three seasons. And with maybe the most manageable schedule among any title contender, they’ll have the surest shot at reaching the CFP this year, too.As you can imagine, Clemson fans got after him on Twitter after the article went up. He defended the numbers, and added more context to the argument.Let’s revisit the advanced box score:Succ rate: Bama 56%, Clemson 41%SD succ rate: Bama 58%, Clemson 42%FP: Bama 29.3, Clemson 22.9Scoring opps: Clemson 7, Bama 6Those are major predictors of victory, and it suggests something between “Bama by a little” and “Bama by a lot” pic.twitter.com/7LFrTh3QyH— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) June 4, 2019Facing tons of third-and-longs, Clemson went 10-for-15 on third downs, second-best % of the season. They were 5-for-12 against FURMAN and 10-for-15 against ALABAMA.— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) June 4, 2019Still, those are dramatically unsustainable numbers. Clemson’s 3rd down % was 46% for the year. Alabama allowed 34%. Clemson went 10-for-15. (Also: Bama went 4-for-13 despite steadily manageable distances.)— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) June 4, 2019(LOL https://t.co/WCpVoyxPhm)— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) June 4, 2019It really is funny how, while we’re conditioned to understand that one game doesn’t mean much in the NBA or MLB playoffs (stupid, cruel, pointless single-game wildcard aside), we view single football games as referendums because it’s best-of-1, not best-of-7.— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) June 4, 2019For the upcoming season, Connelly’s numbers have Clemson ranked third, behind Alabama and Georgia. He does have the Tigers with the best chance to make the College Football Playoff by a decent margin, and ultimately, in a one-off game, anyone can win.It’s not surprising that Clemson fans aren’t thrilled with anyone throwing cold water on their landmark victory, even if that wasn’t really the point, but it shouldn’t make them enjoy it any less.[SB Nation] SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 07: Amari Rodgers #3 of the Clemson Tigers carries the ball against Christopher Allen #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tidein the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi’s Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)In retrospect, maybe the idea of Clemson beating Alabama in the national title game shouldn’t have been so ridiculous. Still, it is hard to father a Nick Saban team falling 44-16.Watching the game, Clemson’s domination jumped off the screen. It felt like a 28 point drubbing.Interestingly, the advanced numbers don’t quite bear that out though. Per one college football expert, in many ways, Alabama actually outplayed the Tigers back in January.In his season preview for the Clemson Tigers, SB Nation college football writer Bill Connelly says that the team’s performance in the Alabama game was “unsustainable.”Connelly is the inventor of the S&P+ college football analytics system, which does a good job of predicting outcomes.