Last season, Clemson won its second national title in three years by beating Alabama 44-16. In the title game, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns to help key the rout. The player who began the season as Clemson's starting QB, Kelly Bryant, was not on the sideline for that game, or any of Clemson's final 11 games.
After starting the first four games for the Tigers, Bryant left the team to preserve a final year of eligibility. The senior then transferred to Missouri where he'll be playing in 2019, and while he's with the Tigers, there will be something missing from his finger. Something his former Clemson teammates all have.
A championship ring.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said that Bryant did not receive a championship ring, and gave a simple explanation as for why.
"He wasn't on the team," Swinney told ESPN. "You've gotta be on the team to get a ring. I love Kelly and appreciate what he did for us, but he decided to move on."
It's pretty simple logic, but what's simple is always easy, as Bryant not receiving a ring has caused a stir in some part of the college football world. There are plenty of people who agree with Swinney and feel that Bryant doesn't deserve one seeing as he wasn't on the team when it beat Alabama in the title game.
There are others, however, who believe Bryant deserves it because he was an integral part of the team early in the season. If not for Bryant's performance on the road against Texas A&M (he threw for 205 yards, rushed for 54 and scored two touchdowns in a 28-26 win) maybe the Tigers don't reach the College Football Playoff. The Tigers were 13-0 following the regular season last year, but if they're 12-1 and their best win is a 27-23 win at home against Syracuse (Lawrence's first game as the starter), maybe their resume isn't strong enough to keep Ohio State or Georgia from claiming that fourth spot instead.
So does Bryant deserve a ring? I see good arguments for both sides. I understand Dabo's reasoning, but I also see why many feel he deserves one. I think, if it were left up to me, I'd have given him one just as a token of appreciation for being a part of the team for the first month of the season, as well as the three years prior. Plus, by giving Bryant a ring, I could have avoided this possibly negative spotlight on my program.