Not much of a vibe here, if any at all.
Normally, get a good read on these supposed “David vs. Goliath” matchups, one way or the other. Either the favorite will fall, or just absolutely maul its inferior foe.
With tonight’s National Championship game in a Phoenix suburb, got nothing.
Been bugging me for a while now. Why ... why ... why?
Well, finally hit me why. Because there is no friggin’ dog in this one …
Not for nothing, but you get the impression that the equivalent of some winless Temple squad of yesteryear somehow managed to finagle its way into a winner-take-all-showdown with 1971 Nebraska or 2001 Miami or WWII days Army after hearing all the expert analysis backed up by the “Roll, Damn Tide” yahoos singing an accompanying chorus.
Sorry, but undefeated and top-ranked Clemson just doesn’t qualify as some rags-to-riches story given that impossible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity against almighty Alabama. Spin it, twist it or manipulate it all you want, the reality is … Clemson is a big, BIG-time program that cobbled together a season that ultimately didn’t include another annoyingly accurate, self-inflicted kill shot. There is a reason the moniker “Clemson-ing” was born, and stuck. The Tigers derailed themselves quite often, and they were good enough, and big enough, to be recognized across the country for doing so.
As big as ’Bama? OK, no … but at this point, with Nick Saban cementing a spot among the Mount Rushmore of head coaches in college football, no team really is.
Regardless, we’re not talking about the Little Sisters of the Poor, or even the cinematic Little Giants, going up against an NFL champion. We’re talking about two, high-level operations that find themselves at the pinnacle event of the college game.
Frankly, what difference would it make if Clemson had no history to speak of anyway? What happened in this past has nothing to do with these Tigers.
If it did, Clemson hardly would be the sad-sack, out-of-its-league opposition it is painted out as being by the masses. This is, after all, the second national title it will be seeking, having won it all in 1981. Since then, the Tigers have finished in the final poll 19 times, and the Tide 22. Saban’s incredible run since taking over at Tuscaloosa in 2007 dwarfs the success that Clemson’s Dabo Swinney has enjoyed since grabbing Clemson’s reins midway through the 2008 season, but that just puts Swinney in the same pool as everyone aside from Saban.
Thing is, he has created a program that is becoming a regular top-15 team, thanks in large part to recruiting as well as anyone, including Saban, and registering five straight seasons of double-digit wins. Oh yeah, at the Heisman Trophy presentation, it wasn’t just Alabama represented. Clemson – as well as Stanford – was, too.
Keep in mind, the Tigers have two 1,000-yard rushers, one of whom will be the most dynamic individual on the field tonight in quarterback Deshaun Watson, also owner of 3,699 yards and 31 TDs passing this season. They have All-Americans in the offensive backfield, the defensive backfield and the defensive line, and four- and five-star talent lined up all over the gridiron. Pretty much just like ’Bama.
Reality is, yes, the Tide will be seeking their fourth national title under Saban and, even with one loss, earned the right to be revered, if not favored, heading into the game. They also will be facing, far and away, their most dangerous opponent in such a setting. Sorry, 2012 Notre Dame, 2011 Louisiana State and 2009 Texas fans, it’s not even close.
If ’Bama does prevail, this will be its most impressive title to date … because of how legit, and big-time, Clemson actually is.
- Jack Kerwin | email@example.com
BY THE NUMBERS
Comparing the Alabama and Clemson football programs through the years.
Claimed National Titles
Last Win in Series
Ranked in Final AP Poll
Wins Last 5 Years
Hall of Fame Inductees
Players Drafted by NFL
Selected in First Round
NFL Pro Bowlers
Breaking down bowl season
Respect for Tigers lacking
Kinda meh about playoff
YDKJ's best shots from fall
Honors overdue for Temple LB
Quality coaches in the AAC
Houston earned everything
Illinois extends mediocrity
SEC not nation's best in 2015
Navy major player for AAC
Temple faces Philly hurdles
Flood Watch with Rutgers