It sounds crazy saying this, but it probably is a good thing Deshaun Watson did not win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.
If Watson would have won College Football’s Most Prestigious Award he would still be in New York until Tuesday, meaning he would have missed all of Sunday’s meetings and practice as well Monday’s and Tuesday’s preparations for Clemson’s semifinal matchup with No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31.
The Orange Bowl is just 17 days away and missing three days of practice would have set Watson and No. 1 Clemson behind just a bit.
Yes, winning the Heisman Trophy would have been cool, and it would have been great for Clemson, but as Dabo Swinney told the crowd at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville on Sunday, the Tigers are just four quarters from playing for a national championship.
That’s right, a national championship. Let that soak in a little bit. You have only been waiting 34 years to be back in this position, or for some of you, your whole life.
When I was growing up my South Carolina friends used to always throw, or try to throw I should say, in my face the fact they had a Heisman Trophy winner in George Rogers. I loved it when they did because I always came back with, “Well, Clemson won a national championship.” There was nothing they could say, and they still can’t, even though some will still spout off at the mouth and say Clemson cheated to win it. And that might be true, but nonetheless Clemson still owns one, and by the way, the Gamecocks cheated too in those days. They just could not cheat well enough, I guess.
But I digress. That’s what happens when I think back to what I had to grow up in as a kid, a Clemson boy raised in a Gamecock town. I love Bamberg, and I’m still proud to be a B-E Red Raider, but those Gamecock fans … Anyway, my point is this. Clemson has an opportunity to do something far greater than any individual award can accomplish.
Yes, the Heisman Trophy can bring great exposure and prestige to a school and its player, but that is all it can bring. Football is a team sport, and it is the greatest of all the team sports out there. Eleven guys on the field have to work together in order to achieve the greatest of goals.
In College Football, the greatest goal is to win a national championship, not the Heisman Trophy. So it was great to experience “The Heisman Experience” as they will say, but experiencing a national championship, and take it from someone who lived it 34 years ago, is a far better reward.