Monday Morning Quarterback
If Brent Venables had his way, he would rather have had two days to prepare for Alabama than four weeks, as long as the Crimson Tide had two days to prepare as well.
“You don’t have to think about it as much,” Clemson’s defensive coordinator said.
Unfortunately, all we have had to do the last two weeks is think about, talk about and write about Clemson vs. Alabama: The Trilogy and we still have two more weeks to go before they meet in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Of course we have all been waiting longer than two weeks to get back to this point. The possibility of Clemson and Alabama playing for a third straight year has been discussed since the Tigers hoisted the National Championship Trophy in Tampa almost a year ago.
“It’s exciting,” Venables said. “I know they are looking forward to the opportunity openly as soon as our game was over a year ago about wanting to get back to this point and it’s not bad for us being a rebuilding year and finding a way to get back to this point. So hopefully, we represent our team the right way.”
It’s crazy how a rivalry is born. Two years ago, despite Clemson being the top ranked team and undefeated, no one really gave the Tigers a shot to beat big-bad Alabama in the national title game in Arizona. But Deshaun Watson threw for a then national championship record 405 yards while running for 73 more as Clemson came within a whisker of beating Alabama, 45-40.
Nick Saban had to use an onside kick to stop the Tigers, who racked up 554 total yards against his defense, a unit at the time many considered the best defense in the history of college football. The onside kick and later a kickoff return for a touchdown by the Crimson Tide proved to be too much for Clemson to overcome.
However, with both teams returning so much talent from that national championship game, many were hopeful the two would return to the title game in 2017. We all got our wish. Clemson vs. Alabama: Part II was every bit as good and as exciting as the first one.
This time Clemson trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, but outscored Alabama 21-7 to get the win. Watson was again brilliant as he diced up the Alabama defense for a record 420 yards on 36-of-46 passing and three touchdowns without an interception.
Watson also ran for 43 yards and scored one touchdown. The game, as we all know, ended with Watson finding Hunter Renfrow in the end zone with one second left for a 35-31 victory.
Two years later, a rivalry is born and everyone can’t wait to see what The Trilogy has in store for us in the College Football Playoff Semifinals. Of course a lot of the players from both sides have since moved on to the NFL or have graduated, but this third straight meeting is sure to be just as exciting and fun as the previous two meetings, or at least we all hope so.
It’s a shame we still have another two weeks to think about it, talk about it and write about it. I’m like Venables. I wish we had two more days and we could just kick it off.