Pick a storyline, they were all golden. Dabo Swinney, the former Alabama walk-on who won a national title playing for the Crimson Tide, stops Nick Saban from winning another.
Deshaun Watson, who played the game of his life LAST YEAR in defeat, puts together a historic performance to beat an even BETTER Alabama defense.
And Hunter Renfrow, the former walk-on turned folk hero scoring the controversial, game-winning touchdown with just a SECOND left on the clock.
That’s what it took for Clemson to beat Alabama.
That’s what it took to dethrone the Crimson Tide.
Under Nick Saban, Alabama was 97-0 with a fourth quarter, double-digit lead. Make that 97-1, as Clemson scored 21 points in the final 15 minutes to win arguably the greatest championship game of the modern era.
And I love Clemson playing for the win late. They get the ball inside the ten with less than ten seconds to play: what do you do, play it safe, play for over time and take your chances there? Hell no.
Clemson co offensive coordinator Jeff Scott would later say, “Coach Swinney says all the time that tie goes to the champ. You’ve got to knock them out.”
A great boxing analogy. And it’s true. If you’re looking to rip the belt, you can’t let it go to the judges’ scorecards. You do have to knock out the champ. And they did.
And that game winner couldn’t’ have been any easier than it was, with Watson going to former walk on Hunter Renfrow for the touchdown. A play that will forever go down in Clemson lore. And never be forgotten by the Crimson Tide faithful.
Never forgotten because Tide honks think Clemson cheated. Think they got away with an illegal pick play. Just like they did earlier in the game.
Let’s talk about that for a minute, Bama fan. Was it a pick play? Yes. Are they illegal? Yes. Is that the reason you lost that game? No.
Don’t look for the refs to bail you out. While illegal it’s rarely ever called.
And instead of being bent with the refs, you should be upset with one of your own players. Anthony Averett who committed that PI penalty that put Clemson down near the goal line in the first place. The refs didn’t rip that game from you, Tide fan: Deshaun Watson and the Tigers did.
You had plenty of chances and opportunities to win that game. You had a boot on their throat, up 14-0. But you couldn’t finish and couldn’t make a play when you had to. You should have never even been in the position at the end of the game. So, you didn’t get jammed and the refs didn’t cost you a national championship. You just got beat by a better team.
And you can wear that. And so can Nick Saban, who I guarantee will think about this one, the one that got away, way more than he will any of the five that he did win. Because the Tide didn’t play their best game on the biggest stage and didn’t finish.
While we’re at it, Tide fan, if you’re looking for another excuse and want to blame this all on Lane Kiffin, you can save that too.
Look, I get wanting to blame everything on Lane Kiffin. Hell, it’s one of my favorite games too. The drought here in So-Cal? That’s on Kiff. The rain here in So-Cal: definitely Kiffins’ fault. New coke: worst idea ever: have to blame that one on Lane. But that change from Kiff to Sark isn’t the reason you lost either, Bama fan.
Don’t get me wrong. Switching out your offensive coordinator the week of the title game is obviously not something you’d hope for. And it again, tells you all you need to know about Kiffin. That he was that much of a pain in the ass, that Saban had to run right before the national championship game, even with a freshman quarterback who had played poorly the week before. Sure as hell not something you’d hope for. But that’s also not the reason the Tide lost that game. And Nick Saban said the same thing.
Bottom Line: Hurts didn’t get it done against Washington under Kiffin. And he didn’t get it done last night with Sark calling the plays. Fact is, last night, it wouldn’t have mattered who called the plays for Alabama. They got beat by the better team. And if they’re to get back next year to win this game, Hurts is going to have to improve throwing it. And he will. But that pick play at the end of the game isn’t the reason Alabama lost. And neither was the coaching change.
Netiher ideal, but not why they got beat.