DON’T GET AHEAD OF YOURSELVES, TIGER FANS …
Clemson University’s football team is good … very good.
Over the past two years, in fact, the Tigers have been eclipsed only by Alabama – arguably the most prolific program in the history of college football (and the dominant team of the past decade).
Last year’s national championship game between these two programs was one for the ages, and we suspect next week’s rematch will be every bit as good.
In fact we’ve gone out of our way to argue that Clemson has every bit as much of a shot at winning the national championship on Monday night as the favored Crimson Tide.
“We’re amazed Alabama has been installed as an eight-point favorite in this game,” we wrote last week.
We haven’t issued our #FITSPick for this game, but here’s a preview: We think Clemson is going to win, which would mean the school would capture its second-ever national title and first since 1981.
Not surprisingly, Tiger fans are ebullient …
Take William Qualkinbush of The Clemson Insider, who penned a column entitled “Clemson: The New Alabama” in advance of next week’s kickoff.
Qualkinbush’s column – which we’re guessing will be taped to every Alabama player’s locker – begins innocently enough.
It’s abundantly clear that – over a two-year span – Alabama and Clemson are the preeminent programs in college football. The gap is wide between the Tide and the Tigers, and everyone else desperately trying to ascend up the mountain.
No argument there. In fact we wrote as much to start off this column …
“But how close is Clemson to Alabama?” Qualkinbush continued. “Is Nick Saban’s program still neatly set apart from the rest? Not many would give Clemson a chance in this argument. Of course, it’s foolishness to suggest that any program is better than Alabama. The numbers simply don’t support that premise. However, Clemson is quickly proving itself to be as good as Alabama.”
Qualkinbush didn’t stop there, though.
I’ll go a step further: When Saban retires, it seems likely that there will be a dropoff, leaving Clemson’s program as the absolute standard for excellence in college football.
The “absolute standard for excellence?” Now that’s bold. Or arrogant. Or ignorant. Or maybe all of the above.
Anyway, here’s Qualkinbush’s conclusion …
It’s time that people start to recognize what Clemson is doing. It’s becoming the new Alabama, right in front of our eyes. Dabo Swinney is building a program that could compete with Saban’s dynasty for years – and even outlast it.
Are you listening, Tide fans?
Frankly we weren’t aware there was a pervasive lack of recognition for what Clemson has accomplished on the gridiron over the last few seasons. The Tigers have been hyped and heralded – and rightly so (especially defensive coordinator Brent Venables, upon whose shoulders we believe the lion’s – or tiger’s – share of credit should fall).
But “The New Alabama?”
Talk to us about that twenty national championships from now …
(Banner via Travis Bell Photography)