Congratulations, Clemson Tigers! There! I Said It!
The Clemson Tigers won the College National Championship for the second time in three years Monday, defeating Alabama’s Crimson Tide.
I graduated from USC…and as a member of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, I always regarded Clemson Tigers as rivals.
I was born the day after the 1969 USC-Clemson football game. That year, my Gamecocks bested the Tigers 27-13 and USC went on to play in the Peach Bowl. (Back then, you could keep track of bowl games because they were named after foods not sponsors.)
I’ve joked over the years that if Clemson had won that game, I’d have just stayed in the womb another year to see if USC did better in 1970. My mom, oddly enough, doesn’t seem to see the humor in that joke.
The Clemson Tigers won the national championship in 1981. I remember that vividly because for years, that’s all I heard out of those friends of mine who happen to be Clemson fans. There came a point at which I suggested that if they were so great, they should win more often.
Monday night’s win against Alabama was the second national championship win in three years.
It took Clemson a while, but they apparently decided to take my advice.
The frenzy of sports fandom can be a curious thing. USC fans all want the Gamecocks to win against Clemson. But when the two teams aren’t playing each other, many fans want their rival team to lose, no matter who they’re playing.
I’m not much of a football fan. I never have been. So I don’t get nearly as wrapped up in it as some my friends do. I don’t fault them for allowing the game to elevate their blood pressure by so many points. It’s just not my thing.
But if anyone had asked me whether I’d have preferred Clemson or Alabama to win the big matchup, I’d have said Clemson, even though they’re supposed to be the “enemy.”
I’d rather a South Carolina team — even that one — bring home the trophy.
Yeah, I’m funny that way.
Not only did Clemson win that game, they also had a spectacular season, becoming the first team in history to win the CFP National Championship with a 15-0 record. The last team to accomplish such a feat in an “equivalent” comparison would have been the Penn Quakers…in 1897!
You have to be impressed by that. Even if the team to do so happens to be that team.
Maybe I’d feel differently — and a bit less kind to Clemson — if I were more into college football.
But I’m not, so I don’t.
I know I’ll hear from my Clemson friends about how much better they are than USC. And that’s fine. If that were important to me in the grand scheme of things, I might get upset. But when I was in college, Clemson didn’t offer the major I was interested in and USC was closer to home.
So I made my selection based on education, not on athletics or tradition.
Congratulations, Clemson Tigers! You had an amazing year!